Showing Up Through Action: Foundations on the Hill

February 6, 2020

2020 is a big year for us – as individuals, as organizations and communities, and as a democracy. We all have the opportunity to show up and take action to ensure a more reflective, equitable and representative democracy across our vibrant Northwest communities.

Picture of FOTH 2019 delegation in front of the Capitol Building
Philanthropy Northwest members and staff delegates at FOTH 2019.

Our network has an incredible opportunity to act as advocates on important issues that impact our communities and our sector by speaking with the members of Congress representing our region at Foundations on the Hill (FOTH). Each year, member delegates and our staff, travel to Washington D.C. with hundreds of other peers in philanthropy to discuss concerns with legislators about issues impacting the people living in our region. Our federal advocacy work is a vital strategy that unifies us as a region on public policy issues. Our presence, relationships and partnership with members of Congress uniquely position us to increase our systemic impact and keep important issues top-of-mind for our lawmakers.

I asked a few staff members to share why showing up for FOTH benefits us all.

“FOTH is tremendously valuable whether it is someone’s first or fifth time at the event or even to Capitol Hill. It is an opportunity to engage with our lawmakers as a network connected by our common goals for the charitable sector and the communities in our region. At FOTH, we speak with a collective voice and show the power of our philanthropic network, while sharing distinct examples and stories from each of our organizations and parts of the region.” - Meredith Higashi, Director, Public Policy and Advocacy.

“It’s a powerful opportunity for our members to actively engage in advocacy and voice their stance on issues and values to policymakers. It helps build relationships and understanding between philanthropy and policymakers. I recall a member sharing with me how much she appreciated Philanthropy Northwest for managing the logistics of FOTH because it allowed members to fully participate and engage with policymakers.” - Arigin Sakda, Manager, Office and Operations

“While we have funder briefings and our annual conference as learning and networking environments throughout the year, there is a unique value in getting to know your peers across the region at FOTH. We are influencing the national conversation by lifting the experiences of our communities. It is also a great opportunity to take part in advancing our policy positions and realize that everyone plays a part, whether it is part of your official role or not. This experience gave me a new level of comfort to talk with our network about our policy positions, such as the 2020 Census and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.” - Karen Westing, Director, Marketing and Communications.

“The nonprofit sector and foundations are important investors in our communities and thus need to share stories that may often go unheard with our legislators. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to engage with peers from across the region and nation on our shared purpose and impact.” - Anjana Pandey, Vice President, Strategy and Operations.

"As philanthropy becomes an increasingly vital partner and influencer, our members who attend FOTH realize that engagement with government officials, especially our members of Congress, is essential. We’ve learned that many legislators and their staff know little about the collective, or local, impact of our work; therefore, it is imperative that we share these stories. We’ve also expanded the policy issues we raise with our congressional representatives, from issues in defense of the charitable sector, trends in philanthropic giving and the 2020 Census.

From my years in Washington, DC, I know that ‘out of sight, out of mind’ holds true. While it is quite the trek to visit ‘the other Washington,’ after experiencing FOTH, our members realize how important it is to be face-to-face with our congressional staff – and tell our stories and the impact that philanthropy has in our communities across the Northwest.” - Kiran Ahuja, CEO.

We hope you will join us for this incredible opportunity! Our visit is fast-approaching, and we encourage you to register soon! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. You can also learn more about FOTH on our website.