Women’s Policy Institute Fellowship

Our WPI Fellowship is a 40-hour experiential training for individuals who want to build their skills in state-level public policy advocacy and leadership.

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Who We Are

Women’s Foundation of Alabama

Founded in 1996, Women’s Foundation of Alabama proudly holds the space as our region and state’s first public women’s foundation. Driven by the core understanding that when women advance entire communities advance with them, we identify solutions, fund change, and shape public policy to eliminate barriers and create economic opportunities for women and their families.

Since our inception, we have invested more than $5.8 million into the community across a range of organizations from housing and violence against women all the way to postsecondary training. For the last seven years, in partnership with the Aspen Institute, our core investment strategy has focused on creating, funding, and implementing two-generation approaches for women and their families to lead more economically secure lives.  In that time, we have consistently sharpened our funding strategy to connect community colleges, social service agencies, early education providers, and other community partners that serve whole families, center workforce development, and build a stronger economy for us all. To date this body of work has resulted in economic success of more than 5,000 women and their children and is being scaled across the state.

And yet, too many women and their families continue to experience complex social conditions that philanthropy alone cannot address. In order to have a more holistic impact, Women’s Foundation of Alabama made a deliberate shift into state-level advocacy to intentionally pursue public policies that create long-lasting, systemic change for women. The release of The Women’s Fund’s Agenda for Women in 2019, represented an intentional step off the sidelines and into the world of public policy, welcoming the charge of building power and influence to represent the voice of women at all levels of state policy and decision-making. Since then, we have secured three legislative victories including passage of Alabama’s first equal pay statute, The Clarke-Figures Equal Pay Act, and appropriations in state budgets totaling $1.5 million to scale two-generation programming that connects women with a post-secondary education and the critical wraparound supports necessary for success such as child care and transportation and to fund for the first time ever Alabama’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee.

To catalyze and grow our policy success, we have created the Women’s Policy Institute (WPI), a community-led, women-centered strategy for building grassroots leadership and community power that is intersectional and multi-issue. WPI will bridge the gap between the legislative process and Alabama’s diverse communities by recruiting, training, and supporting current and new women leaders, equipping them with knowledge, guidance and access in order to fully engage in all aspects of state-level public policy.

The Women’s Policy Institute Fellowship

The WPI Fellowship is a 40-hour experiential learning curriculum designed to train community-based leaders in Alabama in public policy advocacy. The goal of WPI is to increase the number and capacity of visionary leaders, their organizations and/or their communities so that they can actively shape and work to implement policies that impact the lives of women in Alabama.

Over the course of the curriculum, mentors, trainers, and experts in policy work will cover, in detail, the legislative process in Alabama, the issues affecting women, advocacy campaign planning, and strategies for movement building. WPI Fellows will have the unique opportunity to learn real-world policy skills and develop critical solutions to address the needs and barriers facing women across a variety of issues, including workforce participation, healthcare, child care, and more.

Alabama women make up 52% of the state’s population and represent an essential demographic, key to the future prosperity of our state and every corner of the globe. Women in Alabama, though overwhelmingly strong and resilient, face immense barriers that can only be assuaged by shifting power dynamics, public policy advocacy, and systems change.  The leadership and voices of women are critical in these discussions, processes, and seats at the table.

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