The Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) is a year-long fellowship program that trains grassroots community leaders on the ins and outs of the policy process at the state or local level. Over the course of the program, teams of fellows learn how to testify at hearings, transform bills into laws, and build lasting relationships with legislators. With 32 of our fellows’ policy projects signed into law, we’ve seen that a single leader’s actions can have an enormous impact on communities.
We focus on policy leadership development because we know that it is a powerful means for shaping our laws, regulations, ordinances, government allocations, and especially for building grassroots community power. Through WPI, we remove the real and perceived barriers to shaping the policies that affect our communities and can help direct the course of our democracy, economy, and shared future. Because women and girls, people of color, low-income women, immigrant women, and transgender people are often a critical voice missing in policymaking, WPI works to increase the number of grassroots community leaders who actively engage in this process.
WPI increases the diversity of advocates involved in the policy arena and in particular strengthens the voices of women of color and LGBTQ people. We train community leaders from a range of social justice movements, including: reproductive, economic and trauma justice; criminal justice reform; and environmental health and justice.
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 attend a three-day experiential Institute in Sacramento where they 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.