Apr. 4, 2016 10:33 am

Here’s how PennFuture is tweaking its focus

It's not a "shift," per se, but the advocacy organization will be focusing on providing the average citizen with an entry point for engagement with environmental policy.

PennFuture and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania are uniting.

(Photo by Flickr user Mark Dixon, used under a Creative Commons license)

A few weeks ago, PennFuture‘s newsletter contained an ominous heads up warning of some “changes” in the way the advocacy organization “looks and communicates on a variety of issues.”

“You can expect the same action and attention to critical environmental policy issues with a renewed emphasis on what citizens like you are doing and can do to move Pennsylvania forward,” the newsletter read.

The changes mentioned in the email reference a refocusing of sorts happening in the way the statewide organization pushes good environmental policy.

“We are wrapping up a strategic planning process and changing some of our focus to become more constituent-oriented,” said the organization’s communications director, Lauren Fraley. Fraley added that PennFuture’s current constituency consists mostly of policymakers and “grasstop leaders” — staffers and directors at other environmental organizations — that know the organization well from their work in the policy and legal sphere.

Now, PennFuture is working to become more constituent-focused and to provide an entry point for the average citizen in hopes of helping people wrap their heads around state environmental policy and how it impacts issues and everyday life, Fraley said.

"We know people certainly still matter."
Lauren Fraley

“It’s more and more evident that that’s necessary,” Fraley said. “There’s certainly a significant amount of money in the political process, and that can be what we’re often up against — big industry and special interests. But we know people certainly still matter.”

Grassroots and citizen activists, Fraley said, are most effective when they can coalesce around a certain issue or candidate.

PennFuture’s new strategy will also involve localizing issues.

“Philadelphia’s a title city. If we think of climate change on this massive [global] scale, there certainly are going to be changes to the landscape in many of our communities and Philadelphia is one great example of that,” Fraley said. “It’s taking those big, big issues that seem far away and bringing them local and closer to home.”


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