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President's Message - May 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

The past several weeks have been full of international upheaval, including the vicious attacks in London and Manchester, Kabul, and even in Portland, as well as major shifts in the US stance on NATO and the Paris Climate Accord. During this time I had the unusual opportunity to watch some of these events unfold while traveling in Europe and Russia, and I know they struck close to home for many of our friends and family around the world. I also recognize these issues are the same ones that occupy our hearts and minds as grantmakers here in Southern California. How can we build a civil society where everyone has opportunities to thrive in peace and security?
Today, it’s more important than ever for us to work together—within and beyond the philanthropy sector—to find intersections where different strategies and focus areas can strengthen each other's work. When considering any number of issues, from global security to immigration and refugees, from poverty to the impacts of climate change, we need to see the connections across our work in order to create long-term, sustainable solutions. This is why we chose intersectionality as the theme for SCG's 2017 Annual Conference: Philanthropy at a Crossroads - Finding Intersections for Greater Impact. Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, September 26 and keep reading below for more details on the conference and other initiatives where SCG members are leading the way. You can also check our News Page for the latest on SCG and philanthropy in Southern California.


In philanthropy, many of us are grappling with how to make a tangible impact as we work to address complex problems and engage with overlapping communities, social movements, and collaborative efforts currently at play in our society. Does seeking impact mean that we need to focus narrowly, staying in our separate silos despite the true complexity of the issues we’re trying to solve? Or can we find collaborative ways to look at these challenges with a sense of untapped potential and opportunity?

Save the date for this year's Annual Conference on 9/26 in downtown LA, where we'll tackle the idea of intersectionality as a driving force for funders to unlock impact together. Explore many of the strategies and opportunities open to funders of all stripes as we work to support equitable, thriving communities in Southern California and far beyond. Join us to start making connections about how ethnicity, gender, economic background, and other factors affect vulnerable people, and how our philanthropy can become a powerful force to advance equity in the communities that need it most. Special thanks to our Gold Sponsors: Disney, Weingart Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Click here to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.


Philanthropy California, in partnership with Nonprofit Finance Fund, is excited to announce the next phase of the Full Cost Project! This initiative allows funders and grantees to better understand what it truly costs to deliver outcomes—and how to incorporate a Full Cost framework into your work. Our statewide effort grew out of exchanges across the state delivered through Philanthropy California (a collaborative effort of Northern California Grantmakers, Southern California Grantmakers, and San Diego Grantmakers). These conversations helped us to articulate the idea behind a movement that has been steadily gaining prominence in our field: by changing the way grantmakers fund nonprofits right now, we can fundamentally improve their ability to achieve our shared goals. We hope you will participate in upcoming workshops around the state (see details on SoCal programs here), and check out resources and news on our Full Cost Project website.


On the heels of our largest ever delegation to Capitol Hill, we joined with our Northern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers colleagues for Philanthropy California's first ever joint Philanthropy in the State Capitol visit. Staff and members from across our organizations gathered in Sacramento to build relationships with state legislators as well as other executive offices. During our trip, we met with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Léon, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes, Assembly Member Monique Limón (Chair, Assembly Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector), the Office of Emergency Services, and staff members from more than 15 elected offices. In these meetings, SCG members conveyed the role that funders can play as thought partners in public policy development and demonstrated how philanthropic investments can transform lives and affect systems change. We're proud to support our members in their work to inform public policy choices that have a lasting and positive impact in our communities! 

Ryan Ginard, SDG; Karen Freeman, SCG; Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba, Ford Fellows Fund; Megan Thomas, SDG; Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes; Christine Essel, SCG; Zahirah Mann, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; Seyron Foo, SCG.

Our visit to Sacramento coincided with another program on which we were proud to partner: the first ever Philanthropy and Public Policy Institute, spearheaded by the Women’s Foundation of California. SCG participants in the Institute joined funders from across the state to learn the ins and outs of policy advocacy work, meet with policymakers, and hear from advocates about on-the-ground strategies. Congratulations to the Women's Foundation of California on this highly successful event! 

Institute participants: Elizabeth Anderson, City of Santa Monica; Sachi Yoshi, East Bay Community Foundation; Elizabeth Scharetg, City of Santa Monica; Gretchen Sandler, Women’s Foundation of California; Nikki Uyen Dinh, Blue Shield of California Foundation; Elena Chavez Quezada, Walter and Elsie Haas Fund; Peggy Chang, Heising-Simons Foundation; Jamilah Bradshaw, The California Endowment; Karla Mercado, SCG; Bernadette Glenn, WHH Foundation; Tuly Martinez,SCG; Emily Katz, NCG; Sonia Gonzales, California Bar Foundation.

These are just a handful of the opportunities available for SCG members to learn about and engage in public policy. Get the latest policy news from a philanthropy perspective with SCG Legislative Updates, including a new analysis of the recommended budget for LA County.

You can also join us in July at the Forum of Regional Associations' PolicyWorks Institute, a national training taking place in San Francisco, which aims to strengthen philanthropy's policy and advocacy work. Contact Seyron Foo to learn more.


In May, SCG's 2017 Family Philanthropy Conference: Trusting Values / Navigating Disruption brought together more than 100 family philanthropy leaders to connect, build relationships, and learn from one another. The day's keynotes by Jan Jaffe and Henry Berman, as well as member-led breakouts, all reinforced a key idea: as long as we are guided by our values, we can use disruption as an opportunity to foster personal and organizational growth, consider new ideas and collaborations, or reevaluate goals and strategies. Read our key takeawayscheck out photos on Facebook, and access resources from conference sessions (members only). 

Mashanda Lazarus, Satterberg Foundation; Sylia Obagi, The Generative Group; Susan Block, JMC Philanthropic Advisors; Jeff Schaffer, The Atlas Family Foundation; Bernadette Glenn, WHH Foundation.

We are also excited to announce two special discounts for SCG members through our partnership with the National Center for Family Philanthropy. In addition to free access to monthly NCFP webinars, SCG family foundations can now take advantage of these benefits:



Here are some additional SCG events we've held in the past few weeks:

  • SCG members joined an exclusive funders' tour at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory followed by a dinner at CalTech to explore Making California’s Policies Stronger with Science.
  • SCG, the National Council of Nonprofits, CalNonprofits, and Exponent Philanthropy convened their members to learn how best to achieve Great Funder-Nonprofit Relationships.
  • SCG, SDG, and NCG members joined an interactive webinar on how new statewide data can increase equity and access to arts education across the state.
  • SCG members joined a funders' learning tour of Lancaster State Prison to explore how the Insight Garden Program builds communication and wellness while reducing recidivism rates.
  • Philanthropy California, CalNonprofits, and the League of CA Community Foundations co-hosted a webinar on the future of immigration, health care, and charitable tax policy at the federal level.



I hope to see you at these upcoming events:


Last but not least, I’d like to take a moment to congratulate our Public Policy Intern, Michelle Ito. Michelle has been contributing tremendously to the work of our public policy team since she joined us in January while completing her degree at Occidental College. She graduated last month and was selected from a highly competitive nationwide pool of applicants as a 2017-8 California Executive Fellow! Starting this fall, she will serve in offices at various levels of the state's executive branch, including the office of the governor and cabinet secretaries. In the meantime, we are fortunate that Michelle will continue working with us on policy analysis through the summer. Congratulations Michelle! 

And, as always, thank you all for engaging with our Southern California philanthropy community!

Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers


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