Promoting Cross-Sector Collaboration
Since its inception, the organization has sought to build relationships with the public sector as well as enhance the impact of individual and collaborative projects for the public good. In 1973, 11 area foundations met with Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to explore ways the city government and private philanthropy could work together.
The organization continued to support public-private partnerships in the city following the 1992 civil unrest, when the Rebuild LA Philanthropy Taskforce was created to produce a coordinated anti-poverty strategy for philanthropy. The taskforce was eventually housed under SCG—then known as Southern California Association for Philanthropy (SCAP)—and was charged with producing community-based data and developing a philanthropic initiative focused on community-based economic development, affordable housing, multicultural awareness programs and grass-roots leadership training.
The taskforce concluded that foundations needed a hands-on relationship with local communities to better assess needs and strategies. To this end, SCG served as the incubator for Los Angeles Urban Funders (LAUF) in 1996, a collaboration of 12 initial partner foundations. The collaborative committed to a five-year plan in three targeted communities, using a dual-funding system of communal funds and independent grants. LAUF's comprehensive approach to community development helped to promote community relationship-building and foundation collaborations in Southern California.
SCG has also engaged closely with the L.A. Mayor's public liaison to the philanthropic community, a new cabinet position created in 2006 to develop concrete connections to the public sector and a commitment to collaboration.
Supporting Public Policy on Behalf of Philanthropy
In 2007, SCG expanded its role in the public policy arena, when new legislation, AB 624, was introduced in the California state legislature seeking to monitor diversity-related philanthropic activities. SCG, in partnership with the state's other philanthropic associations, contributed actively to the foundation community's response. Working with the philanthropic community, SCG developed a strategy to communicate AB 624's unintended consequences and flaws to policymakers and the news media. A coalition of prominent foundations agreed to undertake voluntary adjustments in order to meet the concerns addressed in the bill, and AB 624 was voluntarily withdrawn from the California Senate.
Advancing a Stronger Sector
SCG continues to provide informative and timely programming on issues of critical importance to the field, bringing grantmakers together to network, share best practices and find new and innovative ways to meet the challenges facing our communities. Through its annual conference, seminars, publications, website, events and issue briefings, SCG connects members to policymakers, the media, the philanthropic sector and the community at large.