Our Advocacy

We do more than write checks.

We provide unique programs and opportunities to increase the capacity of nonprofits and improve the health of Middle Tennesseans. We know that population-level health improvement must focus on the impact that systems and policies have on health.

We started advocating alongside our grantees in 2019.

In 2019, we decided to use our influence to engage in advocacy alongside our grantees. This type of advocacy is an extension of our mission and previous advocacy work and came at the request of our grantees and peer groups. Engaging in advocacy allowed us to focus on the root causes of the issues that our grantees work to address via our grants program. We initially focused on expanding health care access and preventing and mitigating Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in partnership with our grantees. We continue to use their input and feedback to determine when and how we use our influence.

In 2020, we participated in national and local campaigns to encourage census participation and early voting. We also advocated for:

In 2021, we prioritized:

  • Responding to the needs of the community considering the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Increasing health care access
  • Increasing access to affordable and high-quality childcare
  • Advancing racial equity in nonprofit governance in Middle Tennessee

We advocated alongside our grantee partners for the continued support of Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative, to prioritize Restorative Practice Assistants as part of that initiative, for the inclusion of smoking quit aids in the CoverRX program, and for deferred action and work authorization to continue to be part of DACA policy.

We also joined some of our foundation peers in speaking out against political violence and violence against Asian Americans.

We do not engage in lobbying or earmark funds for lobbying.

Advocacy Training and Technical Assistance

We work to increase the capacity of our grantee partners by providing technical assistance and workshops independently and in partnership with the Center for Nonprofit Management, Community Catalyst, and the Frameworks Institute.

Policy Analysis

Our grantees told us that Tennessee needed high-quality, nonpartisan research and analysis on policies that impact the health of our community. In response to that, we committed $2.5 million over five years to launch The Sycamore Institute.

Catalyzing Collaboration

We fund and support cross-sector collaborations that address healthcare access and the prevention and mitigation of childhood experiences.  We served as the backbone organization for the Get Covered Tennessee advisory committee which included nonprofits, insurance representatives, members of the private sector, and funders representing the entire state.

Public Comments

In 2018, we submitted a comment on the proposed “public charge” rule because it runs counter to our mission and values. The change will result in delayed treatment for chronic illness, a reduction in preventative care, and increased emergency room/emergent care usage, which results in poor health outcomes. Read our comments here.

In 2019, we submitted a comment on the proposed “reporting requirements” waiver because it is harmful to our community and our grantees. This proposal will cause immense harm, jeopardize health care coverage and access for approximately 68,000 Tennesseans, and will waste $44 million. Read our comments here.

We also submitted a comment against the proposed TennCare Waiver Amendment 42 (block grant) because it gives MCOs too much flexibility and it will negatively impact the people our grantees serve, especially children and people with mental illnesses. Read our comments here.

In November 2019, we sent a letter to Governor Lee, urging him to continue the refugee resettlement program in Tennessee. Read our letter here.