The Inside Scoop on Issues and Policies



by Arthur I. Blaustein

Policy and Issues Analysis

This article lists organizations that provide intelligent, up-to-date information on issues and policies that may be of interest to you.

Alliance for Retired Americans

Founded by a coalition of unions and community groups, Alliance for Retired Americans focuses on issues relevant to retired people, including universal health care coverage, protecting Social Security, and gaining a prescription drug benefit for Medicare users. Established in 2001.

Contact Information

888 16th Street NW, Suite 520

Washington, DC  20006

(888) 373-6497


American Psychological Association (APA)

With the largest membership of psychologists in the world, APA works to advance the science of psychology as a benefit to human welfare. Established in 1892.

Contact Information

750 First Street NE

Washington, DC  20002-4242

(800) 374-2721


Campaign for America's Future

Campaign for America's Future seeks to further a progressive agenda that protects the economic and social rights of all citizens in the face of corporate hegemony. Established in 1996.

Contact Information

1025 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 205

Washington, DC  20036

(202) 955-5665


Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL)

COOL encourages college students to embrace activism, get involved in their communities, and become a force for social change. Established in 1984.

Contact Information

37 Temple Place, Suite 401

Boston, MA  02111

(617) 695-2665


Center for Community Change (CCC)

With a belief that poor people must lead the effort to eliminate poverty, CCC helps local organizations build their capacity to direct the futures of their communities. CCC provides support in developing strong community leadership, providing critical services, building homes, and developing business. In addition to working at a grass-roots level, CCC has been involved in passing national legislation, including the Community Reinvestment Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, both of which encourage lending in low-income and minority communities. Established in 1967.

Contact Information

1000 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Washington, DC  20007

(202) 342-0567


Center for Democratic Renewal (CDR)

CDR acts as a national hub for information on hate-group activity and violence. An outgrowth of the National Anti-Klan Network, which was the first multiracial group established to expose and counter hate-group activity, CDR provides an analytical perspective on the social, political, and criminal aspects of hate crimes and hate groups. Through research, public education, leadership training, crisis intervention, community organizing, and technical assistance, CDR has worked with hundreds of communities across the United States to help combat racism, anti-Semitism, religious intolerance, and homophobia. In 2000, CDR formed the Southern Coalition Against Racism and Bigotry (SCARAB), a coalition of southern research and advocacy organizations concerned with racism in the South. Established in 1979.

Contact Information

P.O. Box 50469

Atlanta, GA  30302

(404) 221-0025


Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

CBPP is a research and analysis organization working on public policy issues affecting low- and moderate-income populations. CBPP crunches data and produces analyses meant to be accessible and useful to lawmakers, other nonprofits, and the media. Established in 1981.

Contact Information

820 First Street NE, Suite 510

Washington, DC  20002

(202) 408-1080


Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ)

CTJ advocates for fair tax laws for ordinary citizens. They support the closing of tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy, reducing the federal debt, and adequately funding important government programs. Established in 1979.

Contact Information

1311 L Street NW  

Washington, DC  20005

(202) 626-3780


Coalition on Human Needs (CHN)

CHN is an alliance of organizations working together to promote adequate funding of social services and to ensure that the interests of low-income and vulnerable populations are represented in the national policy debate. Established in 1981.

Contact Information

1120 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 910

Washington, DC  20036

(202) 223-2532


Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)

CSH helps local organizations create supported housing options for people in need and at risk for homelessness, particularly those coping with extreme poverty, mental and/or physical illness, or addiction. Established in 1991.

Contact Information

50 Broadway, Seventeenth floor

New York, NY  10004

(212) 986-2966 ext. 500



Holding corporations accountable, CorpWatch (formerly known as the Transnational Resource and Action Center) works against corporate-led globalization through education and activism. Past efforts have included playing a role in pressuring Nike to improve the conditions in its overseas sweatshops, and co-producing radio broadcasts from the World Trade Organization meeting and protests in Seattle. A current priority is to redefine the global warming issue as a question of human rights and environmental justice. Established in 1997.

Contact Information

P.O. Box 29344

San Francisco, CA  94129

(415) 561-6568


Disability Rights Advocates (DRA)

DRA works to protect the rights of people with disabilities through research, education, and legal advocacy. Established in 1993.

