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President's Recap August 2016

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

As summer draws to a close, SCG's membership and staff have been participating in a number of exciting conversations and events—both here in Southern California and well beyond. I also wanted to share with you how honored I am to be receiving the Southern California Leader of the Year award at the Southern California Leadership Network Visionaries Awards on December 8. I believe this recognition is a reflection of the growing strength of our network, including the leadership and guidance of our Board, the dedication of the SCG staff, and the innovative work that all of you in the SoCal philanthropy community are bringing to the field.

Please continue reading for more details on our upcoming Annual Conference as well as our recent corporate reception and other promising initiatives. You can also visit our News Page to get regular updates on SCG and our members. 

We're thrilled to announce that we have reached capacity for our 2016 Annual Conference on September 19 with well over 500 confirmed attendees - so we are officially SOLD OUT! If you are a conference sponsor and haven’t registered all your guests yet, please contact Amanda Byrd to make arrangements. This year's conference is packed with dynamic sessions, many of which were designed in partnership with leading national organizations, including Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, the Health and Environmental Funders Network, Nonprofit Finance Fund, and more. 

Visit our multimedia conference site to get details on our incredible lineup of speakers, sessions, and special performances, including a spoken word/musical performance by Bryonn Bain and an exclusive sneak preview of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA presented by the Getty Foundation. 

In August, SCG's corporate members gathered for our fourth annual corporate reception in downtown Los Angeles. This year we were pleased to also welcome members of LA Community Leaders to our summer gathering. The reception was a wonderful opportunity for everyone who attended to network with colleagues and also honor our dear friend Carl Ballton, retired President and COO of Union Bank Foundation. Carl served as SCG Board Chair when the organization was going through a tremendous transition and I was just beginning my time as President. Since then I have been fortunate to witness Carl's admirable leadership in the philanthropy sector, including his personal dedication to serving as an advisor and mentor, especially to those in the corporate world. I was thrilled to present him with SCG's Heart of Philanthropy award on behalf of our entire funder community. 

During the reception, SCG Board Member Deidre Lind, President of the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, also presented Carl with a commendation from Mayor Garcetti in recognition of his decades of service to our region. Special thanks to our Board Member, Dave Porges of Grant Thornton LLP, for joining me in acknowledging Carl and for helping us plan this special evening on behalf of the SCG Corporate Leadership Council!

SCG’s Public Policy Team traveled to Chicago to join regional philanthropy associations and state associations of nonprofits from over 35 states for the first ever Joint Policy Institute, hosted by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the National Council for Nonprofits. The Joint Policy Institute focused on state and local policy issues impacting both philanthropy and nonprofits, and highlighted strategies to take collaborative action to advance the work of both sectors.

SCG’s Public Policy team (Karen Freeman, Seyron Foo, and Karla Mercado) co-facilitated several conversations, including a western states discussion on opportunities for collaboration and a workshop on how to advance "Real Cost" efforts for government reimbursements of indirect costs when federal dollars are involved. This deep-dive on how to implement federal rules related to nonprofit costs is closely aligned with SCG’s work to build a healthy, sustainable nonprofit sector. Jan Masaoka and Nancy Berlin of CalNonprofits and Emily Katz of Northern California Grantmakers also added their leadership voices to important conversations at the Institute. 

As noted above, many SCG grantmakers have been exploring what it takes to fund the real costs of the organizations they support—that is, all of the necessary investments for a nonprofit to deliver on mission and be sustainable over the long-term. SCG is partnering with Northern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers for this joint statewide effort—the Real Cost Project—to increase the impact of philanthropy across California.

Designed as a multi-phase learning initiative, the Real Cost Project is exploring how best to support funders in developing new grantmaking practices based on what it really costs for nonprofits to deliver outcomes. Through research, regional convenings, and senior level executive briefings, the project is identifying strategies for funders to overcome institutional and sector-wide barriers and move from awareness to action.

Take a look at the report on Phase One of The Real Cost Project to get recommendations, next steps, and action items for your organization. Stay tuned for more on Phase Two of this initiative!

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


I hope to see you at these upcoming events:

Thank you as always for your interest in the SCG community, and please be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.


Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers

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