2021 marked the launch of IECF’s Office of Policy & Engagement. The objective of the Office is to address inequities in the Inland Empire by creating greater policy capacity in the region through collaboration, by uplifting community-based organizations and their ideas, and by amplifying a greater voice and influence on policymakers and the region’s major institutions.

In January 2023, the Office rolled out its inaugural Policy Agenda for the 2023-24 Legislative Calendar. Among a room full of policymakers and nonprofit peers, IECF showcased equity-focused priority areas, along with specific goals, to help increase the quality of life for our regional community. Those areas include:

• Education Equity
• Inclusive Economic Development
• Housing
• Health 
• Climate and Environment

In addition to presentations by IECF staff members Julian Cuevas, Director of Policy and Engagement and Michael Wiafe, Government and Community Relations Fellow, a panel discussion covered various elements of organizing and advancing policy for the Inland Empire. Moderated by Jacob Mejia, IECF Policy Committee Chair and VP of Public and External Affairs for Pechanga Development Corporation, the panelists included Sky Allen, Executive Director, IE United; Khieem Jackson, Founder, Mission Strategy Group; and Daniel Peeden, District Director, Assemblymember Corey Jackson.

Topics included: collaboration in a complicated region and through a legislative effort for shared goals and priorities; advocating for the region through a budget deficit during a recession; and different types of roles that contribute to getting bills passed and signed. The conversation was robust and included an array of perspectives by organizations who have been engaging in the policy process as well as those who are interested in learning more.

Guests received a copy of the 2023 Policy Agenda, which is available for download here.

In February, IECF held its inaugural Advocacy Day in Sacramento. Our delegation included IECF Board President Nefertiti Long, board member Paulette Brown-Hinds, President & CEO Michelle Decker, Director of Policy & Governmental Affairs Julian Cuevas and Governmental & Community Relations Fellow Michal Wiafe.

Our visit was focused on formally introducing our organization to the Sacramento community, highlighting our new policy agenda, and initiating a dialogue on matters that are important to the Inland Empire. We capped off our visit with a reception that brought together elected officials, agencies, and policy experts, giving us an opportunity to network and engage with people influencing the policies that directly impact our communities.

Increasing the Inland Empire’s footprint in Sacramento (and Washington, DC) is critical to facilitating short and long-term investments needed for the region. We look forward to our continued work in promoting the IE’s priorities while advocating for our communities!

Save the date for our 3rd Annual Policy & Engagement Forum  – August 9-10 at the Riverside Convention Center! Details coming soon!

We’re striving to achieve long-term and sustainable outcomes for the well-being of our region. IECF is committed to collaborative work with partners, community members and organizations that seek a just, fair, prosperous, and inclusive life for all. If our work is of interest to you, please sign up for our monthly eNewsletter, Philanthropy Matters, to stay up-to-date on our efforts made possible by the power of philanthropy.

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