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SCG President's 2018 End of Year Message: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Monday, December 10, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

This past year has been extraordinary—and extraordinarily difficult. There is so much going on in our region, country and around the world that I hardly know where to begin. The mass murder in Thousand Oaks and too many others around the nation. The state’s worst wildfires in Southern and Northern California. A humanitarian crisis at the border, racism and racial inequity, sexual harassment and assault. On a more positive note, the midterm elections in November, with their massive voter turnout and influx of newly elected women and people of color, has revealed vividly how our polarized country is beginning to work through these major political, social, and cultural issues.
 
And just when the pace of current events shows no signs of slowing down, this past year saw our organization and our members soar to new highs in our work—at precisely the time when our efforts were most needed. In 2018, we collectively took on incredibly thorny topics including immigration, healthcare, homelessness, education and the environment, among many others. SCG aspires to be the place where funders come together to make sense of these and other crucial issues of our day, look for short- and long-term solutions and co-create the future. Please know that as these disasters and crises become “the new abnormal,” we at SCG and our Philanthropy California alliance are doing everything we can to support our members and funders to address and respond to them.
 
As we move into 2019, I hope you’ll join me looking back at our work to assess the impact of what we accomplished together – and at our roadmap for how the SCG community can continue our efforts to live up to the challenges and opportunities of this moment. Please take a moment to check out highlights of our lessons learned and future plans, which I’m sharing via our website using the three-track framework that we developed at our 2018 Annual Conference:

 

Engaging in Effective Collaboration
& Partnerships

Advancing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Developing Professional Skills

During the past few years of my tenure at SCG—and in the last year in particular—we have grown so much together, in our scope and impact and courage. Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, we’re reorganizing and expanding so we can deepen and strengthen our work and value in the ways that our members and partners are seeking:

  • Providing issue-based programming utilizing an intersectional approach
  • Designing professional development programming that helps funders take bold action for equitable outcomes
  • Pursuing robust, nimble action on our policy positions
  • Convening and facilitating collaborations and partnerships
  • Investing in our own sustainability and capacity to lead as an organization with equity at the center of our work

Over the next few months, we are adding new people across the organization, which gives us the capacity to elevate many of our excellent current staff, as you can see from their new titles.

We are very excited about this next step of our evolution; and we hope you are, too.

As we close out this year and look ahead to next year, I want to acknowledge and thank SCG’s incredible staff, board and especially our members. I am humbled and honored to lead an organization that collaborates to tackle the issues that matter most. I’m looking forward to continuing our work together in 2019.


Season's Greetings from SCG

In the meantime, the SCG team and I wish you a happy holiday season and a peaceful New Year.

Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers

 


Jump to:

Engaging in Effective Collaboration & Partnerships

Lifting Philanthropy's Voice

2020 Census

Center for Strategic Partnerships

Advancing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

SCG 2018 Annual Conference: Our Common Humanity

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation - Los Angeles

Developing Professional Skills

Peer Group Learning and Collaboration

Full Cost Project


Engaging in Effective Collaboration & Partnerships

 

Lifting Philanthropy’s Voice

     

Philanthropy California stood strong on issues such as family separations and public charge

 

Philanthropy California delegation on the State Assembly Floor for Philanthropy in Sacramento Day

 

WHAT:

  • SCG and Philanthropy California, our alliance with Northern California and San Diego California Grantmakers representing more than 600 members, led multiple efforts that leveraged philanthropy's voice at the local, state and federal levels
  • In June, Philanthropy California members became part of a wave of civic outrage about the Administration’s misguided “zero tolerance” policy on the U.S.-Mexico border
  • In November, we took “support” positions on Propositions 1 (affordable housing bond) and 2 (mental health housing bond) in the midterm election
  • Over the past few months, we have co-lead a #ProtectFamilies campaign, which includes, among other things, organizing and joining over 25 other signers on a full-page ad opposing new public charge regulations

IMPACT:

  • Our work helped win victories on the Administration’s family separation policy and the two November ballot measures above
  • More funders are raising their voices and driving the change they want to see by funding these important issues; and even more are telling us that they are starting to move in that direction.

