Women's Foundation California | Funders Policy Institute - Women's Foundation California

Funders Policy Institute

Imagine the kind of transformative change we could achieve if every funder and philanthropic
organization adopted an advocacy lens to guide its giving.

An Institute for Engaged Philanthropists & Funders

Funders Policy Institute
Formerly PPPI

At the Women’s Foundation of California, we believe in order to pass legislation that advances justice and equity, philanthropic support is essential.

The Funders Policy Institute is a hands-on immersive learning program focused on capacity building and network facilitation. Participants will engage and learn directly from policymakers and advocates while connecting with other philanthropists who are committed to effective, policy-based grantmaking.

Applications are CLOSED.

Training and Network Building

And at a time when the federal government is intent on turning back the clock on progress that has benefited so many vulnerable communities, philanthropy is coming to see the value of investing in local and state policy work aimed at protecting and advancing people’s rights. Funders and philanthropists need opportunities to learn how they can participate in policy advocacy or become more strategic in their public policy grantmaking. The Women’s Foundation of California is excited to expand its Women’s Policy Institute program to reach that audience and strengthen public policy grantmaking in California and beyond.

Just like the WPI, the Funders Policy Institute is a hands-on experiential learning program focused on capacity building and network facilitation. Participants will learn directly from policymakers and advocates  while connecting with other funders who are committed to effective, policy-based grantmaking.

Learn more about why we started FPI (formerly PPPI) in Philanthropy News Digest, “Strengthening Philanthropy’s Role in The Resistance.”

Engage with Policymakers

FPI is a unique opportunity to engage with California’s most prominent leaders working for progressive policy change, including 2019 FPI Chair State Senator Holly J. Mitchell. All participants will be invited to the Women’s Policy Institute Legislative Reception which celebrates the accomplishments of our WPI fellows and offers the opportunity to speak with some of California’s leading legislators and community advocates. Previous attendees have included State Senator Nancy Skinner, State Senator Connie Leyva and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Connect with Fellow Philanthropists

FPI brings together a cohort of philanthropic leaders from all sectors and geographies, from national funders with a focus on California to regional family foundations. Participants’ backgrounds range from those with new interest in systems change through policy advocacy to experienced grantmakers interested in refining their long term strategy. Previous FPI cohorts included individual philanthropists and philanthropic leaders from a broad range of organizations and affiliations including Blue Shield of California Foundation, California Bar Foundation, California Breast Cancer Research Program, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, the City of Santa Monica, East Bay Community Foundation, First 5 LA, Heising-Simons Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers, Southern California Grantmakers, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, WHH Foundation and Women Moving Millions, among others.

Learn Directly from Advocates

The Funders Policy Institute is timed to coincide with our Women’s Policy Institute training retreat so that participants and advocates have a unique opportunity to come together and learn from one another outside of a site visit or donation request. Select WPI alumni lead trainings on anti-oppression advocacy work and specific parts of the policy process.

Meet Our 2020 Participants!

We are excited to announce our 2020 Funders Policy Institute (FPI) Participants! This cohort of 17 engaged philanthropists and funders are interested in deepening their knowledge and engagement with public policy. Learn more and read their bios here.


State Public Policy 101
How a Bill Becomes a Law

County Public Policy 101
Duties, Authorities, and Responsibilities of CA Counties

Lobbying Rules for Nonprofits and Foundations

The Impact of Politics on State and County Policy

Persuasive Speaking: Making the Case for Policy

Evaluating Public Policy Advocacy Funding

Previous Guest Faculty

State Senator Holly J. Mitchell
2019 Philanthropy & Public Policy Institute Co-Chair

Surina Khan, CEO
2019 Philanthropy & Public Policy Institute Co-Chair

Chris Hoene
California Budget and Policy Center

Marj Plumb
Chief Strategist, Policy Advocacy & Training, the Women's Foundation of California

Diana Zuñiga
Californians United for a Responsible Budget


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

$2,500: Annual grantmaking under $5M

$3,500: Annual grantmaking from $5M – $9,999,999

$4,500: Annual grantmaking from $10M – $24,999,999

$5,500: Annual grantmaking of $25M or more

Email Jane Lin for more information about how to apply.

FPI Alumni Testimonials

[FPI is an] amazing opportunity to elevate your understanding of how to leverage and guide your philanthropic mission to impact and sustain social change. It prepares you to think about addressing root causes of social inequity by realigning your funding further upstream to impact the polices that create inequity in the first place.

– Elizabeth Anderson, City of Santa Barbara

FPI is an opportunity to meet and deepen relationships with other funders in the state who are already or interested in funding policy. It gives you an inside look at how policy change can happen at the grassroots level.  It is very educational and informative and fun.

– Gretchen Sandler, Philanthropist

FPI is a great opportunity for an introduction to how policy is shaped in Sacramento and the role that philanthropy can play. Also a wonderful chance to get to know colleagues who are navigating similar territory.

– Elena Chavez Quezada, The San Francisco Foundation