Advocacy: Empowering leaders in the nonprofit sector

The Sunflower Foundation helps nonprofit organizations become stronger and more effective in promoting the populations they serve through its advocacy program. We believe that the best policy is made when the most voices are heard – stories from the field, from divergent experience, and from experts on the ground serving Kansans.

Empathy and sympathy are built when people understand the plights and situations of others. But it all depends on the ability to communicate, to advocate, to reach people and to tell stories with humility, to build compassion, to reach the unknowing.

It also depends on the ability to see the whole picture, to know when to speak out, form coalitions, send out an alarm, draw a line in the sand, and when to disagree respectfully and wait until tomorrow. The Sunflower Foundation believes that the voices of Kansas health nonprofits must be heard in order to create the best health policy for all Kansans, and to help the leaders of these organizations engage productively in policy discussions that affect their work.

There are three aspects to the foundation’s advocacy work:

  • Advocacy Fellowship Project: This program provides comprehensive training for nonprofit leaders.
  • Advocacy in Health Speaker Series: Our public education program promotes awareness and an understanding of nonprofit advocacy.
  • Capacity Building: A technical assistance program to help nonprofits become more engaged and effective in their advocacy work.

Policy: Making changes in systems that serve Kansans

Policies at the state level can be powerful tools to help Kansans be the healthiest they can be. Over the years, the Sunflower Foundation has provided support for grassroots campaigns that led to significant policy change.

A multi-year effort among health advocates, local coalitions and Kansans of all walks of life resulted in the passage of a clean indoor air law for virtually all workplaces across the state.

The foundation also supported a grassroots campaign that resulted in a constitutional amendment that ensured those who suffer from mental illness would never be turned away from a voting booth because of their illness.

More details can be found on Policy Contributions.

Cover photo: An aerial photo of Menninger Hill in Topeka, Kansas. The Sunflower Foundation will relocate to Menninger Hill in late 2020. Our home will be located directly south of the Tower Building (pictured in this report).