PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works. Founded in 1999, PolicyLink connects the work of people on the ground to the creation of sustainable communities of opportunity that allow everyone to participate and prosper. Such communities offer access to quality jobs, affordable housing, good schools, transportation, and the benefits of healthy food and physical activity.
Guided by the belief that those closest to the nation’s challenges are central to finding solutions, PolicyLink relies on the wisdom, voice, and experience of local residents and organizations. Lifting Up What Works is our way of focusing attention on how people are working successfully to use local, state, and federal policy to create conditions that benefit everyone, especially people in low-income communities and communities of color. We share our findings and analysis through our publications, website and online tools, convenings, national summits, and in briefings with national and local policymakers.
Our work is grounded in the conviction that equity – just and fair inclusion – must drive all policy decisions.
For over a decade, PolicyLink has been working to advance infrastructure and climate equity policy in California. Through our advocacy, we are working to ensure that the 14 million Californians who are at or near the poverty level, live in healthy communities of opportunity- neighborhoods that provide residents with the basic infrastructure and services that support healthy, active lives, connect them to education, opportunity and services, and allow them to live free from pollution and other environmental harms. Working with partners from across California we have shaped state infrastructure funding programs to ensure that they better serve low income communities and communities of color, we have improved local planning processes to address the water and wastewater needs of disadvantaged unincorporated communities, and we have passed policies that strengthen environmental protection and oversight for our state's most vulnerable communities.
For over six years, PolicyLink worked to shape and implement the federal Sustainable Communities Initiative, providing technical assistance to help 73 regions plan for and implement equity within green infrastructure, water, housing, workforce, and transit systems, and with $250 million in support, piloted the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule to create healthy communities of opportunity for millions of people of color.
Currently, PolicyLink is in the process of engaging in more nationally-focused water equity initiatives; partnering with the US Water Alliance, Clean Water for All Campaign, and various other partners to improve federal water infrastructure investments and ensure water safety and affordability, with a focus on low income communities of color. PolicyLink is also engaged in planning and organizing a national water equity caucus that can represent a shared set of principles, goals, strategies, activities and results that will enable these low-income communities and communities of color to act powerfully together within this shifting national policy context to drive more equitable outcomes for communities facing water and climate justice vulnerabilities.
Communities of Color