Public policy-focused groups join forces, get new name after merger
By Laurie Liles
The two groups charged with developing public policy positions for the nonprofit and philanthropic sector are now one, following the Aug. 1 merger of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum.
The newly named Arizona Nonprofits + Grantmakers Policy Council brought together members of the Alliance Nonprofit Policy Council and the Arizona Grantmakers Public Policy Committee. The integrated council has more than 150 members, is led by its chair Penny Allee Taylor and co-vice chairs Marcus Johnson and Lisa Lumbard and held its first combined meeting on Sept. 9. Taylor and Lumbard were chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Alliance Policy Council and Johnson chaired the Arizona Grantmakers Public Policy Committee.
As the Alliance’s chief public officer—a new position created with the merger—I will staff the council with support from other Alliance team members. I’ll also continue to build relationships with and support our grantmaking members as vice president, Arizona Grantmakers Forum.
The merger set the stage for more effective collaborations among nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, including in the public policy arena. We aim to strengthen relationships with policymakers, be a key partner with the business community and speak with a clear, unified voice on public policy issues that affect our sector and the people and communities we serve.
Among our first collaborative projects is integrating the previously separate public policy framework and guidelines and developing a 2023 public policy agenda for the merged organization. That work is well underway with a group of policy council member volunteers and our goal is to present the framework and policy agenda to the Alliance board of directors for approval in December.
The Arizona Nonprofits + Grantmakers Policy Council is an advisory group composed of individuals interested in public policy and advocacy for Arizona’s nonprofit and philanthropic sector.
Participation is open to members of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits. While the council primarily includes professionals who work in or for a nonprofit organization, other members include public affairs professionals or public policy experts who support the sector.
Our goal is to have a policy council that accurately reflects and represents our diverse nonprofit community in Arizona.
Laurie joined the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits following its merger with Arizona Grantmakers Forum in 2022. As chief public policy officer, she is responsible for developing and executing the Alliance’s public policy agenda and engagement strategy. An active member of the senior leadership team, Laurie leads Arizona Grantmakers Forum, bringing vision and strategic thinking to advance its full integration with the Alliance.
Laurie was president and CEO of Arizona Grantmakers Forum for seven years, providing strategic leadership and creating and sustaining relationships with aligned philanthropic, nonprofit and community partners. Before joining Arizona Grantmakers in 2015, Laurie worked to improve policy outcomes for Arizonans for more than 25 years. She began her career as a research analyst for the Arizona House of Representatives before joining the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, where she served as senior vice president of public affairs and as president and CEO, among other roles. In 2014, Laurie was a Washington, D.C. correspondent for Cronkite News, producing more than 30 stories covering politics, immigration and Indian affairs for Arizona news media outlets.
Laurie has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Mass Communication degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She serves on the United Philanthropy Forum board of directors and co-chairs its Public Policy Committee.
A native of the Southwest, Laurie grew up in Tempe, Arizona.