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President's Recap June 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

This month has brought us yet more national and international crises, which have left all of us at SCG saddened and appalled on so many levels. I am, however, uplifted by our funder community's mutual commitment to making the world a better place for all. Please check the resources available online regarding the Orlando shooting, the Kern County fire, the flooding in West Virginia, and the terror attack in Turkey.

In addition to several disaster response convenings this month, SCG members have been at the forefront of many other crucial issues. Please continue reading to learn more.

At SCG’s 2016 Annual Conference, you can join hundreds of SCG members who are committed and energized, eager to advance positive change in communities here in Southern California and far beyond our borders. Click here to learn more about speakers and sessions, including our "Champions of Change" plenary featuring Shiza Shahid, Co-Founder of the Malala Fund, and renown artist/prison activist Bryonn Bain!

With the theme "Be the Change," hundreds of SCG members and leaders will convene in Hollywood on September 19 to explore how we as philanthropists can “be the change” we wish to see in the world—by acting locally and having a global impact on the issues we care about most passionately. The day will feature early bird workshops on innovations and best practices in grantmaking as well as sessions on education, health and climate change, gender equity, and more.

Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsors, the Annenberg Foundation and California Community Foundation! Click here or contact us to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

South LA is now one of thirteen urban Promise Zones in the nation, and Los Angeles is the only city to have two designations within its city boundaries. The goal of the Promise Zone initiative, created by President Obama in 2013, is to significantly reduce poverty by creating a federal partnership with communities. The new Promise Zone is home to nearly 200,000 residents in parts of Vernon-Central, South Park, Florence, Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, and the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhoods. This federal designation is a big step forward for South LA: the award provides technical assistance and priority access to certain federal funding opportunities, which will bring greater resources to serve residents, 46% of whom live below the federal poverty line.

Led by LA n Sync, the funder community backed the application effort in several ways, including a letter of support for the designation signed by Annenberg Foundation, California Community Foundation, The California Endowment, Los Angeles Trade Technical College Foundation,  The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation.

Around the world, more than 60 million people are now forcibly displaced—the highest level ever recorded. The SCG International Funders Group was proud to partner with the Annenberg Foundation on June 20th—World Refugee Day—for a private tour of the Annenberg photography exhibition REFUGEE. Next we learned about efforts to stem the global humanitarian crisis from an extraordinary panel, which included Amber Hill, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Southern California; Anne-Marie Grey, USA for UNHCR; Glen Peterson, World Relief, Garden Grove; and Margaret Traub, International Medical Corps.

We were also joined by Ambassador Craig Johnstone, former Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, for a special lunchtime discussion. This was a rare and fascinating opportunity to hear from international experts about how philanthropic efforts both at home and abroad can help some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Click here for resources and notes from this convening (members only).

I'm excited to announce an exclusive partnership with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, along with our statewide colleagues Northern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers, that will benefit our collective memberships and the philanthropic sector as a whole. Each of our organizations brings unique regional and subject matter expertise to the field of philanthropy, and we share a common objective: to help grantmakers more effectively support nonprofit services in our communities. This partnership provides opportunities for funders to learn from and with one another about topics relevant to California funders and informed by trends and practices from across the country. We're excited to practice what we preach by building the collaborative muscle we so often promote among grantmakers, nonprofits, and other stakeholders. Click here to stay informed and receive updates and invitations to our joint programming!

We recently partnered with the California Community Foundation to host a funder discussion with Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly in the California State Legislature. Speaker Rendon covered a range of topics relevant to our community, including redevelopment of the Los Angeles River as an opportunity to engage disenfranchised communities in civic engagement and environmental work. Additionally, this month SCG members had a lively discussion with Assembly Member Richard Bloom on how philanthropy and government can partner more effectively to address homelessness, veterans, and the environment.

SCG's public policy team, Public Policy Committee, and other SCG members have also participated in recent meetings with members of the California State Legislature on key budget issues, including advocacy in support of foster parents and children. If you’re interested in receiving more in-depth updates on our public policy efforts, please email SCG's Senior Manager of Public Policy and Government Relations Seyron Foo.

Since early 2015, SCG has been gathering entertainment philanthropy leaders, including representatives from talent agencies, celebrity foundations, and philanthropic advisors who work with talent. Many of SCG’s new members represent this important “hometown industry,” as do several of our longtime members, and there is a strong shared interest in knowledge sharing, skills building, and connecting the unique strengths of talent and traditional philanthropy for greater awareness and impact around community issues. This month, funders and entertainment professionals met at The GRAMMY Foundation to share best practices for leveraging celebrities at special events. SCG will continue exploring opportunities to serve as a leadership hub where the power of talent philanthropy and traditional philanthropy can come together. If you are interested in learning more about this initiative or partnering with a public personality to advance your philanthropy, please contact us.

The LA County Board of Supervisors has approved a motion to establish a Center for Financial Empowerment, which will help thousands of families reduce their debt and save money. Initially, the Center will coordinate and promote the many existing financial services already available for low income residents such as financial literacy, tax preparation, and helping consumers manage their debt. The Center will open in September and be housed at the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Its first-year budget will be co-funded by DCBA and a private grant from SCG member Citi Community Development, which leads Citi’s economic empowerment efforts for underserved individuals. Special thanks to SCG’s Vice President of Membership and Communications Amanda Byrd, who worked behind the scenes to make this partnership happen and leveraged her extensive professional background in financial empowerment to testify before the Board in favor of the motion!

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

  • SCG members participated in a special session at the Center for Nonprofit Management's 501(c)onference, which explored UCLA's annual LA County Giving Survey.
  • Members joined Project Tomorrow for a workshop on how to identify the right data to collect from their grantmaking, change data into information, and translate it into actionable knowledge.
  • Our Veterans Funders Group met with Jeff Tennen, who recently joined the VA as its new Veterans Experience Officer for the Pacific and Relationship Manager for Los Angeles.
  • SCG members joined a national webinar about about transgender communities, their needs, and how to better support diverse trans leaders on the frontlines of change social.
  • Funders participated in a statewide teleconference and a national call on current and long-term community needs following the tragic attack in Orlando and next steps for funders.
  • SCG partnered with the LA Regional STEM Hub for the State of STEM  to explore how community leaders are diversifying STEM fields in the workforce and K-12/higher education.
  • Funders joined a statewide webinar on the California Women’s Well-Being Index, the first-ever web resource to provide a comprehensive measure of women’s well-being across the state.
  • SCG and Nonprofit Finance Fund partnered to host an interactive workshop on how to align funder strategy with grantee needs.
  • SCG co-hosted a national webinar with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees on the Supreme Court’s DACA/DAPA decision and its impact on immigrant communities.
  • SCG’s Environmental Funders Group discussed air quality with Dean Florez and Diane Takvorian, the new Environmental Justice representatives to the CA Air Resources Board.

I hope to see you at these upcoming events:

Thank you for your interest in SCG's work and your support for stronger Southern California communities. And remember to check our website for the latest on SCG events and other philanthropy news.


Christine Essel
President and CEO