Back to top

SCG President's Message - April 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

It’s April, and there is something special in the spring air. Around this time of year, we focus the spotlight on the public policy efforts of SCG and our members. It is truly wonderful to see our staff and members engaging in public policy like never before on a variety of important issues.

Before I go any further, I would be remiss if I didn’t also celebrate the tremendous renewed sense of civic engagement that is being led by youth, as demonstrated by the March for Our Lives events on March 24. What an inspiring day! If we were impressed last month with the grit that those students demonstrated after the tragedy at their school, then we should be even more encouraged by their determination to effect change—including registering thousands of young people to vote—at the marches and in the coming months. I believe we are witnessing something remarkable—which is even truer given the age and advanced wisdom and leadership that these students are exhibiting.

The marches across the country segue nicely into our own efforts to bring about positive change—especially in our sector—through SCG’s public policy initiatives. Over the past few years, SCG has built a robust public policy program; and this was readily apparent by our showing last month at the United Philanthropy Forum’s annual Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) gathering in Washington, D.C. This year, I was thrilled to attend FOTH with an impressive delegation of members from Philanthropy California, our alliance with Northern California and San Diego Grantmakers, for meetings with Congress about key issues of importance to foundations and philanthropy.

Philanthropy California delegation with (clockwise from top left): Representative Tony Cardenas;
Representative Jimmy Gomez; Senator Dianne Feinstein; Senator Kamala Harris

Our delegation met over a few days with more than 30 lawmakers to focus on three important issues to our sector: halting attempts to repeal the Johnson Amendment, the long-standing federal law that prohibits foundations and nonprofit organizations from engaging in partisan campaign activities; helping secure additional funding for the 2020 Census to ensure a fair and accurate count in California and nationwide; and raising 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.

I’m proud that our members were part of the wave of countless other organizations that succeeded together in accomplishing both of our goals: preventing attempts to repeal the Johnson Amendment as a part of the omnibus spending bill signed into law last month, and securing $1.344 billion of additional funding for the 2020 Census over the previous year, which was more than was requested by the Trump Administration. We also raised our concerns about the citizenship question, and we will continue to actively engage in educating policymakers in this decision’s harmful effects. For more information on the Census, contact Karla Mercado, SCG Manager, Public Policy and Philanthropy California.

We still have so much more public policy work ahead of us. Read more below about our upcoming Public Policy Conference and Philanthropy in Sacramento Day, and if you are a member, you can always sign up for our monthly Public Policy Roundup here.

Jump To:

Philanthropy in Sacramento Day

Welcome SCG's New Members

embRACE LA: 100 Dinners on Race

Program Round Up

Coming Up

SCG Staff News

Policy Conference Is Almost Sold Out!

SCG's 2018 Public Policy Conference on Monday, April 23 is almost sold out!

Join us for an in-depth look at the latest policy analysis and research on key issues impacting philanthropy. This year's conference will focus on the critical importance of full federal and state funding for the 2020 Census, and on fast-moving changes in higher education policy, among other topics.



We are excited to partner once again with the California Budget & Policy Center and are looking forward to hearing from many distinguished speakers, including The Honorable Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State; Dr. Timothy White, Chancellor of California State University and Ashley Swearengin, President and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation and former Mayor of Fresno.

It’s not too late to register. We hope to see you there for a day of thought-provoking conversations about our sector's role in advocacy efforts that strengthen our communities. 

Philanthropy in Sacramento Day

Philanthropy California’s annual Philanthropy in Sacramento Day (May 22, 2018) is a special event bringing together our state’s elected officials with leaders of our sector. Members from across our three regional associations gather together to walk the halls of the state capitol, bringing attention to the most pressing issues affecting our communities, including the 2020 Census, child welfare, health and immigration. Philanthropy in Sacramento is a unique opportunity to meet directly with legislators and administration officials, and connect with fellow policy-oriented peers.



This year, we are also excited to offer a half-day briefing and welcome reception for all participants the day before, May 21. The briefing will cover emerging issues affecting philanthropy and communities across California and will provide an opportunity for interactive discussions with leading policy experts.


May 21                                                                                          May 22                              
Half-Day Policy Briefing: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm                              Legislative Visits: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Welcome Reception: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm                                     (Hotel and Location Information to follow)

Welcome SCG’s Newest Members

I am happy to welcome SCG’s newest members from this quarter. Please click on their links to learn more about them in our Member Directory.

embRACE LA: 100 Dinners on Race

On April 16-20, 1000 Angelenos will gather in 100 homes and spaces across the city for thoughtful dinner dialogues through embRACE LA, an initiative aimed at unifying Angelenos and empowering communities through a citywide conversation about race and racism. Dinners are free and all residents of Los Angeles are welcome to apply by April 1st. Click here to sign up

Learn more about embRACE LA's multidimensional approach to changing narratives, building relationships and advancing public policy solutions.

Program Round Up
  • On March 2, we held a lively conversation with Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab about innovative ways to make higher education more accessible and affordable. We will continue to lift up this conversation through our College Access Funders Group and at our Annual Conference.
  • On March 6, Nonprofit Finance Fund led a training about the Full Cost Project geared toward foundation trustees and board members.
  • On March 7, the SCG International Funders Group hosted an inspiring conversation with Nancy Aossey, President and CEO of the International Medical Corps, to learn more about their approach to building local capacity in forgotten crises around the globe.
  • On March 20, participants learned about RACE COUNTS, a new initiative and comprehensive online tracking tool that ranks all 58 California counties on issues of race in seven key areas.


Coming Up

I hope to see you at these upcoming events.



Biggest Changes in the Financial Sector (Orange County Session)

Join us to discuss how recent changes to generally accepted accounting principles and the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect the philanthropic sector.
Read More


Profit + Purpose: Does Your Portfolio Align With Your Values?

At this program, our panel will discuss how individuals, 401 K plans, foundations and endowments can use the power of their investments to create change.
Read More


The United State of Women 2018 Summit

SCG is proud to partner with the United State of Women. This year, former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama will be one of many featured speakers. 
Read More


SCG Family Philanthropy Conference

Our annual Family Philanthropy Conference is fast approaching. Save the date for this must-attend event for the family philanthropy community.
Read More

SCG Staff News

Finally, I'd like to welcome our newest staff member, Brenda Estrada, who started this month. As the Associate, Finance and Operations, Brenda is responsible for all accounting functions and provides administrative support to our Vice President, Operations and Government Relations.

Thank you for reading. As always, I'm interested in your ideas and feedback on SCG’s work. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions. Onwards!


Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers