Foundation Support for Nonprofit Advocacy

Session materials from PEAK2019.

Not sure how to make the case for funding advocacy? Uncertain whether you can fund grantees that lobby? Wondering whether your public or private foundation can speak out on an issue? Discover the answers to these questions and more—for public and private foundations.

Participants will learn about:

Reasons for public and private foundations to support advocacy

Activities that constitute advocacy and public policy work

Various advocacy roles for foundations

Definitions of lobbying

Activities that are exceptions to the definitions of lobbying

Rules for private and public foundation grants to nonprofits that lobby

Grant agreement language that permits support for policy work

Permissible private and public foundation support for election-related activities

Alison Friedman Phillips

Manager of Programs

The Women's Foundation of Colorado

Born in Colorado, Alison loves the outdoors and western ideals. In her current role, she manages programs at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. This gives her the privilege of making grants to nonprofits, diving deep into research, and advocating at the state capitol on behalf of Colorado’s women and their families. Before that she lived in Washington, D.C., and spent time as an intern in the education policy program at New America and in the office of the Honorable Michael Bennet. And even before that she lived and worked in the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley serving as a development officer at Aspen Community Foundation. Alison earned a Master of Public Policy from The George Washington University and a Bachelors of Arts in political science with minors in business administration and nonprofit administration from the University of Oregon. She loves pop culture, politics, and philanthropy and lives in the Baker neighborhood with her partner and their corgi, Albus Dumbledog.

Sara Guillaume

Senior Director of Grantmaking Operations

Colorado Health Foundation

Sara is passionate about building stronger communities and helping people thrive. She has been in the grantmaking field for more than 15 years. Prior to joining the Colorado Health Foundation in 2008, Sara administered federal and local grant funds, and provided consulting services to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations.

Sara is responsible for leading the operations related to the Foundation’s complete grantmaking process, from application to final report. She oversees a team that is focused on compliance, the customer experience, process design, and grant data reporting. She works collaboratively across the organization to design programs and systems that align the Foundation’s operations with its strategy. 

As a lifelong Coloradan, Sara has a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado and a Master of Nonprofit Management from Denver's Regis University. She is a Stanford University Certified Project Manager, and has a black belt in Process Improvement.

Carlos Martinez

Executive Director

Latino Community Foundation of Colorado

Mr. Martinez is the president/CEO of the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC). He directs the LCFC’s efforts to expand philanthropy by Latinos, advance the foundation’s vision of building the civic power of Latinos in Colorado and oversees the foundation’s work in building a vibrant narrative for the Latino community of Colorado. 

Mr. Martinez has held various executive positions and led the transformation of several non-profit organizations in Colorado, California and Massachusetts. In additional, he has also worked in philanthropy at the executive level and is creative in developing philanthropic engagement opportunities for individuals, foundations and corporations that translate into strategic investments in community for wide-reaching impact. He is an advocate of leadership programs and has been instrumental in the development and teaching of several non-profit local and national programs as well as been an adjunct professor on management/leadership courses.

Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort

Director, Texas Office

Alliance for Justice

Natalie Ossenfort is the director of Alliance for Justice's Texas office, where she works with nonprofits and foundations to build their capacity to advocate both lawfully and effectively. Prior to her work with the organization, she helped to create and run the Innocence Project of Texas, a nonprofit dedicated to freeing those wrongfully convicted of crimes in the state. At IPTX, Natalie held both executive director and chief staff attorney positions, and she specialized in the litigation of cases involving the use of DNA evidence. She also worked with the organization to successfully advocate on behalf of reforms designed to reduce the number of wrongful convictions and assist those reentering society after lengthy terms of unjust confinement. Natalie obtained her law degree from the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, Texas. She earned her undergraduate B.A. from Trinity University in San Antonio, where she majored in political science.

Grants Management Professional Competency Model

Cross-Cutting Competencies

  • Knowledge Management: Capture and apply knowledge to promote learning and improvement.
  • Strategic Management: Promote organizational mission and goals and inspire colleagues to achieve them.


Private Foundations Handout
Public Charities Handout