Advocacy and Lobbying Rules for Private Foundations

For 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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Meghan Hanson, Attorney, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Elizabeth Peters, General Counsel, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Sasha Abrams, General Counsel, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Mary Anne Rodgers, General Counsel

Liz Karlin, Grantmaking Operations and Legal Analyst, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Course Map

Module 1: Overview

  • 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

Module 2: Funding Advocacy

  • 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

Module 3: Engaging Advocacy

  • 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

Legal Disclaimer

This material is for general informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice as to any particular set of facts; nor does it represent any undertaking to keep recipients advised of any relevant legal developments. Please consult appropriate professional advisors as you deem necessary. The foundations shall not be held responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in this document.
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