PolicyLink

PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works.®

Oakland, CA   |  https://www.policylink.org

Mission

As the nation moves toward becoming majority people of color, achieving equity—just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential—is the moral imperative, a potent antidote to inequality, and the superior growth model. To advance equity, PolicyLink advocates for groundbreaking policy changes that enable everyone, especially people of color, to be economically secure, live in healthy communities of opportunity, and benefit from a just society. PolicyLink is guided by the belief that the solutions to the nation’s challenges lie with those closest to these challenges: when the wisdom, voice, and experience of those traditionally absent from policymaking drive the process, profound policy transformations emerge.

Ruling year info

1998

President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Michael McAfee

Main address

1438 Webster Street, Suite 303

Oakland, CA 94612-3228 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-3297479

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (W05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

At the heart of the American Dream lies the promise that ours is a land of opportunity for all. But this ideal collides with the reality of persistent racial inequities, toxic inequality, generational poverty, and stalled economic mobility. Equity—just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential—offers a potent antidote to inequality. As the United States population rapidly approaches the day when the majority will be people of color, equity points the way to a prosperous future for all.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Equitable Economy

Promote economic inclusion and ownership to eliminate poverty, shrink inequality, and increase mobility.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Create and maintain opportunity-rich communities in all neighborhoods and all regions of the country through strong networks and social capital, equitable development, and infrastructure investments that enable low-income people and communities of color to thrive.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Build power and expand agency to ensure that all systems and institutions are just, free of racial bias, and lead to a vibrant democracy where all, especially the most vulnerable, can participate and prosper.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of policies formally introduced

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Founded in 1999, PolicyLink has gained national prominence in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, especially the 100 million people living at or below 200 percent of poverty. To advance equity, PolicyLink addresses race forthrightly and drives groundbreaking policy changes enabling everyone, especially people of color, to be economically secure, live in healthy communities of opportunity, and benefit from a just society. PolicyLink is guided by the belief that the solutions to the nation’s challenges lie with those closest to these challenges: when the wisdom, voice, and experience of those traditionally absent from policymaking drive the process, profound policy transformations emerge. The PolicyLink long-term goal is to build a broad-based movement for equity and inclusive growth by engaging hundreds of partners in cities and regions across the United States and supporting their efforts with data and policy analyses.

The PolicyLink programmatic initiatives are organized within three interlocking, mutually reinforcing areas of work:

1. Equitable Economy. Economic participation is essential to reversing inequality, improving mobility, and growing the middle class. PolicyLink Equitable Economy initiatives focus on creating good jobs, expanding entrepreneurship, and building human capabilities.
2. Healthy Communities of Opportunity. To participate in economic life, people must live in healthy, safe, stable places connected to opportunity and resources.
3. Just Society. Even as the equity movement succeeds in growing a more inclusive economy and building opportunity-rich communities, millions of people will remain shut out unless the nation eliminates entrenched racial and economic barriers to participation such as mass incarceration. PolicyLink Just Society initiatives advocate for reforms so systems and institutions operate free of racial bias.

PolicyLink uses the following strategies to advance its mission.

Frame the Opportunity– An equity narrative emerges that shifts the culture allowing most of the people in America to see themselves in it and to be inspired by it.
Set the Standard– To ensure the equity framework is not weakened, and to ensure leaders can accelerate the achievement of a just and fair society, a national standard is established that describes what the most vulnerable in America need leaders to do to affirmatively answer the question is anyone better off.
Maintain and Track Shared Indicators– Youth and movement leaders have a common equity agenda and shared measures of success and are using their power to attract investment to their implementation of mutually reinforcing activities.
Achieve Results at Scale– Policymakers and corporate leaders are implementing equity-based policy solutions that impact entire populations, and their organizations are no longer behaving in ways that work against creating communities of opportunity.

PolicyLink succeeds by weaving together four essential functions:
• Advocacy that advances policy change at all levels of government and across sectors.
• Applied research and communications that build public and political will for inclusion, justice, and broadly shared prosperity.
• Constituency and network engagement that empowers leaders to advance equity.
• Implementation capacity that connects local innovations to policy and gives people and organizations the tools and networks they need.

