The Brett Family Foundation Case Study
Following an employer’s liquidity event, Linda Shoemaker and her husband, Steve Brett, unexpectedly came into significant financial resources. As a result, they founded the Brett Family Foundation, which Shoemaker ran as president. Based on her experience while working as an attorney and elected official, Shoemaker believed that the best way to create systemic change was through public policy. Thus, in the first year of foundation funding, she founded the Bell Policy Center, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) think tank and funded it through the family foundation. At the same time, she used personal funds to start the Bell Action Network, a sister 501(c)(4) organization. The 501(c)(4) was necessary to carry out advocacy efforts, which could not be accomplished within the legal restrictions governing 501(c)(3) organizations. These two organizations worked together to turn policy ideas into action and action into law.