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President's Recap April 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

April has been a particularly active month for SCG and our funder community! From new partnerships at the city, county, and state levels, to fruitful meetings with national leaders in Washington, DC, SCG members have been leading the way on a wide variety of crucial issues. Keep reading below for a snapshot of these exciting initiatives. And remember, you can always check our website for the latest on who’s joining SCG and other philanthropy news.

LA County and a group of SCG members have launched the first-ever Center for Strategic Public-Private Partnerships, a jointly established and funded office focused on child welfare. The office will report to the LA County Office of Child Protection (OCP), which is led by Michael Nash, Director of the County's Office of Child Protection. The Center will be co-funded by LA County and local foundations, and I am pleased to share that longtime child advocate Kate Anderson will lead The Center. She was hired with input from the Board of Supervisors, OCP, and a group of foundations led by SCG.

SCG will serve as the fiscal agent for the new Center, and thirteen local foundations have joined in co-funding this effort to date: The Ahmanson Foundation; Annenberg Foundation; Blue Shield of California Foundation; David Bohnett Foundation; California Community Foundation; The California Endowment; Community Partners; Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; The James Irvine Foundation; Liberty Hill Foundation; The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; Pritzker Foster Care Initiative; and Weingart Foundation. At SCG, we're proud to support the funder community as they step up in a truly powerful way, providing their collective support to improve the health and well-being of children in our region. For press coverage of this announcement, click here.

As part of a national effort called Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), I recently traveled to Washington, DC with SCG’s government affairs staff and a delegation of SCG members. A week-long series of events with funders from across the country, FOTH is designed to highlight the role of philanthropy in our society to advance the common good. During our visit, we sought to educate members of Congress about the impact of foundation giving in their communities, identify opportunities for partnerships, and further cement relationships with legislators in Southern California. We met with many members of Congress, including Pete Aguilar, Karen Bass, Ken Calvert, Judy Chu, Raul Ruiz, and Mark Takano, as well as senior staff from the offices of several members of the House of Representatives. This year, the SCG delegation expanded our reach by connecting with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, and the Asian Pacific American Caucus. Within the White House, we met with representatives of the Office of Urban Affairs, My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Office of the US Chief Technology Officer.

I want to thank the SCG delegation and our partners representing Northern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers for making this year’s trip such a success:

  • Regina Birdsell, President & CEO, Center for Nonprofit Management
  • Nancy Jamison, President & CEO, San Diego Grantmakers
  • Ellen LaPointe, President & CEO, Northern California Grantmakers
  • Zahirah Mann, Program Officer, United Way of Greater LA
  • Annette Ricchiazzi, Consultant, Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP)
  • Dr. Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba, President & CEO, The Community Foundation
  • Jill Black Zalben, Director, The Stanley and Joyce Black Foundation

By highlighting our achievements in innovative policy solutions, the SCG delegation helped build even stronger relationships with policymakers and equipped our government representatives with knowledge to make an impact on some of society’s most pressing problems. If you’d like to learn more about our work at FOTH or other opportunities for SCG members to engage in public policy, contact SCG’s Senior Manager of Public Policy and Government Relations, Seyron Foo.

At last month’s Public Policy Conference, funders from across the region gathered to learn how we 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. In addition to tackling how philanthropy can encourage greater public participation and attract more statewide funding to our region, we also engaged in topics relevant to a wide range of funders, including the environment, homelessness/housing, the arts, income inequality, and more. With keynotes from California State Senator Robert Hertzberg and Secretary of State  Alex Padilla, our conversations helped to shine a light on how to leverage funding for greater impact, the value of greater transparency to effect policy change, and the role philanthropy and community organizations play in implementing this work. For video recordings, key takeaways, and conference resources, click here (members only).

Our recently formed SCG Environmental Funders Group is designed to foster collaboration and share successes and challenges among current environmental funders and those interested in getting more involved in this issue. The group helped to design SCG's recent program From Sacramento to Paris: How California Helped Shape the U.N. Climate Agreement and Philanthropy's Next Move. Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, shared updates on timely issues such as the State’s Cap and Trade Program, Clean Air and Community Health, and recent actions at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Contact Program Manager Adele Lee if you are interested in joining the SCG Environmental Funders Group.

Southern California Grantmakers recently drafted a letter of opposition to Assembly Bill 2855, which was also signed by the leaders of Northern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers. On behalf of more than 600 funders statewide, we shared our belief that the bill places undue costs and burdens on nonprofits to provide their legal charitable information on all online and print materials materials through a link to the California State Attorney General’s website. In addition to the vetting and evaluation of nonprofits consistently undertaken by foundations themselves, many publicly accessible resources like GuideStar and Foundation Center provide the same information. We also noted that the bill runs counter to efforts by the Obama Administration to educate funders – both public and private – about the need to support nonprofits' indirect costs. We hope our collective voice and expertise will help to stop this bill while it is still several steps from potential passage.

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

  • Members of SCG and the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment explored Fresno’s Starting Smart & Strong Initiative and its impact on life outcomes for children.
  • SCG members joined Exponent Philanthropy for their Local Engagement Group discussion on knowing your field and your assets to maximize philanthropic impact.
  • SCG co-hosted a statewide webinar about Foundation Maps - California, our powerful new grants data mapping tool available for free to SCG, NCG, and SDG members.
  • Funders met with LA County's Department of Public Health to learn about the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and partnership opportunities to support healthy communities.
  • Funders and nonprofits gathered for a conversation hosted by Time Warner Cable on after school STEM programs and inspiring youth by using an environmental impact lens.
  • The Funders Alliance of San Bernardino & Riverside Counties, The James Irvine Foundation, and SCG partnered for a bus tour exploring education and health issues in the Inland Empire.


I hope to see you at these upcoming events:

  • Join innovative social investors, nonprofit leaders, and policymakers to experience a powerful simulation of the social services system through LIFTopolis on May 11.
  • Last chance to register for SCG's Family Philanthropy Conference on Monday, May 16, featuring GEO President Kathleen Enright, Joline Godfrey, and SCG family foundation leaders.
  • Mark your calendars for SCG's 2016 Annual Conference, which will take place at the Loews Hollywood Hotel on Monday, September 19!
  • Save the dates: our popular professional development training, Fundamentals of Effective Grantmaking, will take place October 6, 7, & 21. Registration will open August 2016.

Thank you for your leadership and participation in the SCG community, and don't forget you can get the latest updates from us on Twitter @christine_essel and @socalgrantmaker!


Christine Essel
President and CEO

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