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President's Recap - May 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

As we close out a busy spring season for the SCG community, I have a number of fascinating convenings to report on, as well as some exciting upcoming events to share! Below are just a few highlights of recent discussions and developing initiatives from the past month. And if you're a family philanthropist, I look forward to seeing you at our Family Philanthropy Conference on June 8th!

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

  • The Actors Fund
  • Paul Blavin
  • ECMC Foundation
  • Duane Muller (Philanthropy Consultant)

This May, SCG Director of Operations and Strategic Initiatives Karen Freeman and SCG Public Policy Fellow Rocio Bonsall met with a group of congressional district directors to build relationships and lay the groundwork for future work together. As we continue to enhance SCG's public policy work, this convening was an important step in strengthening our connections to key staff of elected officials and identifying opportunities for SCG and our members to serve as resources on critical community issues.

Save the date 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. Shirley is an enthusiastic supporter of Southern California philanthropy as a whole, and multi-generational family philanthropy in particular. This special evening features a reception, light dinner, and a performance at the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles by the bluegrass band Whiskey Shivers. We are grateful to Elizabeth Levitt Hirsch and the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation for continuing to support this wonderful event over the years, and we encourage you to check out the full 2015 concert calendars for the Levitt Los Angeles and Pasadena!

At SCG, we welcome opportunities to engage with partner organizations and our membership, and we're committed to lifting up events that bring funders together to connect and learn. This month, SCG staff have engaged with our members at conferences around the state and country, including the Center for Effective Philanthropy National Conference, the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy National Conference, and the Northern California Grantmakers Annual Conference. SCG Director of Programs Dave Sheldon also participated in a special convening on expanding college opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated Californians hosted by the Ford Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, and The Community Foundation Serving the Counties of Riverside & San Bernardino.


SCG members and staff at the EPIP National Conference: Nicole Larsen and Piper Kamins, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; Janet Sandoval, Avery Dennison Foundation; Carrie Harlow and Sara Straubel, The Ahmanson Foundation; Alexandra Carew, SCG


In May, I also had a wonderful opportunity to attend the International Women's Forum World Cornerstone Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was floored by the visionaries and changemakers at this unique global event, and I look forward to sharing my experiences and learnings with the SCG community.

In addition to making sure you mark your calendars for the #SCG2015 Annual Conference on October 28th, you can help get the conversation started ahead of time on social media! In the coming months, we'll hold conversations online about some of the key ideas and themes related to this year's conference. Here's how you can help: have your social media staff reach out to us and share their contact information on this form. We'll be in touch soon to share Twitter party information, hashtags, handles, and everything else you need to participate.

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

  • The SCG Youth Development through Sport Peer Learning Group met to hear from Jessica Carbajal with the Tiger Woods Foundation about their youth engagement strategies.
  • SCG members attended a briefing on how transportation can improve public health and social equity in LA, presented in partnership with the LA Funders’ Collaborative.
  • We partnered on an interactive community discussion led by Independent Sector on the issues that define Southern California's charitable sector.
  • SCG members joined a program on oral health initiatives in Southern California. We also piloted a new videoconference platform for SCG members to participate from Orange County—we look forward to using more tools like this to reach our geographically dispersed members in the future!
  • In a live stream broadcast, philanthropic leaders in California discussed how to harness the power of big data for the greater good through the Visualizing California Philanthropy initiative.
  • Social Sector Partners' David Greco led a funder workshop on nonprofit financial health and sustainability and how we can achieve better outcomes with our grantee partners.
  • SCG and the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers partnered for a collaborative program on advocacy best practices, featuring funder and consultant perspectives.
  • The SCG Foster Care Funders Collaborative met to learn about the Foster Care Search Engine, a tool developed by the LA County DCFS to manage and secure foster care placements.
  • The SCG International Funders Group held its first meeting to shape the group's future direction and priorities, including sharing funding opportunities and global philanthropy data and trends.
  • SCG and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy - Los Angeles partnered on an event about supporting LA's under-resourced Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.

Thank you as always for your vision and leadership, and for strengthening Southern California communities in so many ways. Please be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates!


Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers