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President's Blog: A Message on the 2020 Elections

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Hello SCG Community,


As much as we had hoped for a decisive outcome in the presidential race, it’s not a surprise for us to wake up this morning without one. Elections are high-stakes moments with long-term implications. The 2020 elections have been more uncertain and challenging than most due to a worsening pandemic and a divisive political climate. We are proud of how our sector has mobilized to advocate for issues vital to our California’s future, promote civic engagement, and protect our democratic processes. 


Democracy means every vote counts.

As state officials across the country work tirelessly to ensure that every single vote is counted, we strongly condemn false claims of a final result of the presidential race. As we continue to wait for the outcomes of ballot measures and elected positions, the SCG team urges you to be kind to yourself and engage in beneficial wellness practices. We must remain resolute and hopeful and be prepared to take action in the days ahead of us. 

Our partners and governmental officials are confident that fair and accurate results will emerge but have made it clear that we might not know the results for days or weeks after the elections. The pandemic has resulted in millions of votes cast by mail instead of in-person and different states have varying counting timelines. With hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count and key states too close to call, getting every vote counted is crucial. 

We also urge you to remain vigilant and be ready to speak out against any attempts to suppress or weaken people’s voices. If significant challenges emerge, we are prepared to advocate for voter rights and support our members and partners in protecting our democratic processes.


Last night wasn’t just about the presidential election. 

Beyond the presidential race, the 2020 elections are important and consequential for a plethora of national, state, and local candidates and issues on the ballots, which will profoundly affect all Americans. For now, we would like to elevate the leadership of women across the country, in addition to having a woman of color Vice President nominee

  • Record numbers of Native American women, Black women, Latinx women, and LGBTQ people who ran for offices in 2020.
  • Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter organizer, became the first Black congresswoman from Missouri. 
  • In Delaware, Sarah McBride made history as the first transgender woman elected to a state senate. 
  • According to the U.S. Elections Project, more than 10.5 million Californians voted early, which is 72% of the total voter turnout in 2016. Our state is part of a historic surge in turnout across the country, with 88% of eligible Californians registered to vote. 


Whatever happens, we will keep fighting for an equitable and thriving society. 

We still have a tremendous amount of work to do in confronting the pandemic and systemic racism. Our local and state elections’ outcomes will have a more direct impact on California’s philanthropic work. We must remain agile and adaptable. We must continue advocating for our democracy and the issues important to the communities that we serve. As we face the uncertainty and possibilities of a new political term, SCG commits to continue mobilizing our sector to take bold actions in ensuring equitable opportunities for every Californian to thrive.

It is crucial that we all take care of ourselves and each other in the coming days. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need a community to lean on. You will always have a partner in SCG. 
In solidarity and hope.


Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers


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