Connecting the Dots: Advocacy, Policy & Impact

On March 29th, the Orange County Funders Roundtable had the pleasure of hosting a policy discussion with the Alliance for Healthy Orange County. The Alliance is a county-wide collaborative of healthcare organizations, community-based organizations and universities whose mission is to champion policy strategies and leverage funding opportunities that result in enhanced health outcomes and reduced health disparities for Orange County residents. This year, as the OC Funders Roundtable focuses on our enhanced mission and objectives, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with other community organizations in order to bring discussion and learning to our members and the nonprofit community.

The Olin Group served as the facilitator for the morning, guiding attendees through a discussion on current local policy wins and efforts, challenges faced by the funder and nonprofit community dealing with system change work and recommendations and strategies that have enabled policy change to happen. Many of the challenges were expected: board hesitancy, negative perceptions, the need for more resources and the need to develop long-term plans vs focusing on year to year activity. The recommendations and successes shared however are what the Orange County Funders Roundtable will continue to incorporate into our learning and activities.  Policy work demands changing the narrative and understanding the root cause behind issues. It asks for long-term funding, supported by data but not expecting immediate results. And it calls for champions at all levels, those individuals who are willing to dedicate a strong communication and messaging plan to getting the message out across many platforms.

In preparation for the policy convening participants were asked to complete a survey sharing their own work, collaborations and challenges. The Olin Group will compile this information into an infographic and white paper to be shared in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we encourage those who are already engaged in policy, or those who would like to become active in the discussion, to think about one thing their organization could use to support the work. We look forward to continuing the discussion.