WHAT’S NEXT:

SEE ALSO:

2020 Census

Philanthropy California delegation meets with Senator Dianne Feinstein to discuss 2020 Census

 

WHAT:

  • As highlighted by our 2018 Public Policy Conference, we convened a number of regional and statewide meetings throughout the year geared toward educating our members and others about the crucial importance of adequately funding a fair and accurate 2020 Census in which everyone counts
  • SCG and Philanthropy California are members of the Census 2020 Statewide Funders Initiative, which is charged with tackling Census issues in the state
  • In March, we met with members of Congress and other federal agencies to raise concerns about placing a question related to citizenship on the Census, which would plummet participation and starve California of its fair share of federal resources. We also encouraged our members to submit public comment to the US Department of Commerce on the citizenship question.
  • In May, our Philanthropy California delegation sat down with leaders in Sacramento to discussed the need for full funding for Census efforts in the state

IMPACT:

  • As a result of our delegation’s timely discussions with key policymakers, we successfully helped to secure $90 million in the California budget, more than doubling the governor’s proposed funding for the Census
  • Over 30 funders signed on to our public comment opposing the citizenship question on the Census
  • Our members are gaining a wider understanding of how the Census will affect everything they care about

WHAT’S NEXT:

  • We are planning many more meetings about the Census, including three statewide convenings in partnership with The California Endowment, and a meeting specifically for our corporate members
  • We will also continue our advocacy efforts to ensure a fair and accurate count

SEE ALSO:

Center for Strategic Partnerships

(L to R) Mary Lou Fulton, The California Endowment; Chris Essel, Southern California Grantmakers; HIlda S. Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor; Aileen Adams, The Weingart Foundation; Jennifer Price-Letscher, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to establish the Center for Strategic Partnerships within the County

 

WHAT:

  • Launched in 2016 as an initiative of SCG and Los Angeles County in which SCG continues to provide counsel and fiscal agent support, the newly-renamed Center for Strategic Partnerships is a nationally-recognized collaboration between government and philanthropy that has effectively brought together stakeholders to align strategies and efforts to tackle some of the most pressing problems experienced by families in the County. Since its launch, the Center has helped its partners co-invest more than $4.5 million to transform the County’s system serving vulnerable youth and families
  • In September, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion permanently establishing the Center within the County, moving it to the Chief Executive’s Office and expanding its scope

IMPACT:

  • The Board’s decision to make the Center permanent positions it for much broader impact on issues beyond child welfare
  • This model of collaboration between philanthropy and government has demonstrated the power of thoughtful, deliberate and focused efforts to empower the most vulnerable in our communities

WHAT’S NEXT:

  • Early next year, the Center will complete a Strategic Planning process, setting forth a new shared agenda, metrics for success and mechanisms for stakeholder input

Advancing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

SCG 2018 Annual Conference: Our Common Humanity

 


Artist Daniel Beaty on how philanthropy can use a trauma-informed lens to support real healing in communities: “Achievement does not equal wellness”

 

Professor john a. powell: “Othering is the problem of the 21st century… in the United States, the primary form of othering is racism.”

 

WHAT:

  • SCG’s programming over the past several years has increasingly focused on how systemic racial, gender and other inequities create and perpetuate the issues that philanthropy hopes to solve
  • In September, this focus culminated in bringing 650 philanthropy and community leaders together in downtown Los Angeles for our 2018 Annual Conference centered around Our Common Humanity, where we looked at what gives us hope, powers our work, and binds us all together

IMPACT:

  • Over 85% of respondents “agree or strongly agree” that the conference’s candid peer conversations and learning from leaders and experts provided them with new information and perspective
     

    Word cloud of how attendees described this year's conference

WHAT’S NEXT:

  • SCG is planning more and deeper programming on equity and inclusion, including multiple implicit bias trainings for our staff and members
  • SCG staff and Board will continue our internal efforts to strengthen our ability to hold this crucial and challenging work

SEE ALSO:

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation – Los Angeles

Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman at TRHT event celebrating the inspiring life of Biddy Mason on her 200th birthday. Biddy Mason was a former slave who became a wealthy landowner, a noted philanthropist and a key founder of the first African American Church in Los Angeles.

