The Philanthropy & Public Policy Institute

May 9-11, 2017 — Sacramento

Transformational. That is how fellows, funders and policy leaders describe the Women’s Policy Institute. Since 2003, this leadership and public policy training program has transformed the lives of over 400 community-based leaders. And those leaders have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands more.

In 2017 we are expanding this program and making it available to foundation leaders and philanthropists of all genders from around the United States. Apply now!

The Women’s Foundation of California has trained more than 400 community leaders to advance gender equity through policy change in California. Fellows in this year-long experiential training program have moved significant policy, including helping to pass 29 new state laws that are improving the health, safety and economic well-being of millions of Californians.

Funders and philanthropists have requested the opportunity to learn how they too can participate in policy advocacy or become more strategic in their public policy grantmaking. The Women’s Foundation of California is excited to offer this opportunity to strengthen public policy grantmaking in California and beyond.

Just like the Women’s Policy Institute, the Philanthropy and Public Policy Institute is a hands-on experiential learning program focused on capacity building and network facilitation. Participants will attend a three-day experiential Institute on May 9 - 11, 2017 in Sacramento where they will learn the ins and outs of policy advocacy work, connect with other funders committed to effective policy-based grantmaking and meet with policymakers and policy advocates to hear how this work is being done on the ground. Participants will also have the opportunity to attend the Women’s Policy Institute Legislative Reception on May 9, 2017.

Who should apply?

Foundation trustees, executives, program officers, corporate foundation leaders, individual philanthropists and donors of nonprofit organizations who are committed to advancing social, economic and political justice in the U.S. This program is open to all people regardless of gender identity.

Why participate?

By understanding state and county policy systems and the way grassroots leaders are engaging with them, this unique experiential learning approach is designed to help professional grantmakers and individual philanthropists be more strategic about engaging in policy advocacy and applying that knowledge to their grantmaking strategy. Participants will also foster the necessary relationships for collaboration with other grantmakers, donors and nonprofit leaders to advance their philanthropic goals and to leverage their impact.

How to apply?

Application Due: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Noon PST

To get started, visit our application website, enter your email address and a password of choice, and click “Create New Account.” Once complete, click “Apply” in the red menu at the top of your Applicant Dashboard. You will see instructions for completing your PPPI application.

The online application will ask you to provide individual and organizational information and to answer a series of questions about your philanthropic work as well as your interest in policy advocacy. We will contact you to confirm your participation in the program during the first week of April. In the meantime, we recommend that you reserve the program dates (May 9 - 11, 2017) in your calendar.

For more information about the goals of PPPI, the curriculum and application process, you can view a recorded webinar, here.

Trainings include

State Public Policy 101: How a Bill Becomes a Law
County Public Policy 101: Duties, Authorities, and Responsibilities of CA Counties
Policy Research, Briefs, and Advocacy
Lobbying Rules for Nonprofits and Foundations
The Impact of Politics on State and County Policy
Public Speaking and Persuasive Writing
Funding Policy Advocacy: Discussion with Fellow Philanthropists
Evaluating Public Policy Advocacy Funding

Guest faculty includes

Bill Chiat, California State Association of Counties
Connie Heller, Project Linked Fate
Chris Hoene, California Budget and Policy Center
Surina Khan, Women’s Foundation of California
Lisa Korwin, Korwin Consulting
Sandra Martinez, The California Wellness Foundation
Marj Plumb, Women’s Foundation of California
Nona Randois, Alliance for Justice
Kristen Tudor, California State University-Sacramento
Daniel Zingale, The California Endowment
Diana Zuniga, Californians United for a Responsible Budget

Meetings with Policymakers

PPPI is an opportunity to meet some of the most prominent leaders in California’s efforts to make our state where all people can thrive. All participants will be invited to the Women’s Policy Institute Legislative Reception on May 9. This event celebrates WPI fellows and some of the most prominent policy leaders in California.

Issue areas

Criminal justice reform
Public health
Reproductive justice
Trauma justice
Economic security
Environmental justice


Tuition for the Philanthropy and Public Policy Institute includes all educational materials and meals and excludes transportation and lodging. Tuition is based on a sliding scale:

$3,500: Annual grantmaking under $10M
$4,500: Annual grantmaking from $10M - $24,999,999
$5,500: Annual grantmaking of $25M or more

Experience Sacramento

Sacramento is not just the state capital and the center of policy reform work in California. Sacramento is a thriving capital city, home to an increasingly well-known restaurant and entertainment scene and a growing arts community. This three-day training will be held at the Embassy Suites Riverfront Promenade, which boasts views of the iconic Tower Bridge and the Sacramento River.

Located just steps from the museums, shops and restaurants of Old Sacramento, a 10-minute walk from the Downtown Commons and the new Golden 1 Center and a 15-minute walk from the California State Capitol, our three-day training program will provide you with an immersive experience of one of California’s best-kept secrets.

More information on local attractions.

About the Women's Foundation of California

Founded in 1979, the Women’s Foundation of California (WFC) is a publicly supported community foundation. WFC invests in women and trans people as a key strategy for creating a California where all communities are healthy, economically secure and thriving. To achieve this, WFC connects a broad network of partners across the state to support bold community-led solutions and help move the best to scale, catalyze ideas by applying a gender analysis to systemic injustice, and communicate complex issues in a way that builds public resolve to act, with an expertise developed through cross-issue and cross-sector collaboration.

WFC’s theory of systemic change rests on a core value and belief that those who directly experience problems in their community are best suited to develop solutions that work in the context of their lives. Therefore, our work focuses on historically marginalized individuals and communities, including low-income women and families, young women, trans people, communities of color, and immigrant communities. Since its founding, WFC has awarded more than $35 million in grants and capacity building assistance to over 1,300 community-based organizations.

The Women’s Policy Institute was created to bridge the gap between the state legislative process, policymakers in Sacramento and California’s diverse communities by training grassroots leaders to participate in the policy process. WPI brings together a diverse group of grassroots advocates with a shared social justice perspective to participate as fellows in an intensive year-long program that demystifies the state and county policymaking process through hands-on engagement.

Apply now!

Start the application online. Contact Development Manager Stephanie Green with any questions about your eligibility for the PPPI or the program itself.

Should you experience technical difficulties with the application, please contact Program Associate Tania Flores.

Due to the lobbying restrictions corresponding to private foundations, the experiential learning component of the program will provide participants with the opportunity to engage in either lobbying activities (permitted for staff of non-private foundations) or educational visits/non-legislative policy projects (permitted for staff of all foundations).


“Southern California Grantmakers is proud to partner with the Women’s Foundation of California on the Philanthropy and Public Policy Institute. The Institute teaches the skills that today’s philanthropy leaders need to leverage their resources for tangible, systemic impact in our communities.” – Christine Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers

The Philanthropy and Public Policy Institute is made possible thanks to initial funding from the WHH Foundation and partnerships with Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy; Asset Funders Network; Bay Area Justice Funders Network; Funders for LGBTQ Issues; Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights; Grantmakers for Effective Organizations; National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; Northern California Grantmakers; San Diego Grantmakers; Southern California Grantmakers; Women Donors Network; and Women’s Funding Network.

"WPI gave me a framework, key relationships, and practical tools for policy change within California's legislative context. It's essential learning for activist leaders from all sectors and an opportunity for funders to deepen their knowledge of the public policy process." - Connie Malloy, WPI Alumni and Portfolio Director with The James Irvine Foundation