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Chat: Effective Advocacy: Lessons for Charities and Grant Makers

Resource type: Video

On 30 November 2010, The Chronicle of Philanthropy held a live online discussion about advocacy campaigns – including the lessons learned from the Health Care for America Now campaign. 

The team that conducted an independent evaluation of the historic HCAN advocacy campaign, Dan Cramer of Grassroots Solutions and Tom Novick of M+R Strategic Services, were joined by Atlantic Philanthropies Advocacy Executive Antha Williams to answer questions and discuss the pros and cons of nonprofit advocacy grants.

In 2008 and 2009, The Atlantic Philanthropies made three grants totaling $26.5 million to Health Care for America Now, or HCAN, a group of more than 1,000 liberal advocacy organisations and labor unions created to push for nationalised health care.

In doing so, Atlantic made what was considered one the largest advocacy grant-making efforts from a foundation and was seen as a harbinger of future advocacy efforts by grant makers

The guests:

Tom Novick is executive vice president of M+R Strategic Services, where he helps nonprofits and philanthropists plan and carry out campaigns, as well as with online advocacy and fund raising, government affairs, communications, organizing, and activist training. Mr. Novick is a former Oregon state legislator who served as executive director of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group.

Dan Cramer co-founded Grassroots Solutions, which helps nonprofits and others organize, train, and mobilize grass-roots supporters. Previously, Mr. Cramer served as field director for U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone’s first campaign, was the executive assistant to Minnesota House Speaker Phil Carruthers, and worked as a lawyer specializing in government relations in Minneapolis.

Antha N. Williams oversees advocacy grants at Atlantic Philanthropies. Previously, Ms. Williams ran the Voter Protection program for the Obama Campaign for Change in Minnesota and was program officer at the Beldon Fund, a private foundation. She also served as organizing director at Green Corps, a training program for aspiring environmental advocates.

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