PolicyLink is a left-of-center nonprofit organization that seeks to increase entitlement spending, increase public participation in government-controlled health care and entitlement programs, and oppose election integrity laws.
In 2018, PolicyLink received contributions from several left-of-center grantmaking organizations and community foundations. These include a $1.3 million donation from the California Endowment, $600,000 from the California Physicians Services Foundation, $185,000 from the left-wing Movement Strategy Center, and $144,703 from the American Council of Learned Societies.  PolicyLink also received smaller contributions from the Institute for Mental Health and Wellness, the Chicago Community Trust, the Milton and Charlotte R. Krammer Charitable Foundation, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, American Rivers, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Aspen Community Foundation. 
PolicyLink advocates for increased entitlement spending in housing and has pushed to impose rent controls in Oakland City Council. 
PolicyLink contributes to a joint project organization, Carson Watch, with the support of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Right to the City. Carson Watch documents federal, state, and local legislative policies related to housing and is critical of attempts to reform housing policy and reduce reliance on government-controlled housing. 
Government Food Policy
PolicyLink, along with the Food Trust and the Reinvestment Fund, successfully lobbied the Obama administration to create the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. Between 2011 and 2015, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative has issued $169 million in federal grants to increase the development of businesses that provide food and fresh produce in low-income neighborhoods, though studies have questioned the efficacy of the program. 
PolicyLink supports increased reliance on government-controlled health care and provides resources such as advocacy and organization toolkits to allow companies and organizations to lobby government officials in support of left-of-center health care policy. 
Michael McAfee, PolicyLink president, has used the COVID-19 pandemic to advocate for left-of-center economic policy, claiming in the midst of the pandemic that “mainstream media is not telling the public that people of color and indigenous people have always lived under a pandemic of racial inequality enforced through structural racism.” McAfee stated that structural change to the economy is required to overcome the pandemic, including providing direct financial support to workers and small businesses. 
PolicyLink actively pushes for increased government spending on public transportation.  PolicyLink operates the Transportation Equity Caucus, a collective of environmentalist organizations and transportation unions that advocate on a national and state level for increased government spending on public transit. Some members of the coalition, such as Smart Growth America, have received money from the American Public Transportation Association, a public-transport industry organization. 
In 2015, PolicyLink, on behalf of the Transportation Equity Caucus, authored a statement submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee that called upon Congress to “utilize new revenue to expand or improve mobility and access for underserved communities.” 
Promising Neighborhoods Institute
The Promising Neighborhoods Institute is a left-of-center policy institute operated by PolicyLink, the Harlem Children’s Zone, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The Institute advocates for increased federal funding for childhood education programs and increasing government-funded support for nonprofits that are active in childhood education and welfare policy. 
PolicyLink-Legal is the litigation arm of PolicyLink. Policy-Link Legal utilizes activist litigation to “accelerate” the organization’s policy of increasing government funding for entitlements when legislative lobbying for such outcomes proves unsuccessful. 
The organization has sued the City of San Francisco for alleged racial bias in drug arrests and has represented various community groups in negotiations with developers to form community benefit agreements. 
PolicyLink-Legal actively supports defunding the police. PolicyLink-Legal rejects policing reform and has instead provided documents and webinars to advocate for defunding and abolishing the police as a “common-sense approach” to addressing incidents of police misconduct. 
Michael McAfee is the president of PolicyLink.  Before PolicyLink, McAfee worked as a senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).