Working Families Policy Summit

This foundational building block of our Working Families Policy Project is a policy development process established to provide time and space for advocates, often from under-funded nonprofit agencies, to develop priority recommendations and prepare for the legislative session.

For each of the working families issues we address at the Summit, Project staff identify respected advocates with proven ability to engage colleagues in developing cutting edge, yet practical policy proposals.

Charged with developing a priority agenda, advocates convene meetings and reach out through e-mail to develop and refine their recommendations, which are also reviewed by Project staff. The recommendations are released at a Sacramento-based Summit, which brings together hundreds of leaders from the Legislature, Administration, nonprofit and private sectors, and local government. The 2009 Summit was held on January 13 at the Sacramento Convention Center.

For many of the issues addressed at the Summit, we also provide Summit participants with basic orientation materials: legislative histories, links to top publications, and lists of key stakeholders. Providing information is fundamental to our efforts to break down silos — helping leaders who might be expert in one issue area to become familiar with the laws, programs, and players of other working families issues.

While the Summit itself has become a Sacramento institution, it is the policy development process that the advocates count on — and use to identify, refine and distribute their policy agendas.

Since the Summit was founded in 1998, it has been held six times, with each effort receiving extraordinarily positive evaluations. Our evaluations also indicate that Summit participants also depend on the Summit to jumpstart the legislative season with high-quality proposals and information.

At the 2009 Working Families Policy Summit,

  • Twenty policy papers – the advocates’ recommendations – were released at the Summit, and are now available on the CCRWF website.
  • 620 California leaders attended all or part of the Summit, including 83 legislative members or staff.
  • 98% rated the overall Summit as excellent (67%) or good (31%).
  • 94% rated the usefulness of the recommendations as excellent (57%) or good (37%).
  • 96% rated the relevance of the Summit to the policy process as excellent (63%) or good (33%).

In 2009, we continued our partnerships with the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, the California Commission on the Status of Women, the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, the California Legislative Black Caucus, the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, and the Latino Legislative Caucus. Over 70 nonprofit organizations signed on as co-sponsors and helped reach out to more than 15,000 opinion leaders.

We were particularly honored to have the President pro Tempore of the Senate Darrell Steinberg and Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, then-incoming Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, speak at the Summit luncheon.

In summary, the Summit provides a policy development process to help state policy advocates develop and showcase their priorities; and the Summit’s materials – advocate recommendations, legislative histories, links to top publications, and lists of key stakeholders — educate leaders on the array of working families issues.