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Saving the Social Safety Net: Advocacy Lessons for Funders

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 -
9:00am to 11:00am PST
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360 | San Francisco, CA
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Our nation’s social safety net is at risk, and the effects on our most vulnerable communities could be devastating. This session will focus on critical work that is happening now to save our social safety net, given Arabella Advisors' recent work with donors and advocates to protect the programs that collectively constitute that safety net using all available tactics and resources.

Join Us To:

In the first hour of this session, we will hear about current challenges and opportunities from two organizations fighting on the front lines:

  • Health Care for America Now is a national grassroots coalition that formed in 2008 to run a $60 million five-and-a-half-year campaign to pass, protect, and promote the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Today, the group has reconstituted to defend affordable, quality healthcare for all American families.
  • The Safety Net Defense Fund is a collaborative, multi-donor, rapid-response fund, established to protect federal core safety net programs, including the ACA, Medicaid, SNAP, and SSI, and to mitigate other significant threats to core poverty programs. The group is mounting a strategic, savvy, and comprehensive campaign designed to save these vital benefits that are at great risk.

During the second hour of this session, we will discuss lessons from these initiatives and implications for funders in the Bay Area. We will explore:

  • Designing, benchmarking and evaluating advocacy initiatives
  • Tactics for maximizing lobbying capacity
  • Opportunities and pitfalls experienced by collaborative funds and tandem c3/c4 initiatives
  • Tools for rapid-response grantmaking
  • Techniques for navigating collaboration in a rapidly-changing environment

Participants will leave with an up-to-the-minute update from Washington, as well as concrete tactics for designing and implementing advocacy initiatives.


This event is open to NCG members as well as non-members. Members, register by clicking on the register button on the right side of this page. If you are not an NCG member, email to register. 


Margarida Jorge, co-Executive Director, Health Care for America Now

Margarida Jorge is a 23-year veteran of electoral, union, civic engagement and issue campaigns and a recognized expert in the development of campaign strategies for local, state and national issue advocacy. From 2008-2014, Margarida served as the National Field Director at Health Care for America Now (HCAN), where she pioneered a new field model now widely used across issues and organizations that increased capacity for over 200 grassroots organizations in 44 states to pass, implement and defend the landmark Affordable Care Act.  Following the November 2016 elections, Margarida re-convened HCAN’s coalition campaign to stop current Republican efforts to sabotage and repeal the ACA and to dismantle Medicaid and Medicare.

Margarida also led SEIU’s American’s for Health Care campaign, developed and implemented field strategy for the Americans for Tax Fairness campaign, and built the intersectional “Stand with Women” campaign to integrate reproductive rights and economic justice at the Women’s Equality Center, where she served as National Director.  Previously, Margarida spent over 12 years working for labor unions, community organizations and candidates in states like Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida and others. Margarida currently works as a strategic and organizational development consultant for a variety of progressive organizations including Vision First, PICO National Network, Working America, Ms. Foundation for Women, Main Street Alliance, and the Child Care and Early Learning Action Hub.

Wendoly Marte, Field Director, Safety Net Defense, Senior Organizer, Center for Community Change

Wendoly Marte is a Senior Organizer with the Center for Community Change, a national organization that works to strengthen, connect and mobilize grassroots groups to enhance their leadership, voice and power.  In her role, she works to advance economic, racial and gender equality in low-income communities across the country by providing training on leadership development, coordinating and assisting with strategy for local and national campaigns, and organizational development.  Currently she serves as the Field Director for CCC’s Safety Net Defense project, with the goal of protecting the safety net, including Medicaid and SNAP, from structural changes and significant cuts.

She traces her roots to the Bronx, where she has been fighting for economic justice, education reform and progressive political engagement for over 14 years.  Before working at the Center, she coordinated local, state and federal campaigns with the goal of building political power for young people, immigrants and low-income communities of color in the Bronx and beyond.

Louisa B. Warren, Deputy Director of State Strategies, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Warren is Deputy Director of State Strategies at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  In this role she oversees the organization’s federal campaigns and strategies to engage state partners around federal healthcare, budget, and tax issues.  Warren first joined the Center in 2012 to advise state organizations on issue campaign strategy related to state fiscal policy choices and a host of safety net issues.   She brings thirteen years of experience with moving policy to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income families at the state and national level. Before joining the Center, Warren was a Senior Policy Advocate for five years at the North Carolina Justice Center working on tax and budget issues within the Budget and Tax Center (a State Priorities Partnership member) as well as work on income supports, workplace standards, and prisoner re-entry.  Prior to that, she was the Director of the North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying Reform, a successful bipartisan effort to strengthen the state’s lobbying and ethics laws. Warren also worked on communications and event planning at El Pueblo, a Latino advocacy organization in North Carolina. She maintains close ties to the North Carolina advocacy community and has served on a number of Boards, including currently serving as Vice Chair of Democracy North Carolina.

Moderator: Jessica Robinson Love, Senior Director, Arabella Advisors   

Jessica Robinson Love is a senior director in Arabella’s San Francisco office, where she partners with foundations, corporations, families, and individuals to advance social change. Jessica helps donors, investors, and social entrepreneurs turn their philanthropic visions into reality by designing and implementing innovative donor collaboratives, campaigns, and grant-making initiatives. At Arabella, she has overseen the launch of a $50 million grant-making initiative to transform international seafood markets; helped to rapidly scale a campaign to eliminate barriers to women obtaining contraception; and developed a strategy for a national parent education initiative to advance student success. 

Jessica brings nearly two decades of experience with the practice of fiscal sponsorship, as well as deep expertise in organizational development and capacity building. Previously, as a strategic philanthropy advisor and social impact consultant, Jessica helped individual philanthropists design and launch new foundations, supported established foundations in implementing capacity-building programs for grantees, and advised social-sector leaders on organizational strategy.

As a social entrepreneur, Jessica was the founding executive and artistic director of CounterPulse. Over 14 years, she led the organization through a merger, relocation, and 10-fold expansion, establishing it as a national model in the field of arts for social justice. She designed and led a statewide initiative to build equity in the performing arts, and helped launch a major public-private partnership to preserve cultural spaces. Earlier in her career, Jessica was an adjunct faculty member at the New College of California, where she designed and taught undergraduate courses on arts, nonprofit management, and social justice. She served on the board of the grant-making organization Alternate ROOTS, and on numerous selection panels for private and public grant makers, both in California and nationally.