Why Capitol Hill Meetings are Important

  Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) is an annual two-day legislative and public policy event in Washington, DC for foundation staff members and philanthropic leaders. We need Next Gen voices at this table! This year, FOTH will take place on Tuesday, March 16 and Wednesday, March 17. The event is co-hosted by the Council on Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.

During the event participants will receive a legislative briefing on policies relating to the philanthropic sector, discuss philanthropic partnerships and initiatives with key Hill staff and administration representatives, learn about the 2010 tax agenda from Joint Committee on Taxation, House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee staffs, and participate in meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

FOTH is a unique opportunity for next generation leaders to demonstrate the creativity, leadership and power of philanthropy and its impact on American society, particularly during these turbulent economic times.

Why should you attend Foundations on the Hill? It is an opportunity to:

1)      Influence legislation

Capitol Hill meetings with your senators and representatives are valuable opportunities to improve legislation that affects the philanthropic sector. These meetings send a message to senators and representatives that their foundation constituents are paying attention, often motivating legislators to get involved with a bill they may have ignored otherwise.

2)      Demonstrate extra commitment to your cause

Constituent meetings with senators and representatives in their home states or districts are routine, as they are convenient and inexpensive. But constituents who travel to Washington, DC demonstrate an extra level of commitment to their cause. Recognizing the time and expense involved in attending meetings on Capitol Hill, legislators and their staffs are more likely to listen and respond to constituents, particularly to those who have traveled far to be there.      

3)      Meet and Build Relationships with the DC policy staff

When you meet with members of Congress in their home state or district offices, you meet their district staff; on Capitol Hill, you meet their policy staff. Policy staffs monitor specific legislative issues—including foundation and charitable sector issues, which are usually handled by the Tax Legislative Assistant. It is policy staff rather than district staff who provide legislators with background information and voting advice on bills.

Capitol Hill meetings are an effective way to educate and build relationships with Washington, DC staffers. Even if your legislator is unable to participate, meetings with policy staff can be extremely valuable. If you convince them to support your cause, they can become effective advocates for the sector. 

Registration for FOTH is $95.  Register for Foundations on the Hill today and take advantage of this opportunity to participate in an intimate discussion with Hill staff and administration representatives about the work that you are doing in your communities. For more information about the program and confirmed guest speakers, visit the Foundations on the Hill Web site.

Read what your colleagues are saying about FOTH. You can follow the conversation on FOTH by visiting the Council's Twitter feed at twitter.com/cof_. Join in by using the hash tag #FOTH in your tweets before, during, and after FOTH.

If you have additional questions, contact Chatrane Birbal, Chatrane.Birbal@cof.org, 703-879-0689, in the Council’s Public Policy Department; or Courtney Moore, Cmoore@givingforum.org, 703-879-0809, at the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.