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President's Recap - November 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

The past month has brought profound changes to our national political landscape. After a long and divisive election season, we are facing more unknowns than ever before. But as I shared in my post-election message earlier this month, I continue to be greatly encouraged by the spirit of the "SCG family" and your drive to engage with one another, seek dialogue and partnership wherever possible, and create opportunities for all individuals to thrive in Southern California and beyond.

Our work together as a membership community is more crucial than ever in this environment. And in the spirit of learning, collaboration, and impact, California’s three regional philanthropy associations are deepening our partnership. Our joint initiative, Philanthropy California, leverages the strengths of our members across geographic and organizational boundaries and across diverse interests. Together, we compiled this list of resources on Navigating Post-Election California. We’ll share more information soon on Philanthropy California’s growing work to support funders statewide.
Please keep reading below for more on how SCG members have come together for impact over the past month. 

As a part of the Independent Sector Conference, SCG’s Senior Manager of Public Policy and Government Relations Seyron Foo and I traveled to Capitol Hill to share the importance of our collective work, sustain relationships with policymakers, and help inform the tremendous changes that will occur in the next legislative session. 

Seyron Foo and Chris Essel, SCG

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute joined us in several highly productive meetings, during which we met with staff members of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as Congressmen Xavier Becerra, Ted Lieu, and Adam Schiff. I also had an opportunity to meet and speak with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. In partnership with our colleagues across the country, these visits convey a strong message to policymakers that our members—and our sector at large—are important community connectors and partners.

Our trip to the Capitol reminded me once again that engagement and dialogue are more crucial than ever in our current political landscape. That's why I hope you'll consider joining SCG and our sister organizations, NCG and SDG, in Washington, D.C. for Foundations on the Hill on March 20-22, 2017.  >> Click here to learn more and register! 

You are also welcome to join us on 12/19 for a California Policy Forum here in Los Angeles with leaders in health care, immigration, and environmental issues for a statewide overview of the election's impact. 

SCG members recently participated an afternoon of service at L.A. Kitchen, where we toured this innovative nonprofit's facility, assisted with food preparation, and enjoyed refreshments showcasing their students' culinary skills. Founded in 2013 by Robert Egger, L.A. Kitchen provides young adults aging out of foster care and older adults recently released from prison with culinary job training in a 20,000 square foot kitchen—addressing issues of unemployment, poor health, and food waste. 

SCG members and L.A. Kitchen staff and students in downtown Los Angeles.

We were honored to work alongside L.A. Kitchen chefs, staff, alumni, and students to prepare reclaimed fruits and vegetables as nutritious meals for charitable partners serving aging, low-income, and homeless populations. This special volunteer opportunity was co-created by The Eisner Foundation, which awarded L.A. Kitchen a 2015 Eisner Prize in recognition of their efforts to unite generations and bring about positive, lasting change in the community. Thank you to all the SCG members who took time out of their busy schedules to spend the afternoon with us at this unique organization!

As part of our ongoing partnership with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, we were thrilled to offer workshops in Orange County and Los Angeles last month which highlighted local examples of high-impact collaboration. Participants discussed how to determine if their organizations were “collaboration-ready,” how to build an internal culture to foster partnerships, and how to face common challenges in this process. In our LA session, the Catholic Education Funders Group shared about their collaboration with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles - Department of Catholic Schools, while the OC program highlighted the Orange County Integrative Health Initiative.

This statewide partnership has resulted in dynamic learning across the state for members of Northern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers, and GEO, as well as SCG. Be sure to sign up here if you'd like to be kept up-to-date on local networking and learning opportunities!

And in the new year, please join us for workshops with GEO in Los Angeles (1/31) and Orange County (2/1) on A New Vision for Capacity Building.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles (a longtime SCG member) brought together an incredible 12,000 community members for HomeWalk 2016, their annual family run/walk to end homelessness in LA County. This year's event raised over one million dollars! 

Team SCG at United Way's HomeWalk

The SCG staff was proud to walk as a team again this year, alongside many of our friends from other member organizations, including Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, California Community Foundation, First 5 LA, SoCalGas, Annenberg Foundation, and many others!


Here are some additional SCG events we've hosted in the past few weeks:

  • The LA Funders' Collaborative and SCG held a briefing on opportunities to harness new policies and public funds for healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities in LA County.
  • SCG co-sponsored a Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees webinar about immediate concerns facing immigrant and refugee communities. 
  • Members participated in webinar designed to help guide any funders interested in participating in the Foundation Center's "Get on the Map" national grants mapping project.
  • SCG's 60-person Public Policy Advisory Committee met to discuss the group's progress in several focus areas and to provide input on the future of SCG's policy work. 

Join us on December 13 for a special session on international grantmaking—designed for both program and grants managers—that will connect the dots between what you need to meet U.S. legal requirements and how to get pertinent information from grantees who operate in different regulatory contexts around the world. This program is particularly timely given that grantmaking to overseas organizations can be closely scrutinized in today's political climate. We'll hear creative problem-solving techniques related to international grantmaking from a panel of family, corporate, and community foundation representatives. >> Register now.

Additionally, I hope to see you at these upcoming events:

Thank you for the heart and dedication you bring to our Southern California communities during this holiday season—and all throughout the year! 

Warmest wishes,

Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers