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Grantees from the two rounds were asked to reflect on the grant process and share advice for those who continue this type of work. The following compiles this advice into 3 topics: community engagement, internal capacity building, and partnership building. 



  • Community engagement is always needed. Though there is a desire to move quickly to accomplish ambitious goals, progress must be achieved with residents leading the vision. 

  • Storytelling humanizes the people who use streets. It shares different perspectives and voices, and brings resources to the table. Collecting and preparing stories to publish is often overlooked because it takes a lot of work, so plan accordingly and don’t skimp on it.  

  • Remote/digital engagement also takes a lot of work. It requires supportive partners who are familiar with their communities.  

  • Take time to meet people where they’re at. While a virtual survey can be helpful, nothing could replace conversations with people on the street. 

  • Attending one large festival and having the resources and materials to engage so many people at one event saved significant time that otherwise would have been used to identify and attend many smaller events to reach the same number of people. 

  • Partnering with a trusted community partner is key for reaching community members. They can be a solid base-building force as the backbone of larger civic engagement and issue campaigns. 

  • Expanding the advocacy base to include more impacted communities - especially communities of color - requires focusing on relationship-building between people leading the effort and community leaders. It is important to make the time to listen and have conversations about specific priorities before providing education and training. 

  • Investing in quality translation services is essential for ensuring community voices are heard by officials, the media, and English-speaking partner groups. 

  • It is worth putting the time and effort into developing websites and social media presence to be able to communicate with people more effectively online.


  • Hiring outreach workers on stipends for shorter periods of time is ideal for 8-12 weeks of work. This way, it doesn’t feel rushed and people can confidently commit the time. 

  • To grow and serve more people, nonprofit organizations need what any consumer-facing organization needs: for more people to know about it. A well-funded, well-designed campaign can bring in substantial numbers of new participants. 

  • It is important to organize campaigns during a period of overlapping crisis (health, racial, social) that optimize specific strengths, connect with local needs, and empower residents to be advocates. 

  • Utilize data to drive forward impactful advocacy. Investing in data and research operations can strengthened an organization’s role as a thought leader and can enable them to step up as a community resource for other advocates. 

  • Traditionally white and well-resourced organizations can’t rush people past the healing and urgent community work that needs to happen on-the-ground. The trust-building process leads to the best long-term outcomes. Invest in transformational, not transactional relationships. 


  • Small non-profits have limited capacity that can make it hard or impossible to do things they want to do and/or are offered funding to do. Small Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) have trouble increasing capacity to respond to new opportunities. 

  • Scheduling that works for everyone can be a challenge. To deal with this, pick a day and time that works for your organization, but structure the meeting so individuals can join at any time without being lost, and post a recording at the end. 

  • Effectively building a broad-based coalition can influence political will during a major period of political transition. A key to a campaign’s success is a robust lineup of listening sessions, voter polling, meetings with elected officials, intersectional coalition partner engagement, and the creation of multimedia advocacy resources. 

  • While a lot of people are curious about alternatives to existing transportation challenges, many don’t have a lot of ideas about what those alternatives look like. More work needs to be done to educate people about the alternatives and how to create community-based solutions. 

  • Eliciting leadership commitments from elected officials and cooperation from City government helps build advocacy work into existing initiatives and implement proposed outcomes sooner. 

  • Success is bolstered by extensive campaign planning and pre-existing relationships among coalition members that were built well before the award. 

  • There is a choice between working in partnership with government officials or acting independently and pushing from the outside. Use a hybrid approach. Give officials notice prior to rallies and report releases, but only meet with local elected and transportation officials after generating media and public attention.  

  • Relational work always takes longer than anticipated. Policy and systems change work is long-term, people/partner dependent, and requires significant coordination and collaboration.  

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