2018 Policymaker Roundtable: Jay Coburn, Andrew Gottlieb, and Pat Johnson

On Thursday, November 29, MNN co-hosted the third Policymaker Roundtable event of the year with Cotuit Center for the Arts and The Cape Cod Foundation. The Roundtable featured Jay Coburn, Chief Executive Officer of Community Development Partnership; Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director of the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod and a member of the Mashpee Board of Selectmen; and Pat Johnson, Chief of Staff for State Senator Julian Cyr. The event was held at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.

Coburn, Gottlieb, and Johnson offered their advice on how nonprofits can best approach their relationship-building with legislators and other public policy makers. “Provide clear information and never assume with any legislator what their priorities might be,” said Johnson. “Nonprofits should figure out how to present their issue in a way that shows why its important and provides solutions,” added Gottlieb.

The panel further explored the relationship between nonprofits and advocacy work, and pointed out that nonprofits may already have the tools to start engaging with lawmakers on public policy issues that impact the communities they serve. Jay Coburn used development as an example: “As with a donor, a ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no.’ It might mean, ‘not right now.’ It’s the same with legislators,” said Coburn.

MNN thanks Coburn, Gottlieb and Johnson for their insights into the role of nonprofits in public policy advocacy.

Bios of Presenters:
jay coburnJay Coburn is the CEO of Community Development Partnership (CDP). He has been an advocate, community activist and small business owner in a variety of positions over the past 27 years. When Jay joined CDP in late 2012, he brought his extensive experience in nonprofit management, public speaking, marketing and fundraising. As CEO, he oversees CDP’s programs, develops & maintains affordable housing, and supports sustainable economic development through micro-loans and business development services. Jay manages an annual budget of $3.6 million funded through government and private sector grants, individual donors, and program income while supervising a staff of 14 professionals. Prior to joining CDP, Jay worked with State Senator Dan Wolf as Co-Chair of the Campaign’s Finance Committee, Director of Community Relations for his State House Office and most recently as his Political Director. Jay serves on the Boards of Philanthropy Partners of the Cape and Islands, the Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board, and the Steering Committee of the Cape & Islands Regional Network to Prevent Homelessness. In 2015, Jay was appointed by Governor Baker to serve on the Massachusetts Rural Policy Commission. He was elected to the Truro Board of Selectmen in 2012 and re-elected in 2015. He served as Chair of the Select Board from 2013 to 2015. Jay and his spouse, John Guerra, live in Truro with their Airedales Andy & Lilly, four laying hens, and a rooster.


andrew gottliebAndrew Gottlieb is Executive Director of Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod (APCC). Andrew is responsible for determining the focus of APCC’s advocacy and educational efforts, implementing APCC’s programs, coordinating fund raising and membership activities, and the overall management of the daily operations of the organization. Andrew has more than 30 years of environmental protection experience in government and elected terms in municipal office. Andrew has extensive experience working at all levels of government, having served as a local, state and county official as well as a legislative staff person. A resident of Mashpee, Andrew is serving a fourth term on the Mashpee Board of Selectmen.


Pat JohnsonPatrick Johnson is the Chief of Staff for the Office of State Senator Julian Cyr. He has extensive experience in organizing, policy, and Cape politics. Prior to joining Senator Cyr’s staff, Pat worked for New Politics, advising Veterans and AmeriCorps alums on how to run for office. In the 2016 cycle, he served as a consultant on several successful Massachusetts races. He also worked tirelessly to elect Mr. Cyr. Previously he served as an aide to Governor Deval Patrick and Newton Mayor Setti Warren. He is a former Chairman of Governor Patrick’s Statewide Youth Council, as well as an Eagle Scout and an AmeriCorps alum. A Brewster native, Pat cut his teeth in politics at Nauset Regional High School, where he was inspired by the 2006 campaign of Deval Patrick. He holds a degree from Suffolk University.