NCJW State Policy Advocacy Chairs (SPAs) and the SPA Network

Who is a State Policy Advocacy chair?

An SPA, State Policy Advocacy chair, is an NCJW volunteer appointed by the president of NCJW, Inc. to be the voice of NCJW public policy issues in her state. SPAs monitor policy in their state, represent NCJW to state policy makers and in coalitions, and act as key contact on federal issues to their members of Congress. In some states, co-SPA chairs and/or vice chairs are appointed as well. Further, some SPAs establish a state- wide committee, comprised of the SPA, any vice or co-SPAs, section VPs of advocacy, and section leaders or members who are interested in advocacy.

What do SPAs do?

In this national leadership position, SPAs coordinate NCJW’s public policy efforts at the state level. NCJW’s SPA chairs are responsible for communicating regularly with sections about the latest information on state and federal legislation of concern to NCJW. SPAs also represent NCJW on state coalitions, act as resources for federal issues, and serve as general advocacy resources to sections. Additionally, an SPA may offer testimony to state legislatures on NCJW issues, endorse or oppose legislation on the state level as long as it aligns with NCJW resolutions and is cleared by the NCJW Washington Office, sign-on to amicus curiae briefs in court cases related to NCJW’s issues if prior approval is granted by NCJW, Inc., and write op-eds and letters to the editor. SPAs work closely with NCJW staff and SPA co-coordinators to bolster NCJW’s advocacy presence around the country.

At Washington Institute, SPAs often serve as the state delegation leader. All nationally appointed SPAs have full voting rights as NCJW leaders at Convention and other voting meetings of NCJW, Inc.

What is the purpose of the SPA network?

The State Policy Advocacy network plays a vital role in supporting NCJW’s mission by serving as key contacts and advocacy leaders in their state. This unique network allows NCJW to speak out and take action on state issues of concern, provides an important key contact to a state’s congressional delegation on federal legislation, and educates and mobilizes grassroots action by sections and members in the states.

What is an SPA Committee?

This group may serve as a kind of NCJW advocacy steering committee in a state, working with the SPAs on public policy issues. An SPA committee, comprised of representatives from sections in the state and other interested members, provides a link between the SPA and sections. The committee is the official statewide public policy body of NCJW, and may work in coalition or in partnership with any constituent group of a national organization with which NCJW is already affiliated on that issue (or with other groups, with prior approval of NCJW, Inc.). The SPAs chair the committee and guide its actions.

How is the work of the SPA supported financially?

SPAs are required to submit an annual budget for approval by NCJW, Inc. NCJW, Inc. has a budget line that provides some support for approved SPA activities. The SPA budget may include travel to NCJW events at which SPA training is offered.