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Public Policy Conference 2016

Monday, April 4, 2016
8:00am - 3:00pm PDT
Center for Healthy Communities
1000 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members: $0.00
Non-Members: $250.00
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Public-Philanthropic Partnerships: Strategies to Kickstart Policy, Align Resources, and Scale Change


"My foundation serves the same population as several public agencies. Is there an effective way to partner with government without getting stuck in the bureaucracy?"

"I want to create sustainable change, not simply replace government funding. Can my investment support long-term solutions to the issues I care about?"

"Our annual giving is so small compared to public spending. Is our money just a drop in the bucket?"

Join us at SCG's 2016 Public Policy Conference to learn how philanthropy can leverage and spur public investments, identify opportunities for policy change, and better coordinate how philanthropy and government work together to address complex community challenges. The conference will also address how philanthropy can leverage the upcoming election to encourage greater public participation and attract more statewide funding to our region. We will address topics relevant to a wide range of funders, including the environment, homelessness/housing, voter participation, and more.


8:00 am Registration and Networking Breakfast

8:30 am Welcome: Wendy Garen, President and CEO, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, and Chair, Board of Directors, Southern California Grantmakers and Christine Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers

9:00 am Opening Keynote: Hon. Robert Hertzberg, California State Senator

9:30 am Panel Discussion: Demystifying Public-Philanthropic Partnerships

10:30 am Break

10:45 am  Keynote and Interview: Hon. Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State. Interviewed by Efrain Escobedo, Vice President, Civic Engagement and Public Policy, California Community Foundation

11:30 am Afternoon Breakout Sneak Preview

11:45 am Lunch (three lunch session options)  

1:00 pm Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Artful Collaborations: City, County, and State Partnerships in the Arts

Environmental Justice: Opportunities and Lessons for Advocacy and Grantmaking

The Housing Affordability Crisis: How Public-Private Partnerships Can Catalyze Development

The LA Wage Theft Campaign: Taking on Income Inequality through Community, Public, and Philanthropic Partnerships

2:30 Networking Break: Sundaes on the Plaza

3:00 Adjourn

Opening Keynote

Senator Robert Hertzberg (@hertzieLA)

Join us for our opening keynote with California State Senator Robert Hertzberg. Senator Hertzberg, a former Assembly Speaker and current Chair of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, will draw from his extensive experience in the legislature to address the current funding landscape and opportunities for philanthropic collaboration in Sacramento. The Senator will offer insight into ways philanthropy can work with state officials to attract public investment to the greater Southern California region.

Keynote and Interview

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla

Join us for a conversation with the Honorable Alex Padilla (@Alexpadilla4CA), California Secretary of State, who will share his efforts to increase voter registration/participation and strengthen voter rights. He'll also discuss how collaboration with nonprofit and philanthropic partners is central to these initiatives.

Padilla previously served in the State Senate (2006-2014) and as President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a non-partisan organization of 6,000+ federal, state, and local officials dedicated to all aspects of civic engagement.

Efrain Escobedo, California Community Foundation

After his opening remarks, Secretary Padilla will be interviewed by Efrain Escobedo, Vice President, Civic Engagement and Public Policy, California Community Foundation (@calfund), about opportunities to promote greater civic participation in California and philanthropy's role in catalyzing reforms and initiatives through multi-sector partnerships. This frank conversation will shine a light on how to leverage funding for greater impact, the value of greater transparency to effect policy change, and the role community organizations play in implementing this work.

Featured Panel: Demystifying Public-Philanthropic Partnerships

Elise Buik, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles

Dr. Mitchell Katz, Director, LA County Health Agency

Joe Lumarda, SVP, Capital Group and Trustee, The California Wellness Foundation


Mary Odell, President, UniHeath Foundation

Miguel Santana, LA City Administrator


This panel of philanthropic and public leaders will share their learnings from times they worked together to address key issues, support disadvantaged communities, and create systems change.  Public leaders will talk about some of the statutory and cultural challenges they face as government officials and offer insight about how they can more effectively partner with philanthropy. Philanthropic leaders will share key take-aways from previous partnership engagements, and suggest how philanthropy can leverage its funding for greater impact.  Finally, panelists will discuss how businesses and community groups can enhance these partnerships, further maximizing the opportunity for long-term, systemic impact.

Lunch Options

Corporate Luncheon
Join small table discussions with your corporate colleagues to network, pose questions and ideas to your peers, and hear unique perspectives on the issues that matter most to you and your company.

