2020 Public Policy Summit

November 12-13, 2020


Stay on the lookout for new speakers, information and updates to the Summit schedule. Please note, this schedule is based on Eastern time.

Thursday, November 12 - Navigating the Post-Election Policy Landscape

12:00-12:15 p.m. ET

Welcome & Opening Remarks

This year's Council on Foundations' Public Policy Summit will open with remarks from Kathleen Enright and David Kass. The introduction will focus on the critical role philanthropy can play as stakeholders in public policy.

  • Kathleen Enright, President & CEO, Council on Foundations
  • David Kass, Vice President, Government Affairs & Strategic Communications, Council on Foundations
  • Clotilde Dedecker, President/CEO, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

12:15-1:00 p.m. ET

Unpacking the Election

We'll explore the recent election results and its implications on the philanthropic sector. Following the discussion, a moderator will open the conversation for questions and answers.

  • Charlie Cook, The Cook Political Report, Editor & Publisher/ Political Analyst

1:00-2:30 p.m. ET

The Administration & Congress: The New Landscape and Expected Legislative Priorities

During this moderated panel, Members of Congress and former Administration officials will discuss what the November election results means for the next Congress and Administration. Panelists will share their expectations for upcoming policy priorities and the impact on legislative action.

After the panel, Congresswoman Karen Bass will share her perspective on the priorities for the upcoming Congress.

  • John Podesta, Former White House Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton
  • Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
  • Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)
  • Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
  • Jay Williams, President, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (moderator)

2:30-3:30 p.m. ET

Federal Budget, Appropriations, & Social Policy in the Next Congress

With the world undergoing a major transformation this year due to COVID-19 and its ongoing repercussions, experts will unravel how Congress allocates discretionary spending, and what policy shifts will take center stage in the new Congress. Panelists will discuss how philanthropy can better understand how the Federal budget and appropriations process works and the opportunities ahead.

  • Robert Greenstein, Founder, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
  • William Hoagland, Senior Vice President, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Shalanda Young, Clerk & Staff Director, House Committee on Appropriations
  • Angela Catella, Senior Manager, Planning, Strategy, The Pew Charitable Trusts (moderator)

3:45-4:30 p.m. ET

Discover the Council’s Policy Agenda & Tax Landscape in the Next Congress

What is the likely tax policy landscape in the next Congress? Why is the voice of philanthropy important in this policymaking? The Council’s Government Affairs team will address how the tax landscape could be affected in a new Congress and will share the Council’s 2021 policy agenda. Attendees will be invited to participate in an interactive poll about legislative priorities that are important to their foundations.

  • David Kass, Vice President, Government Affairs & Strategic Communications
  • Ken Kies, Managing Director, Federal Policy Group, LLC
  • Regina Bell, Director, Public Policy, Council on Michigan Foundations (moderator)

4:30-4:45 p.m. ET

Day One Wrap Up & A Look Ahead to Day Two

  • Mason Rummel, President & CEO , James Graham Brown Foundation, Inc.

4:45-5:45 p.m. ET

Networking Event

Enjoy a performance by Madison McFerrin! Followed by an opportunity to network with Summit attendees in one of our breakout rooms listed below.  

  • Union Station: Are you new to your role or new to philanthropy in general? This is the room for you. Engage with other attendees and build connections that will last beyond the Summit.
  • Tune Inn: Not done unpacking the election? This is the room for you. Grab your favorite soda, cold beer, or house wine, and come ready to share your armchair theories to keep the conversation going.
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl: Tomorrow’s theme is advancing equity in public policy, but why wait to start the conversation? Here, you can share lessons learned, best practices and successful strategies being implemented to address racism and inequality in our communities.
  • Eastern Market: This room has been specially set aside for community foundations. Come meet new colleagues working in community foundations across the country to grow your network and learn more about the innovative wo.
  • Rock Creek Park: This room has been specially set aside for staff working in private and family foundations.  Come meet colleagues working in private and family foundations across the country to grow your network and learn how your peers are making an impact across the country.



Friday, November 13 - Advancing Equity in Public Policy

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET

Advocacy 101: Rules for Foundations on Lobbying and Advocacy

New to advocacy or have questions about the fundamentals? Ask the lawyer! The Council's Legal Director will explain the basics of advocacy and lobbying for different types of foundations. Learn what the law says and the ways in which your foundation can engage in advocacy.  

  • Bryan Del Rosario, Director, Legal Resources & Senior Counsel, Council on Foundations

Advocacy 201: Experiments in Advocacy - What Works and Why

Advocacy 201 will expand your advocacy toolbox! During this session, participants will hear how to take their advocacy to the next level to maximize its impact. Using academic research from Future Ed of the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy and 50CAN’s studies of advocacy campaigns, learn what strategies work and why, and what tactics get proven results. 

