Philanthropy’s Role in Advocacy and Public Policy: A Workshop for Trustees, Senior Leadership and Program Officers

Philanthropy’s Role in Advocacy and Public Policy: A Workshop for Trustees, Senior Leadership and Program Officers

Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 1:30 - 3:00 PM

The philanthropic sector must understand the necessity for advocacy and public policy as a core element in their grantmaking for real impact. The continuum of activities is broad enough for all foundations to find their means to engage and understand what levers to pull in service to their mission. This workshop/conversation will get at the heart of issues that worry foundations or keep them from deeply engaging in this work with examples from their colleagues from across the country and national experts. Participants will also hear from Maryland Philanthropy Network's president, Maggie Gunther Osborn, on how MPN is engaging in an advocacy agenda in support of the field at a local, state, and national level. Our dialogue will be centered around the work that can be done to advance philanthropic advocacy in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and beyond. 

We have invited distinguished experts to lead a session on getting involved in advocacy: 

Abby Levine, Director, Bolder Advocacy, Alliance for Justice 
Anne Wallestad, CEO and President, Board Source

Join our speakers, Maryland Philanthropy Network, Virginia Funders Network, and the Washinton Regional Association of Grantmakers to learn about navigating advocacy in the philanthropic landscape and how foundations take on advocacy efforts as well as explore how funders support advocates that are important especially considering current events. To learn more about a foundation’s ability to engage in advocacy click here!

This program is open to Maryland Philanthropy Network, Virginia Funders Network, and the Washinton Regional Association of Grantmakers members and their trustees/board members who are interested in the learnings of public policy. Virginia Funders Network and the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers members, please email  to register.



Abby Levine serves as Director of the Bolder Advocacy Program at Alliance for Justice. For more than 17 years, she has worked hand in hand with thousands of nonprofits and foundations across the country, providing customized training, coaching, written resources, and technical assistance—all with the goal of supporting organizations to be strategic, bold, courageous, and legally compliant advocates. Abby’s expertise focuses on lobbying, election-related activities, ballot measures, grantmaking, and other advocacy strategies for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations. Previously, Abby served as the Public Policy Analyst at the National Council of Nonprofit Associations and was an associate in the tax department at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland, Ohio. She has a law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a B.A. from American University. Abby proudly serves on the board of directors of Opportunity Action, The Keegan Theatre, and Friends of Guest House.

Anne Wallestad serves as president and CEO of BoardSource, a globally recognized nonprofit focused on strengthening nonprofit leadership at the highest level — the board of directors. With expertise cultivated over more than three decades, BoardSource strengthens nonprofit leadership through research, thought leadership, and practical supports that help transform board structures, dynamics, and perspectives.

Anne was appointed to her position in 2013, after having served on BoardSource’s leadership team since 2008. She has overseen a period of remarkable organizational growth and change, helping establish BoardSource as a leading voice on issues of critical importance to the nonprofit sector and society as a whole. This includes the urgent need for nonprofit organizations and their boards to acknowledge and address how a lack of diversity in nonprofit leadership is impeding the social sector’s ability to serve our communities. Early in her tenure, Anne designed a shift toward a scalable model of program delivery that has resulted in a more than 500 percent growth in the number of leaders served by BoardSource since 2012 and led to BoardSource’s recognition as a top ten finalist for the prestigious Drucker Prize for innovation.

A 20-year veteran of nonprofit leadership, Anne has held leadership roles with a number of national and local organizations including more than seven years of leadership in the movement for LGBT civil rights at the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign. Throughout her years of leadership within the nonprofit sector, she has cultivated deep expertise in fundraising strategy and leveraging the board’s fundraising role. Anne also has been honored multiple times as one of The Nonprofit Times’ “Power & Influence Top 50.”

This webinar is brought to you by our regional partnership of philanthropy serving organizations.