Our Policy Positions

Our Policy Positions

We use our collective voice to take a stand on issues that matter to our communities.

Advocacy is using our voice to influence public policies that support thriving communities through robust resources and democratic institutions that are more reflective of the communities they represent.

Why do we engage in public advocacy? 

First, philanthropic resources are tiny in comparison to public monies. While not all advocacy is focused on how public resources are spent or collected, philanthropy is more effective when we have democratic institutions that are responsive, transparent and authentically represent the breadth of our local communities. Strengthening our democracy requires robust engagement by all.  

Philanthropy Northwest advocates for a strong charitable sector in service of our region's communities, and we support our members to become effective advocates themselves.


Our Public Policy Priorities

Philanthropy Northwest’s advocacy is focused on our two public policy goals:

  • Promoting a more prosperous, vibrant, healthy, diverse, inclusive and equitable region.
  • Supporting efforts that grow and sustain more equitable philanthropy and charitable giving across our region. 

Currently, Philanthropy Northwest has established public policy positions on the following issues that are vitally important to our members: 


The Census

We support a robust and accurate census count and encourage philanthropy to be involved in preparing Northwest communities for the census. In 2020, we actively called upon state and federal governments to fully fund the 2020 Census. We also led a Washington pooled fund of over 30 funders to support census education and outreach, documented in our 2020 Washington Census Equity Fund Evaluation Report. Learn more about how funders can prepare for the 2030 Census by  following the Funder Census Initiative’s  A Blueprint  for Philanthropic Census Engagement.


Charitable Giving


We support a universal charitable incentive that enhances giving more equitably and efficiently across a wider, diverse base of donors across the income spectrum, to provide more charitable resources to communities.  Read our one-pager on a universal charitable giving incentive.


Donor-Advised Funds


We  favor  regulation to increase  transparency and payout of donor-advised funds (DAFs), and  we  support increased education and research to help deepen understanding of the complexities and considerations  to inform our  stance on specific proposals. Read our one-pager on donor-advised funds and our DAF FAQ that addresses common questions about DAF regulation and trends.


Missing and Murdered Indigenous People


We support policies that address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people, especially women, girls and Two-Spirit individuals, and call upon philanthropy and all levels of government to prioritize this issue.  Read the report on this issue from Urban Indian Health Institute


Philanthropy Northwest has adopted other policy positions as well, including opposing family separation at the border and supporting the prohibition against partisan activity by 501(c)(3) organizations


Our Process for Taking a Position or Action

Philanthropy Northwest has a public policy committee composed of board members and other network members that meets quarterly to discuss policy issues and recommend policy stances and advocacy actions for the full board’s consideration. Any Philanthropy Northwest member can raise a policy issue to the committee or to our policy staff.  Philanthropy Northwest may pursue one or several actions including monitoring legislation, submitting public comments, leading programs, lobbying and other communications. See our process for taking a position or other actions

Public Policy Committee Members

Mike Halligan, Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation (Committee Chair) Liz Moore, Montana Nonprofit Association
Christine Calpin, Casey Family Programs Brian Tanner, Potlatch Fund
Shona Carter, Black Future Co-Op Fund Aleesha Towns-Bain, Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation
Kris Hermanns, Seattle Foundation Steve Williams, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
Mauri Ingram, Whatcom Community Foundation Laurie Wolf, The Foraker Group

Have a policy issue to be considered or want to get involved in advocacy?

Contact  our policy team  to learn about our policy positions or to share your interests in a particular issue.