  • Marc Porter Magee, PhD, CEO and Founder of 50CAN 

12:00-12:15 p.m. ET

Opening Remarks

The second day of the Council on Foundations' Public Policy Summit will focus on driving equity into public policy, including discussions of equity in the economic rebuild, recovery, and the importance of philanthropy's influence and investments in this moment of time.

12:15-1:30 p.m. ET

Advancing Equity & Building Power in Black Communities

Black communities are suffering more acutely on nearly every indicator—job loss, health outcomes, housing instability and the list goes on. This panel will discuss intentional investments and policy solutions needed to address the injustices that have caused these long-term disparities for Black people and communities.

  • Spencer Overton, President, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Rashad Robinson, President, Color Of Change
  • Bakari Sellers, Commentator, CNN
  • Tonya Allen, President & CEO, Skillman Foundation (moderator)

1:35-2:45 p.m. ET

The Urgency of State and Local Policymaking Going Forward

The country has witnessed the need for fast-acting government policymaking this year, with state and local governments on the front lines in safeguarding public health, responding to staggering unemployment and business closures, and grappling with the disparities affecting communities of color. As the 2021 legislative year approaches, the challenge before the nation’s policymakers is to engineer a recovery that insures economic and health equity and helps communities be more resilient and just. This session will feature state and local officials discussing their takeaways on how governments have responded to the pandemic, what policy priorities are essential for municipalities, counties, and State legislatures in 2021, and what philanthropy can bring to the public discourse in their communities.

  • Ralph Alvarado, State Senator, Kentucky
  • Larry Johnson, Commissioner, Dekalb County, GA
  • Nan Whaley, Mayor, Dayton, OH
  • Salin Geevarghese, President & CEO, SGG Insight, LLC, and Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Social Policy (moderator)

2:45-3:45 p.m. ET

Concurrent Sessions

The impacts of COVID-19, coupled with the demand for racial justice, have the potential to transform urban landscapes socially, physically, and economically. These breakouts will show how some foundations are raising the game on policy advocacy. With three topic tracks to choose—2020 Congressional Redistricting, Digital Equity, and Systems-Change Advocacy for Equity, these sessions will illustrate advocacy grantmaking focused on disrupting the status quo or driving greater equity into State and local policies. Each breakout will contain a discussion followed by a small group conversation.

State-level Advocacy on 2021 Congressional Redistricting
This session is co-hosted by the Funders for Civic Participation. Redistricting is a critical next step toward realizing the goals of a fair and accurate census. The engagement of the nonprofit sector is critical to adding a check on the politization of the work that moves to the State legislatures in 2021, where the new congressional districts will be carved out across the nation. The experts on this panel will help funders understand the scope of c3 involvement, why voices for equity in drawing the lines are crucial, and the urgency of the timetable for these important advocacy strategies at the State level.

Co-hosted by the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation

  • Elena Conley, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
  • Carrie Davis, The Joyce Foundation
  • Jasmine Gomez, Programs Director, Access Strategies Fund
  • Amy Dominguez-Arms, Fair Representation in Redistricting (moderator)

System-Change Advocacy for Equity in Communities

The Center for Effective Philanthropy will use its 2020 report, Policy Influence: What Foundations are Doing and Why, and its August 2020 blog series, Insights in Their Own Words to help funders explore the unique role of philanthropy as a stakeholder in public policy change, especially at the state/local levels. Opportunities for engagement to advance equity and broader systems change and policy reform abound, whether through grantmaking or in collaboration with other funders or educating communities and policymakers on how good and bad policy impacts people and communities. The session will feature practical tips/suggestions for funders to engage in policy work and will gain a greater understanding of advocacy as a strategic tool to advance equity and systems change

  • Scott Moyer, President, Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation
  • Susan K. Thomas, President, Melville Charitable Trust
  • Naomi Orensten, Director of Research, Center for Effective Philanthropy (moderator)

Digital Equity in the Age of COVID

The stark realities of inequity and disparity have never been clearer than in 2020. The pandemic stay-at-home orders in the spring quickly honed in on digital connectivity as a crucial need for all households and institutions, from powering up remote education and at-home offices to essentials such as grocery delivery and telehealth services. At best, we have seen that uneven access leads to uneven participation. Our experts in this session will help us understand the status, challenges, and opportunities across the national and state broadband landscape; the thorny issues; and the barriers to connectivity that make the case for an increased national commitment to full digital connectivity and equal accessibility for all. Learn who the key players are, what advocacy strategies are needed to close the digital divide in America, and why philanthropic investments can be pivotal with community stakeholders.

  • Miguel Leon. Program Officer, the Michelson 20MM Foundation
  • Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow, Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy, and Senior Fellow and Public Advocate, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
  • Adrianne Furniss, Executive Director, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society (moderator)

3:45-4:00 p.m. ET

Moving Forward Together

  • Jamie Merisotis, President & CEO, Lumina Foundation