PolicyLink is highly disciplined in selecting the projects it undertakes and in the approach it brings to executing them. While building and managing a portfolio of initiatives that touch on a range of issues, PolicyLink aims to meaningfully advance the equity agenda—measured by real results on the ground— and each project is pursued via a well-developed set of principles and capacities that have evolved based on experience. The core elements of the approach, which have enabled PolicyLink to help deliver billions of dollars in policy victories at the local, state, and national levels for local communities, are as follows.

1. Driven by a strategic equity framework: employs a dynamic, nuanced, and multifaceted communications and research agenda that continuously defines the national equity narrative.

2. Grounded in place: develops strategies to improve people’s lives in the context of the places where they live.

3. Deals honestly and straightforwardly with issues of race: achieves equity results through an uncompromised command of the nuances of structural and overt racism.

4. Comprehensive and integrated: aggregates strategies and policies; works across sectors; and simultaneously engages community, government, and business leaders.

5. Solutions­ oriented: crafts policy based on a positive, inclusive framing that harnesses the creativity and will of diverse sectors.

6. Results­ based: grounds policy advocacy in a results framework focused on the 100 million Americans living in or near poverty.

7. Informed by disaggregated data: all policy strategies and campaigns are supported by data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, nativity, class, and gender.

8. Expands agency and power: leads with the voice, wisdom, and experience of local residents and organizations in policy development and advocacy.

9. Builds capacity: maintains a track record of building strong leaders at strong organizations by working in partnership, conducting trainings, and providing coaching and mentorship opportunities.

10. Backed by partnerships and networks: solves complex problems through strong and diverse partnerships.

PolicyLink has meaningfully contributed to advancing the national equity agenda— anchored in place, informed by disaggregated data, measured by real results on the ground, and based on a deep understanding of the nuances of structural and overt racism. Below are some examples of the PolicyLink portfolio.

• Promise Neighborhoods: Twelve communities are implementing over $800 million in programming to improve educational outcomes for 300,000 children.
• Healthy Food Financing: Delivered over $1 billion in resources to create access to healthy food in low-income communities.
Sustainable Communities: With $250 million in support, piloted the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule to ensure fair housing and create communities of opportunity.
• My Brother's Keeper: Supported the federal government and philanthropy to design and launch the nation's premier boys and men of color initiative and supported over 50 cities to advance boys and men of color programs.
• All-In Cities: Cities are resurgent, and they are the crucibles where ambitious strategies can and must be forged to grow an economy and a society that work for all. PolicyLink is facilitating efforts in twelve cities, from Pittsburgh to New Orleans to Oakland, to advance creative solutions that foster equitable growth, community revitalization, and democratic engagement.
National Equity Atlas. This online Atllas, with easily searchable economic data analyzed by race, ethnicity, nativity, and gender, has become an indispensable tool for 30,000 users as they campaign for equity-focused policy change. Released in 2014 and continually updated, the Atlas contains unique data on demographic shifts and the economic benefits of equity for the nation's 150 largest regions, all 50 states, the 100 largest cities, and the United States as a whole.
California Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. The Alliance has secured more than 100 state and local policy victories to improve the health, education, and economic prospects of the Alliance's constituents.
National Equity Summits. Every three years, PolicyLink convenes a one-of-kind national summit with over 3,000 attendees, focused explicitly on equity, creating a deep reservoir of intellectual, strategic, and innovative thought for feeding and sustaining the equity movement.

PolicyLink serves as a backbone organization for the equity movement and will mobilize its network of 100,000+ equity leaders and facilitate the process of aligning individuals and organizations in service of crafting a national “winning-on-equity” agenda. PolicyLink will lead the way in advancing a people-centered movement capable of moving equity ideas into the policy mainstream. PolicyLink and its partners will play a long game, over decades, with an eye on capturing the highest ground of American politics: law, fiscal policy, regulation, and the narrative frames of public discussion.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

PolicyLink
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

PolicyLink

Board of directors
as of 11/16/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sheri Dunn Berry

Geoffrey Canada

Harlem Children's Zone

Stewart Kwoh

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles

Joan Walsh

The Nation Magazine

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia

Brandeis University

Radhika Fox

U.S. Water Alliance

Michael McAfee

PolicyLink

Richard Baron

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/16/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data