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Advocacy for the Older Americans Act Reauthorization: What Can My 501c 3 Foundation Do? 

April 4, 2024

Cosponsored by Grantmakers In Health (GIH) and Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) 

Policy advocacy is critical to effecting systems change. Although foundations may engage in a wide variety of effective strategies, many remain uncertain about what advocacy activities are legally permissible. The unfortunate result is many grantmaking organizations remain on the policy sidelines. 

The Older Americans Act (OAA) reauthorization is an opportunity for funders to help bolster critical services that address the social drivers of health and support common priority issues affecting all of us as we age, including mental health and well-being, social connection, and the care workforce. As a reminder, GIA and GIH are partnering on a new effort to mobilize funders in support of the 2024 reauthorization of the OAA.   

This discussion was useful for funders participating in the National Council on Aging’s Age + Action Conference on May 6-8, 2024, which includes a Hill Day and special funder policy sessions. Information had been shared on GIA/GIH programming during the conference. The information provided in this webinar also applied to other policy issues.  

Participants convened for a workshop that provided a clear understanding of what advocacy activities your 501(c)(3) organization can engage in, what communications count as lobbying, and how to maximize your non-lobbying advocacy.  

 Participants learned: 

 How federal tax law permits lobbying for charities and how lobbying is defined; 

  • One easy step most charities can take to maximize the amount they’re allowed to spend on lobbying; 
  • Yearly lobbying limits for charities; 
  • Tips for taking advantage of the narrow definitions of lobbying—which will help charities make the most of their lobbying limit  
  • How to apply these rules to ballot measure activities. 

This workshop was facilitated by Sarah Efthymiou of the Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy program.