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Public Policy Guidelines

Arizona Grantmakers Forum’s mission is to empower our members to transform Arizona through leadership and meaningful philanthropy. Through a range of efforts including education, communication and public policy engagement, AGF supports Arizona’s philanthropic community in pursuit of this mission.

Public policies that relate directly to charitable giving and the nonprofit sector impact the business of philanthropy. As part of its mission, AGF engages members in the public policy arena to strengthen the philanthropic community’s work. AGF identifies and facilitates collaborative opportunities for members to play a leadership role in public policy.

AGF will carry out its public policy activities according to the policies and procedures outlined below.

Policies 

AGF is a diverse constellation of organizations and individuals actively engaged in philanthropy in Arizona. Engagement in public policy activities ranges broadly among members due to a wide array of factors including mission, tax status, knowledge, experience, culture and philosophy.  AGF recognizes that members hold a variety of opinions regarding public policy matters and may be impacted differently by specific public policies.

AGF will educate its members about the wide variety of ways in which the philanthropic sector may engage in public policy. AGF will disseminate information about public policy issues or ways in which sector members are currently involved in public policy issues.  AGF will also convene members interested in working collaboratively on public policy issues. At all times, AGF will respect all members’ points of view.

AGF and its members play a leadership role in public policy, building and maintaining relationships with policymakers and other stakeholders to enhance their knowledge, understanding and support of the philanthropic sector.

The following policy principles guide AGF’s leadership in the public policy arena:

  • AGF favors public policies that promote philanthropy, encourage charitable giving and advance the nonprofit sector
  • AGF supports legislative and regulatory policies that enhance the ability of philanthropies to carry out their charitable activities
  • AGF supports reasonable and effective public accountability of the philanthropic sector

AGF will engage in specific policy issues that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Issues that affect members’ ability to conduct their philanthropy effectively
  • Issues where members’ collective experience, knowledge and voice will inform public policy discussions and may foster constructive action
  • Issues that strengthen the nonprofit sector and complement and enhance philanthropic giving

AGF will determine whether to play a leadership role on specific policy issues on a case-by-case basis, following the procedures described below.

AGF will engage in public policy issues through a variety of means. These activities may include, but are not limited to: disseminating research and data, oral and written communications through mass media, public testimony, joining coalitions, letter writing, and private meetings with policymakers and other stakeholders. AGF will identify specific strategies and actions based on each situation and consistent with AGF’s resources to execute effectively.  In its communications and interactions, AGF will offer a presence and tone that are constructive rather than critical, and will preserve the confidences of individual members as required. If AGF engages in any lobbying activities, it will act within the bounds set by the IRS.

On federal issues, AGF will work to educate its members on issues relevant to the sector, and collaborate as needed with national organizations including the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector. AGF will devote primary attention to state, regional and local issues.

Procedures

AGF will follow a process that enables thoughtful and representative deliberation, decision-making and oversight regarding whether and how the organization will be involved in public policy.  AGF’s process also will be responsive and expeditious to enable time-sensitive action when needed.

AGF’s Public Policy Committee is responsible for identifying public policy issues that affect the philanthropic community and methods for effectively engaging members. The committee—working in conjunction with staff—will provide guidance to the board of directors on positioning AGF and its members to positively impact those issues. Using the above policies and stated criteria as guidelines, AGF’s president and CEO will provide the committee with policy-related information, questions and proposals for consideration. Committee members will also identify and analyze possible issue areas and policy positions for AGF’s involvement.  The committee will develop a broad policy agenda each year and work with the president and CEO to develop strategies to achieve each public policy objective. The committee will present the policy agenda to the AGF board of directors for approval.

In addition to the public policy agenda, the committee will consider other issues that arise from time to time and recommend positions and actions to be taken. The committee will make those recommendations to the Executive Committee, which will convene, either in person or via electronic means, to consider and vote on the recommendation. To engage maximum points of view, the Executive Committee will invite all AGF board members to participate in deliberations and may decide to convene the entire board and/or poll the membership before voting.  In making its decision, the Executive Committee (or the board if convened) will assess the costs and benefits of AGF’s engagement.

Upon a favorable vote of a majority of the Executive Committee (or the board if convened), the president and CEO will implement the recommendation and  inform the board, Public Policy Committee and membership of positions, actions taken and issue status.

Approved by the Arizona Grantmakers Board of Directors December 10, 2015