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To date, 277 participants and 684 programs have completed the ALC!

Arrow What is the Advocacy Learning Center?

Whether we work with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking or stalking, advocates share the same vision: an end to gender-based violence.

Praxis’s Advocacy Learning Center (ALC) shares this vision. The goal of the Advocacy Learning Center is to strengthen the core activities used by advocates working to end all forms of gender-based violence.

The ALC provides a rare opportunity for advocates to come together, connect, and learn from each other.

The ALC reshapes and revitalizes advocacy programs with the short-term goal of improving our response to the women and survivors who turn to us for help, and the long-term goal of ending gender-based violence.

Class U of the Advocacy Learning Center is an 17-month experiential, virtual course created to examine the vision, identify the principles, expand the knowledge, and practice the skills that make advocacy a powerful force in the gender-based violence movement.

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Working with other advocates, participants develop new ways to define and structure advocacy, from engaging and working with survivors to strategizing and acting to change systems and community responses.

The ALC curriculum presents conceptual frameworks and theoretical foundations that can strengthen the application of advocacy in any setting.

The Advocacy Learning Center curriculum includes 3 content components:

1. Advocacy Frameworks
These conceptual frameworks are useful in defining and structuring all advocacy efforts to end gender-based violence.

The Core Activities of Advocacy
The central feature of the course curriculum is an advocacy framework that can be used to define, structure, and evaluate advocacy work. Whether working directly with survivors, creating systems change, or organizing in our communities, advocacy is characterized by six core activities—connecting, understanding, analyzing, strategizing, implementing, and adapting.

The framework that these activities provide distinguishes advocacy work from other fields, such as psychology, social work, and law, all of which greatly influence advocacy but are distinct from it. By examining each activity and learning the particular skills, knowledge, principles, and qualities necessary to carry out the activity, we can improve both our advocacy practice and the philosophical approach that it is built upon.

Identifying How Institutions Function and How Systems Can Be Changed
Course participants will learn to recognize problematic characteristics typical of institutions that process large numbers of cases of gender-based violence. Advocates can be more effective in systems change work if they know how to identify institutional features that maintain the status quo. The ALC also teaches the methods institutions use to shape how their workers act on cases relevant to women’s/survivor’s experience and needs. Changing problematic institutional practice requires changing these methods.

2. Advocacy Foundations
This component of the ALC presents theories and philosophical approaches fundamental to ending gender-based violence. Course participants examine the scope of the problem, place advocacy in a historical and global context, and connect the everyday practices of advocacy to the wider movement to end gender-based violence and to other social change movements.

3. Advocacy Applied
Front-line advocates acquire transferable skills and develop qualities necessary to apply the knowledge, principles, and tools they gain through the Advocacy Learning Center. Participating program managers and directors learn how to restructure and change operations in their organizations to support front-line staff as they apply the knowledge, frameworks, and new advocacy skills they have learned.

 Who is it for?

Teams of 2-3 advocates from independent, community-based advocacy organizations, tribal advocacy programs, campus programs or transitional housing programs receiving funds from the federal Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) as well as community-based advocacy partners of OVW-funded projects and sub-grantees of state STOP funds. Advocates working in government-based victim assistance programs may be selected by a local advocacy program to participate on their program’s team, e.g. prosecution or law enforcement victim assistants. A limited number of non-grantee advocacy programs may also be selected. We also reserve a limited number of spaces for tribal, state, territory and national coalitions and groups that are OVW-funded.

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OVW grant programs include:

  • Consolidated Grant Program to Address Children and Youth Experiencing Domestic and Sexual Assault and Engage Men and Boys as Allies,
  • Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Program,
  • Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders Program,
  • Grants to Enhance Culturally Specific Services for Victims of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence,  and Stalking Program,
  • Grants for Outreach and Services to Underserved Populations,
  • Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program,
  • Grants to Support Families in the Justice System,
  • Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program,
  • Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Assistance Program,
  • Sexual Assault Services Culturally Specific Program,
  • Training and Services to End Violence Against Women with Disabilities Grant Program,
  • Transitional Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking, or Sexual Assault Program,
  • Tribal Governments Program, and
  • Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program.

Not sure if this describes your program? Contact us. We’ll help you determine whether the Advocacy Learning Center fits your organization.

Here is a list of ALC program graduates from around the country:

PDF icon Class List A-S July 2019

arrow How does it work?

Program teams including both management and front-line staff will move through the course together in a class. These team members then work with their organization’s staff, volunteers, and board members to consider and try new ways of doing advocacy.

arrow What about the cost?

The course and all materials are free. A strong internet connection is necessary, as well as a webcam. You will contribute staff time. Show More

Once selected for the Advocacy Learning Center, we will discuss any scholarship needs you may have, and we will work with you to determine if federal Office on Violence Against Women set-aside training funds are available to cover your expenses. We ask programs to use OVW set-aside training funds whenever possible so the Learning Center can also be available to advocacy programs who do not receive OVW funds.

We do not want costs to prevent any advocacy program from applying. Contact us with any questions you may have about costs.

For more information about costs see What is Required webpage.

arrow Class Events

Your team will need to participate in all of the following:

  • Introductory webinars
  • In-person trainings on individual advocacy and community advocacy
  • In-person regional gathering
  • Eight virtual webinar sessions
  • Online independent study course and required reading
  • Graduation webinar

arrow What about accessibility?

We value making the Advocacy Learning Center accessible to all participants and will strive to ensure that our trainings are as accessible as possible.

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Upon selection, team members will be asked to complete an accessibility survey to determine your specific accessibility needs. We will make every effort to offer an environment that allows you to fully participate in Advocacy Learning Center activities. For example, ASL and other spoken language interpreters will be made available upon request. We will seek to provide closed captioning, supply braille and large-print materials, and address other needs upon request.

arrow Interested? Let’s talk!

We’re happy to talk with advocacy programs about this opportunity. Call Praxis at 651-699-8000, or e-mail:

This project is supported by grant #15JOVW-22-GK-04028-MUMU awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Comments from
past trainings:
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This has changed us so dramatically in every discussion, everything we have done and now will be doing.

February 23, 2016

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I wish I could re-do my last five years of advocacy.

February 23, 2016

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Life-changing... definitely gives a new way to examine systems and the way in which we do advocacy.

February 23, 2016

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The ALC combines key concepts critical to victim services and systems advocacy that are not available anywhere else.

February 23, 2016

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"As advocates, we claimed the role of articulating the needs of women to the system, not the reverse."

April 28, 2016

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“We have done significant self-reflection through this journey and as a result we have become even more survivor-centered and have reignited our passion. We have the tools we need to succeed and continue to improve our advocacy to better serve survivors in our community.”

January 10, 2019

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“I found the experience to be extremely valuable and wish that all advocacy programs could participate.”

January 10, 2019

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“As advocates, we became more effective and confident in working with our partners to be voices for social change.”

January 10, 2019

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“I feel strongly that this course brought me to a place of understanding of social justice on both a micro and macro level. My thinking has expanded and my advocacy practice has improved.”

January 10, 2019

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Quote from Ellen Pence, founding director
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"As advocates, we claimed the role of articulating the needs of women to the system, not the reverse."

April 28, 2016