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Service-Providing Nonprofits Working in Coalition to Advocate for Policy Change

Abstract: Nonprofit organizations that primarily provide social or health services can play an important role in policy advocacy, as indicated by recent research. Less is known about how and why they participate in policy advocacy, and concerns remain that their advocacy is overly self-interested. This case study of an urban immigrant health policy advocacy coalition made up primarily of service-providing nonprofits in New York City suggests that (a) service-providing nonprofits’ insights as daily case-level advocates for their clients generate unique contributions to policy change agendas, particularly at the policy implementation level rather than at the legislative level; (b) these organizations do not necessarily see a conflict between their organizational survival imperatives and social change objectives, nor between case-level and higher level advocacy; and (c) a coalition structure, leadership by an experienced advocacy organization, and dedicated foundation funding can elevate case advocacy concerns into a higher level and more sustained advocacy agenda.
Keywords: nonprofits / service providing / policy / survival / coalition / structure / advocacy / advocates / primarily / agendas

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