Contact Information

449 15th Street, Suite 303

Oakland, CA  94612-2821

(510) 451-8644


Do Something

Do Something provides guidance, resources, support, and encouragement to young people working to better their schools, communities, and country. Established in 1993.

Contact Information

423 West 55th Street, Eighth floor

New York, NY  10019

(212) 523-1175 or


Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

EPI works to include the concerns of middle-income workers in the national  discussion on economic policy. EPI provides research and analysis on issues such as trends in wages, incomes, and prices; part-time work; welfare reform; labor market problems; the consumer price index; health care; education; Social Security; Medicare; trade and global finance; jobs and the environment; urban sprawl; and the health of the manufacturing sector, among other areas. Established in 1986.

Contact Information

1660 L Street NW, Suite 1200

Washington, DC  20036

(202) 775-8810


Families USA

Families USA is a grass-roots organization working at the local, state, and national level to achieve high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Issues of concern include Medicaid, Medicare, managed care, children's health, the uninsured, and communities of color. Established in 1982.

Contact Information

1334 G Street NW

Washington, DC  20005

(202) 628-3030


Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF)

FVPF works to educate legal and health-care professionals, as well as the public, on the prevalence and effects of domestic violence, and to assist those whose lives are affected by abuse. Established in 1980.

Contact Information

383 Rhode Island Street, Suite 304

San Francisco, CA  94103-5133

(415) 252-8900


Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)

FRAC works to reduce hunger in America through research, advocacy, education, and local program support. Established in 1970.

Contact Information

1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 540

Washington, DC  20009

(202) 986-2200


Housing Assistance Council (HAC)

HAC helps rural communities build affordable housing through loans, technical assistance, training, and education. Established in 1971.

Contact Information

1025 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 606

Washington, DC  20005

(202) 842-8600


Institute on Race and Poverty (IRP)

IRP works to increase dialogue and find solutions for communities constrained by the dual barriers of race and poverty. To that end, the institute seeks to understand race-related poverty and to improve conditions for low-income communities of color through research, advocacy, litigation, and media attention. Established in 1993.

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School, 415 Law Center

229 19th Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN  55455

(612) 625-8071


League of Women Voters of America (LWV)

An outgrowth of the suffragist movement, LWV is a nonpartisan grass-roots organization that encourages citizens to be involved and informed in the shaping of public policy. Established in 1920.

Contact Information

1730 M Street NW, Suite 1000

Washington, DC  20026-4508

(202) 429-1965


NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

Established by Thurgood Marshall, LDF has been a pioneer in public interest law focusing on education, employment, criminal justice, voting rights, housing, health care, and environmental justice issues as they relate to the African American community. Established in 1940.

Contact Information


99 Hudson Street

New York, NY  10013

(212) 219-1572 or


National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC)

NACHC provides services and technical assistance to nonprofit community, migrant, homeless, and other health-care centers across the United States. Established in 1970.

Contact Information

1330 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Suite 122

Washington, DC  20036-6300

(202) 659-8008


National Center for Bicycling and Walking (NCBW)

NCBW (founded as the Bicycle Federation of America) works to make America a better and safer place to walk and bicycle. NCBW presents informational resources and outlines actions that can be taken to improve the environment for bicycling and walking. They also maintain an Internet Support Center and organize a biennial ProBike/ProWalk Conference. Established in 1977.

Contact Information

1506 21st Street NW, Suite 200

Washington, DC  20036

(202) 463-6622


National Congress for Community Economic Development (NCCED)

NCCED is the trade association and advocate for the more than 3,600 community development corporations (CDCs) across the country. CDCs produce affordable housing and create jobs through business and commercial development activities and job training. They also support the growth of light industry and small business, and they encourage affordable housing through new construction and rehabilitation projects. CDCs are owned and controlled by the residents affected by their programs. NCCED serves the industry through public policy research and education, newsletters, other publications, training, conferences, specialized technical assistance, and fund-raising. Established in 1970.

Contact Information

1030 15th Street NW, Suite 325

Washington, DC  20005

(202) 289-9020


National Council of Churches (NCC)

NCC represents 140,000 Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox congregations across the United States working together to address issues ranging from peace and justice to poverty, racism, the environment, family, and education. Established in 1950.

