Advocacy and Lobbying Rules for Private Foundations

The legal staff at the Packard Foundation, Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation and Moore Foundation developed this free, first-of-its-kind resource, which covers the basic legal rules around what staff are allowed to fund and engage in at a private foundation. It takes less than an hour to complete and features “Maya,” a new program officer that leads participants through the course. Participants can also return to the training at any time for a refresher and click on the individual modules to refer back to specific topics.

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Course Map


  • Introduction
  • Private Foundations and Public Charities
  • Definition of Lobbying
  • Direct Lobbying
  • Spotting Lobbying Issues
  • Consequences of Lobbying
  • Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act and State Lobbying Laws
  • Takeaways


  • Introduction
  • Project Grant Rule
  • Exceptions to Lobbying
  • Lobbying Analysis Tool
  • Lobbying in Contracts
  • Spotting Lobbying in Grants and Contracts
  • Screening Proposal and Reports
  • Importance of Report Review
  • Takeaways


  • Introduction
  • Speaking Engagement Talking Points to Avoid
  • Spotting Lobbying in Speaking Engagements
  • Spotting Lobbying in Email
  • Grassroots Lobbying and Non-Lobbying Communication
  • Spotting Lobbying in Conversation with Legislators
  • Knowledge Check
  • Takeaways


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Meghan Hanson, Attorney

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Elizabeth Peters, General Counsel

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Sasha Abrams, Deputy General Counsel

David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Mary Anne Rodgers, General Counsel
Liz Karlin, Grantmaking Operations and Legal Analyst