Advocacy and Public Policy: What we do and why
The Advocacy Department educates policymakers, elected officials and the broader community about issues impacting vulnerable Marylanders and works to advance just policies and programs that create positive change in our communities. Our staff brings the issues facing vulnerable people served by Catholic Charities to state policymakers and the wider community, often arranging opportunities for policymakers to hear directly from marginalized individuals and families. We promote a greater understanding of social justice by sharing the stories of the people we serve and the lessons learned by our colleagues. The Advocacy team also develops effective advocacy strategies in coalition with our colleagues and partner organizations.
The Advocacy team has expertise and experience in working with policymakers and elected officials. During the legislative session (January – April), our efforts are concentrated on the actions of the Maryland General Assembly. We testify at legislative hearings, attend strategy meetings with coalition partners, and meet with legislative and executive officials.
Driven by Catholic Charities’ fourth value, to Work for Justice, the Advocacy department specializes in connecting staff members, volunteers, and clients with their elected officials. We build relationships between staff and policymakers by coordinating an annual Catholic Charities Day in Annapolis where Catholic Charities staff, volunteers and clients attend briefings about the legislative session and meet with legislators and their staff over lunch; by facilitating opportunities for staff and clients to testify before the general assembly; and by having legislators visit our programs that are located in their districts. These opportunities are catalysts for policy and social change.
During the interim (May – December), we are involved in a number of different advocacy and education efforts that raise awareness about the struggles faced by clients of Catholic Charities. This includes participating in government workgroups, inviting officials to visit Catholic Charities’ programs, presenting advocacy workshops and assisting our coalitions to plan conferences and briefings.