 

WHAT:

  • Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation - LA initiative is a partnership of philanthropy, nonprofits, government, business and other community partners coordinated by SCG
  • TRHT-LA convened partners in an ongoing process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change that addresses the historic and contemporary effects of racism in the LA area
  • With California Conference for Equality and Justice, TRHT-LA launched its first Racial Equity and Healing Justice (REHJ) Facilitator Training, a four-month program to prepare community members to facilitate challenging yet necessary conversations on race and racism in Southern California. The first cohort of REHJ Facilitators-In-Training is comprised of advocates from the Greater Los Angeles area to San Diego and includes folks of different racial, ethnic and gender identities as well as sexual orientations, ages, careers and more.
  • TRHT-LA also organized several events and trainings throughout the year

IMPACT:

  • With our partners, TRHT-LA has begun the long-term work to use the power of truth to shine light on examples of Los Angeles’s troubled racial past and present
  • In November, REHJ Facilitators-In-Training began their journey in San Juan Capistrano for a Retreat, community building and engaging in challenging dialogues around racism and other forms of oppression.
  • This training cohort is being lifted up as a national model from which 13 other TRHT regions can learn

WHAT’S NEXT:

  • TRHT-LA and our partners are planning a full week of events commemorating National Day of Racial Healing beginning on January 22, 2019
  • Over the next few months, REHJ Facilitator-In-Training will continue to participate in additional modules to learn about restorative justice, racial dialogue, and facilitation practice. As part of their training, Facilitators-In-Training will plan and hold healing circles for various communities on the topic of racial equity, creating space for community members to dialogue about their experiences and share their stories.
  • Additional events and trainings throughout the year

SEE ALSO:


Developing Professional Skills

Peer Group Learning and Collaboration

 
2018 Fundamentals of Effective Grantmaking program

 

Corporate Leadership Council Chairs Mary-Elizabeth Michaels, Warner Bros. Entertainment,
and Raul Bustillos, Bank of America, speak at the 2018 Corporate Summer Reception

 

WHAT:

IMPACT:

  • Our members come away from our training programs better-informed, better-connected with their peers and readier to take coordinated collective action
  • Supporting professionals in infrastructure roles benefits all organizations—regardless of funding area—and the sector as a whole
  • Among other things, our peer groups help members take a holistic, intersectional approach to examining and addressing inequity in their work

WHAT’S NEXT:

  • In addition to our flagship professional development programs, we will continue to serve as a hub of leadership and innovation and provide cutting-edge programming aimed at improving the work of the individual, organization and sector

SEE ALSO:

Full Cost Project

 

WHAT:

  • Together with Philanthropy California and the Nonprofit Finance Fund, we embarked on Phase 2 of the Full Cost Project, which supports a funding model that honestly assesses the full cost for organizations to deliver on their missions and to be sustainable over time
  • We brought together education, advocacy and skill-building with the goal to increase the number of funders that provide full cost funding and to build the skills and capacity of all those engaged in grantmaking

IMPACT:

  • Through our Full Cost Project events throughout the year, we helped bring important grantmaking best practices into the mainstream for funders and the nonprofits that provide essential services to communities across the country
  • By exploring power imbalances between nonprofits and funders, the trainings helped participants recognize the challenges nonprofits face. Participants gained practical skills and knowledge to apply full cost concepts. The Full Cost Project supported positive shifts between funder and grantee interactions but power imbalances still restrict transparent conversations. Several funders are revisiting how to apply a full cost approach to their grant practices

WHAT’S NEXT:

  • The Full Cost Project will enter Phase 3, which we envision will include toolkits and deeper dives (including online opportunities) into the full cost approach and implementation. These offerings will serve funders, nonprofits and the sector as a whole well into the future