Speaking with One Voice: Merger Brings Together Nonprofits and Grantmakers to Advocate for Policy Solutions

by Laurie Liles

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum’s merger unlocks unlimited possibilities for nonprofit and philanthropic leaders to explore solutions to some of our state’s most pressing challenges. 

That kind of problem solving calls for the creativity, scrappiness and innovation nonprofits and philanthropy are known for. And it often requires cross-sector collaboration and partnerships with policymakers — the magic that happens when like-minded leaders align around public policy and systems change.

Members of the Alliance and Arizona Grantmakers Forum boards of directors recognized early in our merger talks that nonprofits and grantmakers can be a force for positive change when we team up to advocate for the people we serve. Problem solvers by nature, our sector’s leaders have real-world experience grappling with challenges in their communities. They come to the table equipped with pragmatic, time-tested approaches that can be scaled for greater impact. 

Public policy has long been a priority for both the Alliance and Arizona Grantmakers Forum, and we’ve partnered successfully to pass legislation that strengthens the sector. We’ve worked together in recent years to pass federal and state laws that incentivize charitable giving. And we’ve aligned around policies that contribute to a sound economy and promote economic well-being and quality of life for everyone in our state. 

But before our merger, neither organization had a team member specifically dedicated to leading public policy and advocacy. Joining forces enables our new organization to make collective impact advocacy — advocacy on behalf of the entire nonprofit and philanthropic sector — a central strategic focus. 

That’s never been more vital, as nonprofits continue to face unprecedented challenges, from workforce shortages to ever-increasing demand for their services. 

That’s why I’m honored to serve in the newly created role of chief public policy officer in the merged organization, where I’ll focus on advocacy on behalf of the entire sector while continuing to lead and support our grantmaking members as vice president of Arizona Grantmakers Forum. 

Alliance CEO Kristen Merrifield and I are excited to realize the vision we began casting more than two years ago. Even back then — when our merger was a twinkle in our eyes — we were dreaming big about what our members could accomplish when they speak with one voice. 

We’re eager to strengthen relationships with policymakers and partner with them to address Arizona’s challenges. Behind the scenes, we’re asking our nonprofit and philanthropic members to identify the top issues where we can make a difference and brainstorm potential solutions. 

There’s so much good we can do when we join forces. As change agents — and advocates — we’re stronger together. We can’t wait to get started.

Speak Your Mind

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