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President's Recap July 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Summer is flying by, and we certainly haven't slowed down here at SCG! I wanted to share some of our members' exciting recent work and dynamic conversations—below are just a few highlights from the past month.

Please join me in welcoming our newest members to the SCG family:

  • Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
  • Milo W. Bekins Foundation
  • Children & Families Commission of Orange County
  • City of Culver City
  • Environment Now
  • First 5 San Bernardino
  • Momentous Insurance
  • St. Joseph Health
  • Sonia Taddy-Sandino

In recent weeks, the SoCal region has been abuzz with excitement and pride as we welcomed more than 6,500 athletes from around the world to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games here in Los Angeles.


Pictured: Kaiser Permanente and Bank of America staff providing hands-on support at the Special Olympics.


Many SCG member organizations were sponsors of the Games and have provided hundreds of volunteers to assist at events. Thank you to all the supporters for lending your time, energy, and boundless enthusiasm to welcome the athletes to our region.

Register now for SCG's annual Music Under the Stars celebration on Friday, August 21st. We'll be honoring the contributions of longtime SCG member Shirley Fredricks, Vice President and Trustee of the Lawrence Welk Family Foundation. This special evening features a reception, light dinner, and a performance at the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles by the bluegrass band Whiskey Shivers. Check out the full 2015 concert calendars for the Levitt Los Angeles and Pasadena!

This year, SCG has been co-leading The Real Cost Project, a joint statewide initiative with our regional colleagues Northern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers. The goal of the project is to build awareness and support for what it really costs for our grantees to deliver the outcomes we are asking them to produce, as well as to build the skills and capacity of all those engaged in grantmaking. In addition to statewide funder convenings about real cost funding (including two SCG member gatherings in LA and Orange County), qualitative research and one-on-one interviews with leading practitioners were conducted from February through May 2015. This research gave us the opportunity to understand existing challenges, gaps, and needs. Key takeaways include:

  • There is a lack of well-defined policies to guide real cost evaluation and reimbursements.
  • There are no standard definitions of terms related to overhead and real cost funding.
  • Funders rely on individual staff members to make decisions around real cost funding.
  • Overall, funder practices are driven and reinforced by cultural norms and past habits deemed “best practices” in the field.

In the next phase of the project, SCG will work with our partners to incorporate these learnings into future discussions and grantmaker trainings about the real needs of practitioners in the field. To learn more, access the complete research summary here or read the latest blog post from The Real Cost Project here. Stay tuned for Real Cost Project events coming up this fall!

In July, the SCG leadership team traveled to Baltimore for the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers annual meeting. The conference is a special opportunity to share and learn from peers about how SCG can provide the very best services to our membership, and for SCG to be a leader in advancing the philanthropic sector nationwide. We met with attendees from 33 regional associations and 40+ national funder peer groups about leveraging partnerships—a promising indicator that SCG's approach to collaborative learning and action is building momentum across the philanthropic sector.


Pictured: Representatives of the California regional associations


I'd also like to congratulate SCG Director of Operations and Strategic Initiatives Karen Freeman, who was recently elected to the Forum's Board of Directors. In this role, Karen will be on the front lines of national trends in philanthropy, and will help highlight the innovative work of SCG members to a national audience.

Please save the date for our Annual Conference coming up on October 28th! Many thanks to our Presenting Sponsors: Annenberg Foundation, California Community Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Foundation. Visit the SCG website for a complete list of sponsors, sponsorship opportunities, and speaker updates.

I also want to share some quick updates about other SCG events we've held in recent weeks:

  • Members of SCG and the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment met for a peer learning program on new research and strategies for parent engagement.
  • We collaborated with the Asset Funders Network for a sneak preview of CFED's latest asset poverty data from the Family Assets Count project.   
  • Members of SCG and the Education Funders Group met with Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, to learn about his Blueprint for Great Schools 2.0.
  • SCG, The California Endowment, and Californians for Safety and Justice held a funder briefing on Prop 47 and how implementation is reshaping our criminal and juvenile justice systems.
  • We partnered with the California Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color for a conversation on investing in young men of color to strengthen our region and state.

And finally, I encourage you to join our upcoming program on cyber security for funders and grantees—this is a crucial topic for our sector and we anticipate a fascinating conversation. You can also check out all our upcoming events on the SCG calendar. Thank you for your continued participation and leadership in the community and our region!


Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers

Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions
News type 
Special Initiatives