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Announcing Philanthropy California

Friday, January 6, 2017

Our state’s three philanthropy regional associations—Northern California Grantmakers (NCG), San Diego Grantmakers (SDG), and Southern California Grantmakers (SCG)—are delighted to officially announce our joint initiative, Philanthropy California. Together, we are collaborating more closely to establish:

  • A stronger statewide philanthropic presence that bridges geographic and organizational boundaries and diverse interests among funders

  • A united voice for public policy issues affecting philanthropy

  • Improved opportunities for learning and collaboration

  • The ability to engage a broader range of stakeholders

  • Streamlined support for nonprofits and philanthropy

Years in the making, Philanthropy CA is an idea whose time has finally come!

The Stars Aligned and the Work Began

Over the years, our three associations have worked with one another on individual projects and programs, but the time and resources required to develop a strategic approach for statewide collaboration seemed out of reach.

When NCG and SCG brought on new CEOs within a year of each other who both had board support for a statewide alliance, the work to bring our networks together was primed to begin. 

A core group of members undertook this effort, developing a vision for statewide collaboration and a set of strategic priorities to guide our collective work.

Over the last year, we’ve begun implementing our plan to achieve these shared goals, guided by a steering committee comprised of the CEO’s and representative board members from all three associations with support from consultants at The Giving Practice.

What We’re Doing as Philanthropy CA

  • Collaborative programming with national affinity group Grantmakers for Effective Organizations to combine our deep regional expertise with their knowledge of national best practices.

  • Leading a statewide project to increase the number of grantmakers committed to funding all aspects of a nonprofit’s operations.

  • Joint advocacy on statewide legislative bills and actions impacting nonprofits and philanthropy. Together we: 
    • Supported AB 1348 to establish a federal grants administrator in governor’s office. The bill was signed into law by the governor in late September.
    • Supported a request to state legislative leaders to create a Joint Committee on the Nonprofit Sector (initiated by CalNonprofits). Discussions continue as the new legislative session recently re-started on December 5, 2016.

    • Opposed AB 2955 (Frazier), the “Nonprofit Warning Label Bill,” which would have imposed overly burdensome nonprofit regulations and perpetuated the overhead myth. The bill died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee due to our combined advocacy efforts.

  • Consolidated support for finance and human resource management at each organization, under the leadership of Karen Freeman, who now serves a dual role as SCG Vice President of Operations and Government Relations as well as Chief Administrative Officer of Philanthropy CA. Jimmy Tang has also recently been hired as an Associate to support this work.

  • Coordinated statewide communications to ensure a more prominent statewide voice for the philanthropic sector on matters of shared concern.

What’s Next & How to Get Involved

There’s much more for Philanthropy CA to do over the long haul. We remain committed to the belief that by aligning our regional networks’ deep local expertise and connections, we can increase philanthropy’s impact in building and sustaining thriving, equitable communities; and we can be a powerful force for change on issues that affect us all, here in California and far beyond.

We invite you, our collective members, to help us move Philanthropy CA forward with your ideas and involvement. We’re interested to hear your thoughts and look forward to seeing the ways this momentum will carry all of us.

We welcome feedback to any of us individually or to the group through Philanthropy CA's Chief Administrative Officer, Karen Freeman


Ellen LaPointe
President and CEO
Northern California Grantmakers
Nancy Jamison
President and CEO
San Diego Grantmakers      
Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers