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FAQ: Core Operating Grants for State Policy Advocacy

The Alliance is changing the way it offers grants to state advocacy organizations by moving to core operating support. The Alliance values the track record, commitment, state landscape knowledge, and instinct of its state grantees, and aims to make empowering and capacity-expanding grants to them.

Grantees understandably have lots of questions about the change, and the Alliance has compiled answers to the most common ones here.

What about travel costs?

Grantees will still be required to cover their own expenses to Alliance meetings. Typically, this includes a team of 3-5 to the annual CONNECT convening, and one person per organization to a July meeting in Washington, D.C.

What do you mean by core operating? Can I spend it on anything?

Yes. “Core operating support” means that our grant will provide core operating support for a state organization’s birth-through-eight policy-advocacy work. We are not asking for a project budget or a final financial report. We aim to accelerate the strong work you are already doing. The grantee will submit an organizational budget once a year during the renewal process. For multi-issue and multi-age grantees, you must spend the grant on the state policy work you do for young children from birth through age 8.

How will you measure the success of a core operating grant?

The Alliance theory of change pursues better outcomes for children birth through age 8 by engaging in legislative and administrative advocacy, elevating antiracism strategies, and promoting equitable state coalitions/power sharing. We will be working with state grantees throughout the year to ensure they are making plans and progress in all three areas.

Why is the Alliance doing this?

The Alliance is streamlining the application process to reduce the time you spend on reporting and maximize the time you spend engaging in state-level advocacy. But also know that we believe that shifting to a core operating grant is a crucial step in operationalizing our organizational equity goals. We believe these changes make our grants more accessible to more organizations and will be central to our – and your – work to expand coalitions and share power more equitably.

Do you have more questions? Feel free to schedule some time with your Alliance Policy Director, who will be glad to talk it through.