Why Foundations are Engaging in Public Policy Efforts

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Below is an excerpt from the first blog post in a five-part series titled, “Foundations and Policy Engagement: Insights in Their Own Words,”  by the Center for Effective Philanthropy on the CEP Blog. Read the entire blog post here.

Helios Education Foundation

Charles Hokanson, Senior Vice President, Florida Community Engagement, and Janice Palmer, Vice President, Public Policy & Government Affairs

In order to realize our vision that every individual in Arizona and Florida has the opportunity to attend and is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, Helios Education Foundation understands its role in public policy must be deeply rooted in advocacy — advocacy fueled by the needs and aspirations of first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students.

Helios’ portfolio of policy work is extensive. Oftentimes, our community investment and policy engagement work together to provide thought leadership, public/private partnership investment, and investment proof of concept. Our capacity to engage in policy and align it with our community investments has evolved and matured considerably over the past decade and a half. We’ve added staff with deep experience and learned from various successes and setbacks along the way. We’ve found that Helios’ vision cannot be achieved without scale, and scale cannot be achieved without meaningful engagement in public policy — ultimately leading to systemic educational reform in both states.

Philanthropy has both an opportunity and a responsibility to use its voice to contribute to policy reforms that create systemic change for our communities.  At Helios, we are committed to our policy work and will continue to employ our policy strategies to realize the change that needs to happen to ensure college and career success for all students.

Read the entire blog post here, and read responses from other philanthropies.