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Foundations on the Hill: Why I Attend and Hope You Will Too

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

With midterms last month and significant issues affecting philanthropy and our communities at stake, the importance of engaging and communicating with members of Congress cannot be overstated. Foundations play a unique role and have a powerful voice in educating government officials about how these issues manifest in our sector and within our communities. Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) is the one opportunity each year when hundreds of foundation leaders from across the nation come together to meet with Congress to do exactly that. While the issues change every year, the importance of philanthropy speaking with a strong, collective voice on Capitol Hill remains paramount. It’s why I have prioritized attending this event for 6 years and sincerely hope you will join Philanthropy Southwest at FOTH March 11 – 13, 2019.  

I know the idea of meeting with legislators can seem daunting; it certainly did my first year! This year, we talked with first-time attendees about how we could make the experience more welcoming and accommodating for them. Below are several important things to know about FOTH and how PSW will support members before and during the event.  

  1. First and foremost, no public policy experience is needed! Most attendees in the PSW FOTH delegation do not perform public policy related functions at their jobs or have explicit public policy experience. Relationship building and educating on issues important to philanthropy and communities are the goals of the meetings with representatives.
  2. Before and during FOTH, PSW will provide logistical and coordination support, talking points, and on-site staff to assist with meetings with Congress and networking events.
  3. There will be a captain system so that new FOTH attendees are paired with seasoned FOTH attendees. Meetings with representatives are scheduled so that no one must attend them alone. There is power in numbers!
  4. There will be multiple webinars and learning opportunities before and during FOTH to familiarize attendees with the event and educate about the important issues affecting philanthropy. Talking points will be provided and explained in advance of FOTH.
  5. PSW will plan networking events and group activities. Relationship building – both with representatives and with peers across the region and nation – is a top priority of this engaging two-day event.

This year, we have seen record turnout at the polls; individuals using their voices like never before. Foundations must do the same and educate our representatives about how legislation affects charitable giving and the vulnerable communities we all seek to serve. If you have any questions about the event, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or PSW FOTH staffer Lauren Haskins. More information, including registration details, can be found here.
 
I hope to see you there!
 
Warm regards,

Felicia Chase Goodman
Executive Director, Cooper Foundation
Board Member, Philanthropy Southwest
Chair, Public Policy Committee

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