Page updated: Nov. 2019
Our founder, Ewing Kauffman, believed every problem was solvable if people worked together. He also aspired for his Foundation to be a collaborative partner in catalyzing innovative solutions that have lasting impact. To that end, the Kauffman Foundation’s interactions with the public sector are intended to further the scalability and sustainability of its work in Education, Entrepreneurship, and the Kansas City community.
This policy statement outlines the Foundation’s approach to working with the public sector, including how it ensures compliance, manages risk, and maintains high-quality standards.
The Foundation practices a wide range of activities to educate lawmakers and advocate on issues important to its mission, as long as the activity doesn’t attempt to influence a particular piece of legislation. These activities include providing information and training for others to use in their advocacy. The Foundation also funds organizations that lobby as long as the money is not directed to support lobbying activities. The Foundation champions issues up to the point they become either adopted by a candidate for office or political party as an official position and/or introduced as legislation. These approaches are intended to protect the Foundation against any appearance of impermissible lobbying or support for an individual elected official, candidate, or political party.
Public policy interactions are conducted with honor, integrity, and in compliance with applicable law. Specifically, our policy work, the work of vendors on our behalf, and related communications are at all times nonpartisan, non-ideological, and grounded in objective research and evidence.
The Foundation is prohibited from lobbying except in very narrow cases including self-defense to protect the Foundation’s right to exist, powers and duties, and tax-exempt status. The Foundation cannot fund direct or grassroots lobbying activities, nor can it engage in political campaign activity for or against candidates for office.
The Foundation’s Public Affairs department is the owner of the public policy approach. Working directly with the Legal team, and in partnership with program areas, Public Affairs trains associates and serves as the central location for vendor management, message development, development and/or approval of materials, and outreach activities necessary to support Foundation priorities within its legal parameters.
Nearly every program strategy in Education, Entrepreneurship, and KC Civic has some level of government interaction. Public policy strategies developed internally or with grantees/vendors are initiated only in furtherance of programmatic goals.