What type of advocacy will the Foundation for Tacoma Students engage in?
The Foundation for Tacoma Students is a 501c3 nonprofit and legally allowed to advocate on the local, regional and state level within the following perimeters:
- The Foundation will never participate in campaigns on behalf of, or in opposition to, political candidates to public office.
- The Foundation’s advocacy for legislative and public policies will not exceed 20 percent of its total expenditures – commonly known as lobbying.
- The Foundation’s advocacy efforts will abide by the IRS’ substantial part test. In doing so, the majority of the Foundation’s overall organizational and human resources will continue to be dedicated to providing backbone support for Graduate Tacoma’s four Collaborative Action Networks.
What is the role of the Foundation for Tacoma Students vs. Graduate Tacoma in advocacy?
2019 is a building year for this new body of work and is currently managed by the Foundation with the guidance of a Policy Advisory Committee (see below for more details). As we develop our capacity to advocate for policies that positively impact students, the Graduate Tacoma movement will become a key player in mobilizing local community. As such, we welcome any and all input and guidance from our trusted partners involved in the Graduate Tacoma community movement. Sign up to receive updates and opportunities to get involved as we make progress.
Who is involved?
The Foundation for Tacoma Students has adopted a Policy Advisory Committee comprising of Tacoma leaders with significant insight and understanding on policies impacting students, families and our success as a movement toward closing the opportunity gaps in Tacoma. These individuals are deeply engaged with the Graduate Tacoma community movement.
The Policy Advisory Committee’s primary objectives are to 1) provide policy recommendations that support the vision of the Graduate Tacoma movement and; 2) advise the process for developing the Foundation’s advocacy capacity.
As we build out our capacity for advocacy, the Foundation will expand this role beyond a sole advisory committee and integrate it into the Graduate Tacoma model of collective impact (see below for more details).
What is collective impact?
Collective impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration. Graduate Tacoma is a collective impact movement supported by more than 270 community partners. Graduate Tacoma organized these community partners into four stakeholder groups, called Collaborative Action Networks (CANs).
How does advocacy support Graduate Tacoma’s Collaborative Action Networks
Utilizing a collective impact approach to the work, the Graduate Tacoma community movement is able to improve outcomes for students across the cradle-to-career continuum. However, to make a lasting impact, we must improve systems and promote policies to compliment our progress – as well as leverage our collective power when policies and systems threaten to dismantle our progress. Advocacy acts at the systems change level by addressing the root causes of social problems.
Who will we be advocating for?
By centering our efforts on those students and families most frequently disadvantaged by systems and policies at play, we are advocating for ALL Tacoma students.
Why advocacy now?
Since its inception in 2010, Graduate Tacoma’s four Collaborative Action Networks (CANs) have brought the community together to align data, resources, and ultimately actions to move the needle on our seventeen academic and community indicators. While the data tells us that we’ve made incredible progress in our community, it also shows us there is more work to do. It is our belief that we will make faster and stronger progress by taking on an advocacy role on behalf of all Tacoma students.
Our advocacy and policy efforts will cut across state, regional and local agendas and we will focus primarily on elevating the Tacoma/Pierce County voice in agendas that otherwise have not had our strong presence. Now is the time to build a strong and adept approach to advocate for policies that disrupt long-standing inequities for historically underserved communities like ours.
How can I contribute to this effort?
- Stay up to date on local voter information and deadlines.
- Register to vote in Washington.
- Attend Tacoma Public Schools board meetings and Tacoma City Council meetings.
- Join a Graduate Tacoma Collaborative Action Network as an individual or representative of your organization.
- Let us know if you’d like to share your support for one or more policies from our 2019 Advocacy Priorities.
- Stay informed at the city, county and state levels.
- Graduate Tacoma community partners: Sign up to receive updates and to learn how you can get involved with policies that matter to you.