Foundation Advocacy Intensive: Develop Your Policy Acumen - Exponent Philanthropy

Foundation Advocacy Intensive: Develop Your Policy Acumen

An 8-week, action-oriented, virtual workshop where you’ll discover how your foundation can advance advocacy on a focused issue.

Are you ready to join other lean funders and take advantage of foundations’ freedom to fund and engage in advocacy?

Do your grantees talk about how influencing policy could create fundamental breakthroughs and positive changes for the people they serve, how advocacy can advance equity, or how policy changes can solve the environmental problems they work on?

Do you wonder what role to play, or how to get started in advocacy?

This workshop will not just show you how to get started, but it will guide you in actually beginning your advocacy journey.

Experiential Learning, Skills Practice, and Hands-on Work

This program will help you leverage the unique assets you have as a lean funder to engage in advocacy. You will identify the roles your foundation can play in systems change that will be useful for your grantees, partners, and community. Through skills training and experiential, guided practice, you will put into action the steps featured in Exponent Philanthropy’s Advocacy Field Guide for Lean Funders, written by Jason Sabo and Lisa Kerber of Frontera Strategy.

You will leave this program with:

  • A deep understanding of what information is needed to advance advocacy on any given issue.
  • Experience finding this critical information to develop your policy acumen.
  • Coaching from foundation peers with years of advocacy and leadership experience.
  • Deep connections with other lean funders that will support you through the program and beyond.

Because of the experiential nature of this cohort program, we ask participants to sign a Program Commitment when registering.


Participants will meet virtually on four Wednesdays over an 8-week period. All modules run from 2:00-4:00 PM ET. Participants will conduct listening interviews between modules #1 and #2; and modules #3 and #4.

September 25
Module #1: Skills Training

**Participants conduct listening interviews between sessions

October 16
Module #2: Identify Policy Action Idea

October 23
Module #3:  Landscape Scanning

**Participants conduct listening interviews between sessions

November 20
Module #4: Processing and Planning


Jason Sabo
Founder, Frontera Strategy
Jason has led and assisted efforts to pass legislation and secure appropriations at state capitals across the country for more than two decades. Jason knows the issues and politics important to nonprofits and philanthropy, and he knows how to win.

Catalytic Guides

Exponent Philanthropy members with deep experience in issue advocacy will serve as catalytic guides. These extraordinary funders embrace Catalytic Leadership in Philanthropy and serve a key role in coaching participants to take action on what they’ve learned.

Registration Fees

Member Price

Nonmember Price

 *The registration fee includes an electronic copy (PDF) of Exponent Philanthropy’s Advocacy Field Guide for Lean Funders, which serves as an essential resource and reference throughout the program. The value of the field guide is $35 for Exponent Philanthropy members, and $50 for non-members.

After registering, participants will receive a request to sign this Program Commitment.

Who Should Attend

Small, place-based foundations – including those without staff – are perfectly positioned for this work. Foundation staff, trustees, or donors who want to begin a journey toward issue advocacy should register. Individuals in all roles at lean foundations, including staff, trustees, donors, and family members are encouraged to join the cohort.

Platform and Accessibility

This program uses Zoom; automated closed captioning is available. We can provide additional accommodations upon request (e.g., live captioner, ASL interpreter). Please contact Lauren Kotkin or call 202-580-6560 by September 10 if you need accommodations.    

Recordings are only available to registrants for 30 days after each module date. 

Cancellation and Other Policies

Each module of this series requires participants to actively participate in exercises, practice, or discussions with peers. Because of this, we will only accept substitutions before the September 25, 2024 start date. Cancellations before the start of the program on September 25, 2024, are subject to a $75 processing fee. Cancellations on or after September 25, 2024, are non-refundable. Please submit all substitutions and cancellations by e-mail to or by calling Exponent Philanthropy at 202-580-6560.

By registering for this program, participants are agreeing to the Exponent Philanthropy Participant Guidelines.