10 monthly sessions (Nine via Zoom and one in-person session)

Dates: September 19, October 17, November 14, December 12, 2023 and January 16, February 20, March 19, April 16, May 14, June 11, 2024 

Event Description

2023 – 2024 Rural Advocacy Cohort

Cohort Facilitator
Phillip Kennedy-Wong, Director of Public Policy, NAO

We know that successful advocacy requires building community and coalitions across shared policy goals and objectives. We also know that rural voices deserve to be heard by our legislators and rural communities need to have a seat at the advocacy table. Rural nonprofits are invited to join NAO to participate in a no cost 10-month cohort designed to teach nonprofit leaders how to effectively plan, create, and organize public policy campaigns.  

In this interactive, hands-on cohort participants will:

  • Gain knowledge of IRS lobbying rights and limitations
  • Build and create an organizational framework to launch an advocacy program that includes developing public policy guidelines and principles, policy initiatives, and a public policy campaign 
  • Learn more about Oregon’s state legislative process 
  • Collaborate, community-build, and learn from other rural nonprofit leaders

Additional Guidelines

  • 501c3 nonprofit leaders from organizations that serve rural constituents or are based in rural Oregon are eligible to participate in these sessions
  • This cohort is defining rural by using The Ford Family Foundation’s criteria which is not adjacent to a metro area and less than 35,000 residents 
  • Participants make a commitment to attend all sessions so we can collectively work together and build a network of support
  • Limit is 15 individuals per cohort with no more than two representatives from one organization
  • There is no-cost to participate

For more information and to apply to participate, please email Phillip Kennedy-Wong at Phillip will set-up short phone calls with interested participants for an informal conversation to learn more about your organization as well as any advocacy goals you may or may not yet have. 


Session 1

 9/19/23 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PST  Why Advocacy? 

Session 2

10/17/23 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST Advocacy 101: Lobbying Rights & Restrictions 

Session 3

11/14/23 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST Advocacy 201: Effective Strategies & Tools

Session 4

12/12/23 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST  Using Public Policy Guidelines & Principles

Session 5

1/16/24 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. PST  Developing Your Public Policy Initiatives
Session 6 2/20/24 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST Reviewing Your Public Policy Initiatives
Session 7  3/19/24 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. PST Understanding How Salem Works
Session 8 4/16/24 (in-person, half-day session
– time and location to be announced soon)
Developing Your Public Policy Campaign
Session 9  5/14/24 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST Reviewing Public Policy Campaign
Session 10 6/11/24 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST Developing A Network for the Long Term

NAO is committed to creating inclusive learning environments and providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Automatic closed captioning via Zoom is turned on by default for all NAO virtual sessions. For other accommodation requests, please contact us at Advanced notice of at least 10 days is appreciated.

About the Cohort Facilitator

Phillip Kennedy-Wong, Public Policy Director, Nonprofit Association of Oregon 

Phillip Kennedy-Wong is a public policy professional with over 20 years of experience lobbying at the state, local, and federal levels. He has worked for several nonprofit organizations throughout his career and served on nonprofit boards. He brings a strong foundation and understanding of the nonprofit sector including operations, board management, fundraising, programing, and tax law. 

Phillip brings a perspective that is not shared by many public policy professionals in Oregon: lived experience as a person of color and a child of immigrants that informs his work in this profession. His parents had no formal education, spoke very little English, raised his autistic brother, worked hard in low-skilled, low-wage jobs all their lives so their children could pursue a better life. As the result of their sacrifices, he was blessed to be the first in his family to go to college, pursue enriching life experiences including military service and graduate school; build a career as a successful, senior level professional public policy advocate and give back to his community. 

Phillip served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves while earning a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Lewis and Clark College. Upon graduating, he went to work right away as a field organizer on a political campaign during the 1992 presidential election. Getting the political bug, he proceeded to earn a Master of Science in public policy from Rutgers University and has never looked back in his public service career. Phillip lives in Portland with his wife, two daughters, and two cats. 

Thank You Funder

 The Ford Family Foundation



For more information and to apply to participate, please email Phillip Kennedy-Wong at



September 19th, 2023 11:30 AM to June 11th, 2024 1:00 PM
Event Particulars
City Online learning
NAO Event? Yes
Topic Advocacy and Public Policy
Event Region Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Metropolitan Portland, North Coast, Northern Willamette Valley, South Coast, Southern Oregon, Southern Willamette Valley
Programmatic Approach Thought Leadership, Voice