Demo of Foundation Maps: California
Learn about our powerful new data tool, Foundation Maps - California, available exclusively to members of SCG, NCG, and SDG. This new platform allows you to leverage current and detailed grants data to find natural collaborators, scan your funding landscape and even identify funding gaps. Foundation Center's Amanda Dillon will walk us through the different ways you can easily map complex statewide grants data and develop strategies for incorporating grants data into your work.

Small Group Conversations
Join small table discussions with your funder colleagues from SCG’s eight-county membership region to hear unique perspectives on the issues that matter most to you and your organization.



Artful Collaborations: City, County, and State Partnerships in the Arts
California communities are fueled by more creative people, industries, and investments than anywhere else. But, creating systemic policy change in the arts requires philanthropy and government to break down silos and build innovative partnerships. We’ll explore lessons learned from three such partnerships: CURRENT:LA Public Art Biennial, Arts for All Pooled Fund, and createCA.

  • Moderator: Craig Watson, Director, California Arts Council

  • Danielle Brazell, General Manager, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

  • Denise Grande, Director of Arts Education, Los Angeles County Arts Commission

  • Donn Harris, Chair, California Arts Council

  • John McGuirk, Program Director, Performing Arts Program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

  • Malia Simonds, Arts Program & Special Projects, Bloomberg Philanthropies

  • Matty Wilder, Senior Program Officer, The Herb Alpert Foundation


The Housing Affordability Crisis: How Public-Private Partnerships Can Catalyze Development
According to the Census Bureau, the rental vacancy rate for metropolitan Los Angeles was 2.7 percent in the last quarter of 2015. This and other factors have led to SoCal communities having some of the highest poverty and homelessness rates in the country. In this breakout, we'll explore causes and effects of the housing affordability crisis, as well as one example of a successful partnership that catalyzed development by increasing access to loan funding and investing in organizational capacity.

  • Dr. Raphael Bostic, Director, Bedrosian Center on Governance and Professor, Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California

  • Ann Sewill, Vice President, Housing and Economic Opportunity, California Community Foundation

  • Carlos VanNatter, Director, Section 8 Housing, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles


The LA Wage Theft Campaign: Taking on Income Inequality Through Community, Public, and Philanthropic Partnerships
This session will take you through the story of the recent landmark LA Wage Theft Campaign and the cross-sector collaboration between community organizers, government, and philanthropy that helped make it possible. In a candid conversation, leaders from the campaign will share the opportunities that led to victory as well as strategies that could be replicated in communities across the state.

  • Moderator: Margarita Ramirez, Deputy Director, Grantmaking, Liberty Hill Foundation

  • Kathy Hoang, Director, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles (ROC-LA)

  • John Reamer, Jr., Inspector of Public Works - Bureau Director, City of Los Angeles

  • Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, Director, Los Angeles Black Worker Center

  • Alexandra Suh, Executive Director, Koreatown Immigrant Worker Alliance


Environmental Justice: Opportunities and Lessons for Advocacy and Grantmaking
Our low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by environmental health hazards. Climate change, pollution from trucks and trains moving goods from ports, freeway traffic, and homes near toxic waste and drilling sites are just a few of the issues that funders can tackle.  We'll hear examples of funders working with government and community organizations—through advocacy and grantmaking—to support environmental justice efforts.

  • Moderator: Ron Milam, Coordinator, LA Funders’ Collaborative (for Smart Growth and Livable Communities)

  • Ken Chawkins, Business and Public Policy Manager, Southern California Gas Company

  • Jenny Chheang, Program Manager, The California Endowment

  • Michele Prichard, Director of Common Agenda, Liberty Hill Foundation

  • Ellah Ronen, Program Administrator for LA n Sync, Annenberg Foundation

  • Daniela Simunovic, Environmental Health and Justice Program Manager, Liberty Hill Foundation


Presenting Sponsor:



Gold Sponsor:

Silver Sponsors:




Bronze Sponsors:




Committee Sponsors:


See the list of last year’s conference sponsors here!





SCG members (as well as SDG and NCG members): no cost to participate
Eligible non-members: $250

Who May Attend:
Current SCG members and grantmakers eligible for SCG membership.

SCG members: register online (you must log in to your SCG account to register).
Non-members: register online (if you do not yet have an SCG account, contact us at [email protected]).