The nonprofit and philanthropic sector has contributed to many advances in our society, including civil rights, consumer protections, public health, and safety. Many of these efforts have been supported by foundations engaging in public policy. Yet, the role of foundations in influencing policy has also been a subject of scrutiny and debate over the past century, and that discussion has intensified again in recent years. For all the conversation and critique about foundations’ engagement in public policy, relatively little data about their efforts in the public policy realm are available, including how many foundations engage in efforts to influence public policy, as well as why and how. To better understand foundations and public policy influence, CEP studied the perspective of foundation leaders across the country on this topic, through surveys and in-depth interviews.
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