For many nonprofit organizations, engaging in advocacy work can be "too political" or perceived as a waste of time. Too often, organizations fear that advocating for policy changes will put an organization's 501c3 tax-exempt status at risk or alienate donors. Yet, advocacy remains one of the most important ways to affect systemic change and work towards achieving our social missions.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to learn the advocacy do's and don'ts from three organizations. In this dynamic presentation and panel, you'll have the opportunity to learn from nonprofit professionals who engage in advocacy work at the local, state, and national level.
In the first part of the session, our speakers will walk through several nonprofit advocacy myths and how to dispel them. Then, we'll move into panel-mode where our nonprofit advocates will answer your questions.
If you're looking for ways to boldly impact your mission and champion more support for your cause, then this session is for you.
This is a program of The Effective Nonprofit Series.
Michael Kelley, BikeWalkKC
- Michael leads BikeWalkKC’s efforts to advocate for the policies, plans, and projects which support a culture of active living in the Kansas City region and beyond. He has successfully advanced a number of initiatives, including Complete Streets ordinances, Vision Zero legislation, and the decriminalization of walking and biking in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2020, Michael was honored with the Emerging Leader of the Year Award by the League of American Bicyclists."
Jami Reever, Kansas Appleseed -
Jami joined Kansas Appleseed as Executive Director in September 2019. Prior to this, she served as the executive director of the United Way of the Flint Hills for ten years. While at the United Way, Jami was charged with executing the annual fundraising campaign, participating in federal and state advocacy efforts on Medicaid Expansion, SNAP and EITC, identifying pressing community issues and developing strategies to improve those issues, and leading disaster recovery efforts following tornadoes in Reading, Harveyville, and Eureka. Jami has been invited to attend numerous national convenings hosted by United Way Worldwide to speak about the importance of local nonprofits engaging in advocacy efforts and has led Kansans to visits on Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress. Jami was president of the United Ways of Kansas State Association and Emporia Rotary Club, is the chair of Lyon County's kindergarten readiness advisory board, and serves on the Hopkins Foundation teachers awards committee. Jami was elected to USD 253’s school board and will begin her term in January, 2022.
Scott Thornhill, Alphapointe - Scott is the Director of Public Policy for Alphapointe, a non-profit organization with the mission to empower people who are blind through opportunities for employment and personal development. Scott is responsible for issues such as government relations, successful employment, innovation and more for Alphapointe. Previously he operated his own real estate brokerage which his wife continues to run after Scott felt compelled to join the Alphapointe team to help make the playing field level for people who are blind. Scott himself is blind, losing his vision due to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) after being diagnosed at the age of eight and told at 15 he would be blind by 40. Today Scott utilizes assistive technology and other rehabilitation skill development in his own career, helping ensure legislation and other factors impacting the lives of people with disabilities offer even more opportunities moving forward.
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