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Legislators Teach Nonprofit Leaders How To Advocate At Trumbull Event

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff speaking at the “Advocacy Day” event in Trumbull. Photo Credit: Contributed
Senator Beth Bye, Chair of the Appropriations Committee; Juanita James, President & CEO of President and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff at the “Advocacy Day” event in Trumbull Photo Credit: Contributed

TRUMBULL, Conn. -- Effective advocacy can be an essential component of a nonprofit’s strategy for success was the topic of discussion during the recent meeting of the Fairfield County Community Foundation Center for Non-profit Excellence in Trumbull.

Held in collaboration with the Connecticut Association of Non-profits, the first “Advocacy Day” at the Trumbull Marriott, helped nonprofits build their advocacy skills.

Attendees included more than 100 individuals – from executive director level and staff, to board members and volunteers, representing more than 60 Fairfield County nonprofits, said Juanita James, president and CEO of the foundation.

“We created Advocacy Day because to create sustainable improvements in our communities, partnering with the public sector is critical. Advocacy Day gave our non-profit partners a chance to understand the legislative process and learn first hand from our elected officials how to work effectively with them.” said James.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk, Darien) set the stage for with skill-building, storytelling and peer learning, James added.

In his opening remarks, Duff reinforced the need for nonprofits to advocate for their organizations and reminded everyone in the room: “Don’t assume that because you’ve been around for decades that people know what you do.”

Attendees participated in skill-building breakout sessions, including “Civics 101—Understanding the Legislative Process,” presented by Jeff Shaw from CT Association of Non-profits; “Lobbying & Political Campaign Activities for Non-profits,” presented by Maurice Segall of Pro Bono Partnership; and “Deconstructing the CT State Budget,” presented by state Sen. Beth Bye, chair of the Appropriations Committee.

“Advocacy is critically important because policies and decisions are being made in Hartford that may impact your organization and the people you serve.” Shaw said during the “Civics 101” session.

Shaw shared details on how to navigate the legislative process and identify key legislators to advance a nonprofits’ work.

During Segall’s session, the focus was set on providing critical information to ensure that nonprofits engaged in advocacy activities stay within the law.

The panelists included Diane Sierpina of Tow Foundation of New Canaan; Nate Snow of Teach For America; Abby Anderson of the state Juvenile Justice Alliance of Bridgeport; Lucas Codognolla of Connecticut Students for a Dream; and Don Strait of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. For more information, visit www.FCCFoundation.org.

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