Making advocacy a family philanthropy affair

Advocacy is an important tool for family philanthropists seeking to address mounting issues of inequality or for those who recognize that funding direct services alone is not enough to create lasting change.

Advocacy, including grassroots organizing and policy advocacy, involves efforts to change the law or how the law is applied in order to address an injustice. Advocacy can support the democratic process by including the voices of those who are historically marginalized and facilitating their participation in the democratic process.

In addition, successful advocacy efforts can change public opinion, defend existing rights or benefits, or make a compelling case to reverse or correct a situation.

Although recent events have galvanized many new funders to engage in funding advocacy, it is by no means a new strategy for family foundations. America’s philanthropic families have a long history of supporting advocacy work.

In fact, the efforts of the country’s first family foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, contributed to the creation of regulations that ended 12-hour work days and 7-day work weeks for steelworkers in Pittsburgh. This ultimately contributed to national protective working regulations, many of which endure more than 100 years later.

Read the full story at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

Up Next

How are millennials changing philanthropy?

Read Now
Editor's note: Stories appearing on NCF's website from third-party contributors are intended for informational purposes only, and we do not endorse or approve the content, services, products, or theological teachings they contain. Any questions or concerns may be directed to the original publisher of such third-party content.

Sign up for our
Saturday 7 email digest

Join close to 50,000 subscribers who receive our email digest of
the week's top stories from We call it Saturday 7.

Read our privacy policy