Contact Information

475 Riverside Drive, Suite 880

New York, NY  10115

(212) 870-2025


National Economic Development and Law Center (NEDLC)

NEDLC is a legal and planning resource center fostering economic expansion and social empowerment in low-income communities. NEDLC provides technical assistance, training, research, advocacy, policy formulation, model project development, publishing, and legal services to community groups. Established in 1969.

Contact Information

2201 Broadway, Suite 815

Oakland, CA  94612

(510) 251-2600


National Education Association (NEA)

NEA works at the local, state, and national levels to improve the quality of teaching and learning in America's public schools. Established in 1857.

Contact Information

1201 16th Street NW

Washington, DC  20036

(202) 833-4000


National Energy Assistance Directors' Association (NEADA)

NEADA represents the state and tribal directors of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps almost five million low-income households across the country manage their heating and cooling needs. Established in 1990.

Contact Information

1615 M Street NW, Suite 800

Washington, DC  20006


National Head Start Association (NHSA)

NHSA is a membership organization supporting 2,400 local Head Start programs across the country (which serve almost one million children nationwide). Head Start is a comprehensive child development program serving low-income children from birth to age 5. Established in 1965.

Contact Information

1651 Prince Street

Alexandria, VA  22314

(703) 739-0875


National Neighborhood Coalition (NNC)

NNC serves as an information center, networking resource, and advocate in Washington, DC for neighborhoods and community-based organizations across the country. Established in 1979.

Contact Information

1030 15th Street NW, Suite 325

Washington, DC  20005

(202) 408-8553


Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

NRDC won the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1971 and has been working to ensure a clean and safe environment ever since. With the support of more than half a million members, NRDC works on a wide range of green issues, including the protection of our air, water, wetlands, green spaces, and natural resources; investment in alternative energy sources; and research into environmental health threats. Established in 1970.

Contact Information

40 West 20th Street, Eleventh floor

New York, NY  10011

(212) 727-2700


Ploughshares Fund

Ploughshares Fund contributes money to a wide range of innovative programs-scientific research to media advocacy, lobbying, grass-roots organizing, and education-working toward goals of peace, demilitarization, and nuclear disarmament. Established in 1981.

Contact Information

Fort Mason Center, Building B, Suite 330

San Francisco, CA  94123

(415) 775-2244



PolicyLink is a national nonprofit research, communications, capacity-building, and advocacy organization that seeks to enlarge the sphere of influence that affects policy so that community-based organizations are central to the search for solutions. PolicyLink's work is rooted in partnerships with community-building practitioners, national organizations, and others committed to advancing economic and social equity. Established in 1999.

Contact Information

101 Broadway

Oakland, CA  94607

(510) 663-2333


Population Action International (PAI)

PAI works to provide girls and women around the world with access to family planning and related health services. PAI seeks to influence U.S. and international policy on population issues and to establish connections between reproductive health, population growth, development, and the environment. Established in 1965.

Contact Information

1300 19th Street NW, Second floor

Washington, DC  20036

(202) 557-3400


Public Education Network (PEN)

PEN is an association of local education funds working toward public school reform in low-income communities across the country. PEN's goal is to ensure that every child has access to high-quality public education. To that end, the network advocates for a number of issues, including changes in school funding, reevaluation of curriculum and assessment practices, ensuring authority at the school level, ensuring teacher quality at every school, and engaging communities with their local schools. Established in 1983.

Contact Information

601 Thirteenth Street NW, Suite 900 North

Washington, DC  20005

(202) 628-7460


U.S. Action

A national alliance of progressive and grass-roots organizations, U.S. Action seeks to build political muscle behind progressive values and issues. Established in 1999.

Contact Information

1341 G Street NW, Tenth floor

Washington, DC  20005

(202) 661-0216


World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

WWF works to protect endangered species and endangered spaces through a wide range of methods, from strengthening local parks to influencing global environmental policies. Established in 1961.

Contact Information

1250 24th Street NW

P.O. Box 97180

Washington, DC  20090-7180

(202) 293-4800


From Make a Difference, Your Guide to Volunteering and Community Service. Copyright 2002 by Arthur I. Blaustein. Excerpted by arrangement with Heyday Books. $10.95. Available in local bookstores or click here.