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Looking Ahead to SCG’S 2021 Policy Work

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

By David J. Carroll 

As determined by most American voters, the incoming administration will be led by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, alongside a new Congress comprised of a record number of 141 women, 51 of which identity as women of color. However, our federal government is likely to remain split with a narrow Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and a Senate composition determined by Georgia's runoff election in January 2021. This election cycle has exposed our country’s deep division, and continued political tensions as millions of Americans remain skeptical of the election results. In contrast, others demand a peaceful transition of power. 

As the United Philanthropy Forum declared in their recent letter to the philanthropic sector, funders have an essential role in rebuilding our democratic systems and values’ strength and credibility. Moreover, philanthropy is responsible for ensuring that our communities always have access to the democratic process. As we look toward a new administration and Congress, our sector must intentionally set policy and advocacy agendas that center equity in 2021. We must work to close the gap between communities and politicians to ensure that our public-private partnerships and efforts work in the service of the communities most affected by systemic injustice. Below, you will find three intentions the SCG Policy team will carry into our policy efforts in 2021 to better serve our communities most impacted by systemic injustice.



In 2020, the SCG policy network took bold stances in response to federal actions, racial justice, and multiple crises. This year, we joined 506 philanthropic leaders to demand that the Census Bureau not cut the 2020 Census short, stood together with our state’s philanthropic organizations for a just and inclusive California, urged Congress to Include urgent nonprofit policy priorities in COVID-19 Legislation, and co-wrote a statement with GCIR in response to Trump Administration’s memorandum to remove undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census. As we navigated an uncertain and tumultuous election cycle, we championed civic participation and access and ensured that funders had the election resources and information needed to engage in advocacy efforts. As the election results became clear, we signed on to letters advocating for a stronger civic community nationwide and the appointment of women of color to fill the vacant Senate seat previously held by Kamala Harris. 

As we move to reconcile the country and meet our most vulnerable communities’ needs, we have an opportunity to build upon the actions we’ve taken this year and sustain the momentum that we acquired this election season. Our collective responsibility will be to continue imagining and advocating for a better future for our communities, rather than a return to the normality that left many marginalized.



This year, Californians voted on several ballot measures that will significantly impact our communities and philanthropy’s work in the new year. For example, voters chose to restore voting rights to individuals on parole and passed Measure J to amend the county budget to reinvest resources into community-led restorative justice initiatives. The SCG Policy Team has already begun to breakdown the results of the ballot measures and their potential impact on our sector’s policy and grantmaking efforts in 2021. Our team looks forward to monitoring these ballot measures as they take into effect and providing the SCG network with further opportunities for advocacy and civic engagement. 



With the election results in mind, we are committed to helping our sector continue partnering with public leaders and institutions to address pressing systemic problems. We should strive to be a part of the legislative and budgetary processes to help influence, partner, and work alongside the government to address these disparities. To help our members build new relationships with public and civic leaders, we are excited to announce the dates for next year’s Foundations on the Hill and our 2021 SCG Public Policy Conference. At both of these multi-day events, SCG members will have an opportunity to meet with congress members, policymakers from the Executive Branch, and national stakeholders to discuss philanthropy-related policy issues and opportunities. 

This is just the beginning of the policy and advocacy opportunities available to us in 2021. We look forward to partnering with all of you to push our sector forward. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or ideas at [email protected]


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