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October 23, 2009

Often times, philanthropy requires patience. We can research an issue, develop a policy framework, plan an education and awareness strategy, activate our advocates, and build our coalition of partners. It can take years to build a credible presence in a certain subject area, but it isn’t always easy to move an issue to the front burner.

Then, the governor of your state is arrested and removed from office, and suddenly the public is looking for guidance and information on campaign finance reform.
At Joyce, we have spent many years supporting honest and fair government practices throughout the Great Lakes region. Openness and accountability in our elected officials is key to our democracy. These issues – and the experts who work on them – are well-known to us. So, when a political scandal broke as it did in Illinois, our grantees were prepared to offer concrete solutions to correct unfair practices in the state capital.
What began as a direct response to an alleged act of political corruption has grown into a grassroots movement to alter age-old practices in the statehouse. An initial small group of concerned citizens subsequently recruited a large coalition of business and public interest leaders. They have been traveling the state to push for campaign finance reform measures.

Philanthropy’s long term investments – our patient capital – may take time to bear fruit, but the returns can be an exciting and meaningful contribution to a public policy debate.
Thursday’s post: Improving Census Data.
Wednesday’s post: The Problem of Youth Violence.
Tuesday’s post: Designing Efforts and Charting Courses of Action.
Monday’s post: Reasons for Optimism.

Ellen S. Alberding