Webinar Recap - Advocacy in Grantmaking - working together for impact

Are you looking for ways to build the capacity of your grantees to achieve policy change and leverage your funds for maximum impact? Do you worry about whether your grantees will be able to attract other funders? Do you work for a funder that has been nervous about funding projects that involve lobbying or grassroots advocacy? If the answer to any of these questions, is yes, then this webinar is for you.

In this session, we will challenge traditional notions of legal support for grantees. Grantees should be using foundation funds to advance advocacy that leads to legislation – it’s crucial to achieving policy change. And grantees need to know how to leverage foundation funds strategically, to maximize their impact, without crossing the line into lobbying. Learn how giving grantees on-going access to legal counsel can be a game-changer through the real-life experiences of program staff and the lawyers who support them.




Learn more about the presenters:

kmg.jpgKristen M. Gurdin is Senior Counsel for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation . She advises the Foundation on a range of issues related to the Foundation’s tax-exempt status and now oversees the Foundation’s legal training and grantee legal technical assistance programs. Prior to joining the Foundation, Gurdin advised colleges, universities, private foundations, hospitals, and other tax-exempt organizations for the firms of Reed Smith LLP; Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered. She also was director of foundation & legal affairs at a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. Before attending law school, Gurdin worked on theater outreach projects in Ireland to address HIV/AIDS prevention and engage disadvantaged youth. She holds a JD from Temple University, magna cum laude; an MLitt in theatre-in-education from Trinity College, Dublin; an AB in theater, speech, and dance from Brown University, magna cum laude; and was a Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of Ireland,


Allen_Mattison.jpegAllen Mattison, a partner at Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC, represents nonprofit organizations on federal and state lobbying and campaign finance laws, in addition to corporate, tax and employment law.  He advises a variety of nonprofit organizations on where the line lies between educational and lobbying activities, helping them to stretch their non-lobbying funds for the greatest possible advocacy impact.  That way, nonprofits can save scarce lobbying dollars for when they will have the biggest bang for the buck.

Before becoming a lawyer, Allen worked in political communications, serving as the Sierra Club's national media relations director and in communications roles on campaigns and in the U.S. Senate.  These experiences give Allen perspective on the challenges nonprofit managers face in developing programs that maximize their advocacy power within the restrictions imposed on section 501(c)(3) organizations.

Using his communications background, Allen has helped numerous organizations understand how to structure their social media outreach without violating lobbying and campaign-finance restrictions.  He wrote Friends, Tweets, and Links: IRS Treatment of Social Media Activities By Section 501(c)(3) Organizations, 67 Exempt Org. Tax Rev. 445 (May 2011), one of the first scholarly articles to address charities’ election-related use of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking tools.  He also wrote Influencing Public Policy in the Digital Age: The Law of Online Lobbying and Election-related Activities (Alliance for Justice, Fall 2011), a guidebook for nonprofit managers seeking to maximize their social media power without violating relevant laws.

He earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, cum laude, and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington University in St. Louis with college honors. 


rwjf_headshot.jpgJasmine N. Hall Ratliff is a program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her programs include policy and environmental change initiatives to bring children across the country to a healthy weight and focusing on improving disparities in access to healthy affordable food. Prior to joining the foundation in 2008 she was a program officer at the Missouri Foundation for Health in St. Louis, MO where her responsibilities included the Healthy & Active Communities initiative. Jasmine received her Master’s in Health Administration from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia. She is Chair Emeritus of the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Board of Advisors and a member of the Association of Black Foundation Executives.


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