Program Materials from Advocacy in Grantmaking

Publication date: 
February, 2019

Veep, House of Cards or the West Wing? Advocacy, Public Policy and Transformation in the Civic Landscape

Philanthropy operates within a complex, interconnected civic landscape— working alongside business, government, nonprofit institutions and academia. 

These other sectors can seem foreign to many of us, none more so than government entities, most of whom spend more money on any given issue than all of philanthropy combined. Public policy, politics, and advocacy have simultaneously earned a bleak image of public policy and advocacy, or a comedic cynical view of government. Reality, however, paints a vastly different picture. Through this interactive session, attendees learned the rules of engagement for effectively moving their foundations’ agenda forward. They explored the fundamentals of advocacy and its critical function in advancing the goals of philanthropy in public policy through a discussion of the importance of public policy, communicating your policy preferences, and collaborating with government.

Attendees also connected the work of philanthropy within the larger civic landscape, and the transformation that can occur when we connect our work as grantmakers, relationship builders, and responsible brokers of social influence to the power, urgency, challenge, and opportunity that comes from working in the wider civic context.


Seyron Foo | Director, Public Policy and Government Relations, Southern California Grantmakers
Seyron develops, organizes, and implements efforts to create a well-connected network of grantmakers and public officials in order to strengthen communities and advance the public policy goals of SCG’s member organizations and Philanthropy California. In this capacity, he provides public policy analysis to issues affecting the sector and key policy areas relevant to grantmakers. Additionally, he is responsible for educating and informing government officials about philanthropic efforts, and identifies opportunities to convene grantmakers and government to tackle the state’s most pressing social issues.

Seyron has experience in various government sectors, beginning his career as a legislative aide to the California State Senate Majority Leader, where he managed a diverse policy portfolio that included civil rights, transportation, and housing. His work led the successful passage of legislation in health, tenants’ rights, and banking reforms. Prior to SCG, he served in the City of Long Beach as the Senior Policy Analyst to the Director of Public Works, where he oversaw and managed citywide projects and led the Department’s press and community relations efforts. His work on public policy affecting cities and communities led to his selection in 2017 as a Next City Vanguard. 

In 2018, Seyron joined a cohort of ten individuals across philanthropy, nonprofit, and government selected by Independent Sector for the American Express NGEN Fellows. He earned his Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and his B.A. in Rhetoric and Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

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