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President's Recap January 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

SCG is off to an exciting start in 2016, with members of our community leading and participating in an incredible variety of programs and initiatives throughout Southern California. We are also beginning the year with two new members on the SCG Board of Directors: Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba, President and CEO of The Community Foundation (which primarily serves Riverside and San Bernardino Counties) and Vicky Rogers, President of The Rose Hills Foundation, which serves Southern California with a current emphasis on LA County. We're thrilled to have you, Jonathan and Vicky!
Please join me in welcoming all the new members who have joined over the past quarter:
All Ways Up Foundation
Bank of the West
Blair Cobb (Consultant)
Garrett Devine (Consultant)
Direct Relief
Ashley Lautzenhiser (Consultant)
The Ann Peppers Foundation
The Tatkin Family

We know that the opportunity to build strong relationships within the funder community is a central value of SCG membership. So, this year we'll be sending a quarterly update just for SCG members to introduce you to your newest colleagues and share a snapshot of their funding focus areas. And, as always, we encourage you to take advantage of our members only online directory to find and reach out to your fellow SCG colleagues! Keep an eye out for our first update, coming soon.
Registration is now open for SCG's 2016 Public Policy Conference, which will focus on the intersection of philanthropy and government. We're excited to announce our first featured speaker, State Senator Robert Hertzberg, former Assembly Speaker and a current California State Senator representing nearly one million residents of the San Fernando Valley.
Together, we’ll explore how philanthropy can leverage and spur public investments, identify opportunities for policy change, and better coordinate how philanthropy and government work together to address the complex challenges facing our communities. We’ll also address how philanthropy can leverage the upcoming election to encourage greater public participation and attract more statewide funding to our region. We will address topics relevant to a wide range of funders, including child welfare, criminal justice reform, the environment, homelessness/housing, voter participation, and more.
The conference is free for current SCG members. Special thanks to our presenting sponsor Bank of America, and our early sponsors: Archstone Foundation; Bank of the West; Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; and The California Wellness Foundation. Contact Amanda Byrd for additional sponsorship opportunities, or click here to register now.
In collaboration with the Health Funders Partnership of Orange County, SCG members joined The Real Orange County bus tour for an unparalleled look into the changing demographics of Orange County and the current state of safety net services in the region. Orange County is an economically and ethnically diverse community with significant challenges; almost 25% of residents live in poverty, second only to Los Angeles (at 27%)  among surrounding counties. During the tour, participants got an inside look into nonprofits and foundations in Orange County who are collaborating to focus resources on the needs of their most vulnerable populations. Click here for program resources (members only).
This month, SCG members joined a national funder webinar on the launch of the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a comprehensive resource of best practices and innovative approaches to guide the philanthropic community in responding to future disasters. Created by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, the Playbook is designed as an interactive online magazine and “evergreen” resource to be continually updated and enhanced. The Playbook currently highlights the innovative work of several SCG members, including Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, and Community Partners.
The  Playbook also highlights the critical role a regional association of grantmakers (RA) like SCG can play when a disaster strikes. We track and quickly share how philanthropy is responding to a disaster so that funders can complement, rather than duplicate, what their colleagues are doing. An RA also serves as a clearinghouse of information and resources and as a convener to help funders and community partners work together on short-term response and long-term recovery. The Playbook is a powerful tool for Southern California funders and stakeholders to think through and plan ahead for how to respond during a disaster in our region. Learn more and customize your own Disaster Philanthropy Playbook here.
This month, SCG Vice President of Programs and Strategic Initiatives Dave Sheldon and I had the opportunity to attend the Clinton Foundation 2016 Health Matters Annual Activation Summit, taking place in Indian Wells, California. At this yearly convening, global leaders from a variety of health fields come together to identify strategies for systemic health improvement and ways to implement those strategies.

Dr. Peter Long of the Blue Shield of California Foundation (left) speaks at the Clinton Foundation Health Summit.

SCG member Peter Long, President and CEO of the Blue Shield of California Foundation, spoke on a panel about Decoding the How of Scanning Health Solutions. Leaders from many SCG member organizations attended, including Regional Access Project Foundation, Fundamental, The Community Foundation, and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The Summit was incredibly thought-provoking and provided a unique opportunity to learn from and connect with the inspiring leaders of NGOs, corporations, and government agencies that are part of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative.
Here are some quick updates from other SCG events we've held in the last few weeks:
  • SCG members and the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment joined a briefing on LA County's proposed legislation for a child care voucher for foster families.
  • A group of SCG members participated in Heart of Philanthropy, a two-day retreat for philanthropy leaders created in partnership with San Diego Grantmakers and Leading from Within.
  • Family foundations connected with new SCG peers and longtime colleagues at a special luncheon graciously hosted by Cara Esposito of The Leonetti/O'Connell Family Foundation.
  • The LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment and SCG members gathered to learn more about early signs of success with transitional kindergarten and implications for Los Angeles.
  • SCG members joined The Los Angeles Funders' Collaborative for a briefing on how philanthropy can work at the intersection of climate change, health, and equity in our region.
  • State and national government representatives briefed SCG members about initiatives to enhance prevention, care, and treatment for substance use and abuse in the Western U.S.
  • In December, the Joint Affinity Groups of Southern California held their annual leadership recognition reception, honoring new and emerging foundation leaders.
Finally, I'm proud to share that many of our staff members are expanding their leadership roles at SCG—positioning the organization to handle our continued evolution and advancement on behalf of the philanthropic sector. Please visit the staff page to learn more about the new titles and responsibilities of our team.

Thank you for your continued participation and leadership in the SCG community!


Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers


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