Foundation Strategies to Inform Federal Policy in the United States

Commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, TCC Group’s research examined what motivates foundations to engage in advocacy, the methods they apply, and the results they achieve. Although the study focuses on federal policy, many of the factors and strategies relate directly to foundation policy reform activities at all levels of government.

The scan examines the applicability of various grantmaking strategies to overarching policy change goals. It presents examples that illustrate how local or state reform is often integral to a federal effort and can open opportunities for broader impact based on policies proven effective on a smaller scale. Concrete evidence built at the local or state levels can drive willing funders to leverage their influence and impact by promoting nationwide adoption of evidence-based, workable solutions through expansion or scaling. Likewise, funders seeking to sustain their impact often recognize that federal policy change is needed to facilitate programs that are enacted at the state level. Several examples in this study illustrate how local or state and federal reform efforts can both drive and reinforce each other, with the state/local level often proving crucial to the federal while providing an opportunity to maximize funder impact based on proven solutions.

Key Questions:

  1. Why do foundations engage in federal policy reform efforts?
  2. What strategies do foundations use in federal policy reform efforts?
  3. Are there connections that can be drawn between particular influencing strategies and results in terms of federal policy change?
  4. What examples exist of federal foundation policy initiatives and their results?

Read “A Study to Support the Evaluation of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Promoting Equitable and Sustainable Transportation Initiative” >

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TCC Group

Founded as The Conservation Company in 1980, TCC Group has evolved steadily from a small group of three consultants working in Philadelphia to a full-time consulting practice of more than 30 seasoned professionals today. With offices in New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, the firm works in local, national, and international settings. Whatever the scope of the assignment, TCC Group continues to fulfill its historic aim to provide smart, strategic counsel to nonprofit, philanthropic, corporate, and governmental clients, helping each organization identify opportunities, solve problems, and plan for the future.