Back to top

2015 Public Policy Conference

Monday, April 13, 2015
8:00am - 3:00pm PDT
Center for Healthy Communities
1000 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members: $0.00
Non-Members: $250.00
Add to Calendar


This year’s Public Policy Conference will focus on “Engaging Communities to Amplify Philanthropic Impact.”

  • Participant roster
  • Draft conference agenda
  • Speaker bios
  • Explore how building civic engagement into your philanthropy can help your grantees become more effective advocates for the issues and communities you care about.
  • Gain tools and hear proven examples of ways to leverage your grantmaking to mobilize grassroots community support, change hearts and minds, and reform policies to achieve long-term change in Southern California and beyond.


Hilda L. Solis (@HildaSolis)
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis was sworn in as Los Angeles County Supervisor for the First District of Los Angeles County in December 2014. Prior to becoming Supervisor she served as Secretary of Labor, the first Latina to serve in the United States Cabinet. Before that, Solis represented the 32nd Congressional District in California, a position she held from 2001 to 2009. In the Congress, her priorities included expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the lives of working families. In 2007, Solis was elected Vice Chair of the Helsinki Commission’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions—the only U.S. elected official to serve on this Committee. Supervisor Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues. She holds an MPA from the University of Southern California. A former federal employee, she worked in the Carter White House Office of Hispanic Affairs and with the Office of Management and Budget in the Civil Rights Division.



Austin Beutner
Publisher and CEO
The Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles Times Media Group

Austin Beutner oversees the Los Angeles Times Media Group’s diverse portfolio of businesses, including The Los Angeles Times, its digital properties and numerous local publications. He joined the company in 2014, and serves as the 14th Publisher in the 132-year history of The Times. Beutner was Co-Founder of Evercore Partners and helped build the company into a leading independent investment bank. In 2010, Beutner accepted a $1 annual salary to serve as First Deputy Mayor and Jobs Czar for the City of Los Angeles, where he oversaw the policy and operations of 13 city departments ranging from the Los Angeles World Airports, the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, to the Departments of Planning, Building and Safety, and Housing and Homeless. He currently serves as Board Chairman of The Broad Stage and the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation; on the boards of CalArts, The California Nature Conservancy, the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, the Pacific Council on International Relations, and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation; and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2012, he created Vision To Learn, a nonprofit that provides free eyeglasses to children in low-income communities in California.


Starting from the issues that are most important to you and your target communities, how can community engagement be part of your grantmaking toolbox? In this panel, we’ll learn about what funders can and can’t do – and how to deliberately deploy the strategies of community engagement to mobilize people for deep systemic impact. Panelists will also disucss the challenges and implications low voter turnout has on Southern California and how philanthropy can work to reverse this trend.

  • Nan Aron (@NanAron), President of Alliance for Justice (@AFJustice)
  • Efrain Escobedo, Vice President of Civic Engagement and Public Policy, California Community Foundation (@CalFund)
  • John Kim, Executive Director, Advancement Project, California Office (@AP_California)
  • Christine Margiotta (@ChristineMarge), Vice President of Community Investment, United Way of Greater Los Angeles (@LAUnitedWay)
  • Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein (@SonensheinPBI), Executive Director, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. (@PBI)


In this dynamic conversation, explore why civic participation is a key ingredient in creating systemic change for impoverished communities, and how we can support partnerships across issue, race, and geographic lines that create greater impact for low-income populations. Cathy Cha, lead convener of the California Civic Engagement Funders, will moderate a panel of leaders whose work exemplifies smart collective impact through unusual partnerships, organizing across race lines, and engaging young people for civic participation.

  • Cathy Cha, Lead Convener, California Civic Participation Funders, and Program Director for Immigrant Rights and Integration, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund (@HaasJrFund)
  • Maria Brenes, Executive Director, Inner City Struggle (@ICSEastLA)
  • Reverend Sam Casey, Executive Director, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement
  • Mary Anne Foo, Executive Director, Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance (@OCAPICA97)
  • Marcos Vargas, Executive Director, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (@CAUSE_NOW)



Advocacy: The Do's and Dont's for Foundations
Rose Chan, Of Counsel, Rodriguez Horii Choi & Cafferata
William Choi, Partner, Rodriguez Horii Choi & Cafferata
There are specific definitions and rules that should frame any advocacy efforts your foundation undertakes. What is the difference between lobbying and political campaigning? What advocacy can you do and how much can you do? How do the lobbying regulations apply to private foundations versus public charities? Explore these questions and others through discussions of hypothetical scenarios your foundation might encounter.

Corporate Philanthropy Breakout
Ruben Gonzalez (@RubzG3), Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Political Affairs, LA Area Chamber of Commerce (@LAAreaChamber)
The corporate philanthropy sector is often hesitant about getting involved in advocacy with legislators, the public, or employees, even on issues they support through grantee partners. How can a corporation know when it’s okay to engage in advocacy? When is it legal to encourage employees to get involved in civic engagement or advocacy work? Explore examples of how the corporate sector can participate in legal, effective advocacy and civic engagement efforts, including recent work in support of Proposition 47. You’ll also hear perspectives from your corporate colleagues and get an update about the education investment mapping project that was proposed at SCG’s corporate breakout session last year.

Movement Building 101
Jennifer Ito
, Program Manager, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, USC
Learn why and how grassroots organizing and movement building can be part of philanthropic investments to achieve long-term social and policy change in Southern California and beyond.

A Deeper Dive with Conference Speakers
Join small table discussions with a selection of speakers from the day’s panels to get in-depth on some of the issues that inspired you or sparked more questions!


Attorneys from the Alliance for Justice Bolder Advocacy initiative will be available throughout the day to provide consultations on the rules of foundation and nonprofit participation in advocacy around public policy and elections. (Note: AFJ will provide resources and guidance for informational purposes only. Consultations do not create an attorney-client relationship.)


Presenting Sponsor:


Silver Sponsors:





Bronze Sponsor:

Committee Sponsor:



>> Sponsorship Opportunities Available!  


#PublicPolicy #SCGEvents


SCG Members: Free
Eligible Non-Members: $250

Who May Attend:
Current SCG members and other grantmakers eligible for membership. For eligibility requirements, click here.

This event is sold out! For questions, contact [email protected]

Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions
Event type