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SCG President's Message - February 2019

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

With January already behind us and February now bringing us into Black History Month and the Lunar New Year, I'm hoping that your 2019 is off to a good start. From where I sit, it’s already clear that this will not be a time for business-as-usual for our sector, or indeed for anyone. Here at SCG, in the past month alone, our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation – Los Angeles team hosted a week of events centered around the 2019 National Day of Racial Healing. We also announced that through our Philanthropy California alliance, we are collaborating with the Women’s Foundation of California to take on gender-based discrimination and violence. And we began a training series on Implicit Bias for our partners in nonprofit, government, and philanthropy—including a full-day retreat for our own SCG staff. I’m grateful to so many of you for joining us at these events, and in this work. Together, we are part of a national movement in philanthropy for racial justice and equity, as you can see in this video from our friends at the United Philanthropy Forum.

I’m also thrilled to tell you that SCG is investing in our ability to support your work. We are adding several new staff, whom you’ll meet in the article below. This brings our team to 21 full-time employees, so we can do even more to bring you exceptional programs and events, a compelling voice on public policy, impactful cross-sector collaborations, and valuable communications products.

Our SCG team is here to help you make the most of your membership this year to propel your own work and amplify your impact. Please reach out if you’d like to brainstorm how you or your team can get involved (remember, SCG membership is organizational!). I hope you’ll come learn the latest at our programs and conferences; share your expertise and your questions in a peer group; take action on a policy initiative to scale change on your issues; or forward an SCG email or tag a friend on one of our social media posts to share news and resources. That’s the power of the SCG community: when you add your leadership to the mix, you multiply your impact. Your participation makes everyone’s work better, stronger, and more effective.

As always, keep reading below for upcoming opportunities and to catch up on recent developments. Last but not least, I want to wish you a peaceful and productive 2019. Let’s do this… together!

Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers

PS – Here are a few important save-the-dates for this year:


Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation – Los Angeles Marks 2019 National Day of Racial Healing with a Series of Events

Following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, which my Northern California Grantmakers counterpart Ellen LaPointe and her organization commemorated with some very moving articles, and leading into Black History Month, we observed the 2019 National Day of Racial Healing. This day is a call for intergenerational healing, a celebration of our common humanity and a commitment to action to create a more just and equitable world.

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation – Los Angeles (TRHT-LA), which is coordinated by SCG, marked the event with the theme Hand in Hand and a multi-day series of programs grounded in truth-telling, movement, dialogues, workshops, and musical performances. Some of the highlights included:

  • A Liberation through Capoeira workshop that explored the Afro-Brazilian cultural practice developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil as a tool for liberation, self-determination, expression and survival;
  • A Blanket Exercise that took participants through an interactive process to learn about the oppression and colonization of Native peoples and lands;
  • A powerful concert by Los Angeles artist Georgia Anne Muldrow whose revolutionary sound provided inspiration and restoration through music;
  • A workshop about plant interventions that helped participants revisit their relationships with plants, plant medicine and ancestral healing practices;
  • Multiple racial healing dialogues throughout Southern California that encouraged participants to talk about race and racism; and
  • A livestream experience curated by award-winning director Ava Duvernay


A few of many treasured moments from the National Day of Racial Healing events put on by TRHT-LA

I was personally inspired both by the breadth of programs that our team put on and by their ability to catalyze social change through cultural and healing arts. While our region—and our whole country—still have a long way to go to confront our dark history and current reality of racial segregation and hierarchy, being in community at TRHT-LA events allows us to be at the heart of racial healing.


Join us for the 2019 Public Policy Conference and Foundations on the Hill!

SCG has two outstanding opportunities where you can learn, connect and take action to advance your work through public policy.

From March 11-13, join our Philanthropy California delegation for the 2019 Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), a two-day event that brings together hundreds of foundation leaders from across the country to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress and other policymakers to discuss issues of critical importance to philanthropy. FOTH is our opportunity to share the work of philanthropy so that policymakers can take the best practices developed from your grantmaking and scale it up to improve the lives of millions who call our country home. With new Members of Congress joining the California delegation, it is especially important that we build strong relationships with our policymakers that can have profound impact on grantmaking and issues we care about.


Join us in Washington DC in March to lift up philanthropy’s voice with key policymakers


I am also pleased to announce that registration is now open for SCG’s 2019 Public Policy Conference, which will take place on April 8. This conference is the preeminent convening in our region that brings together hundreds of your peers from the philanthropic and civic sectors to take an in-depth look at the latest policy analysis and research and to prepare for and address key issues affecting our work. Presented in partnership with the California Budget & Policy Center, this year's conference will hone in on the changing public policy landscape in an environment led by a new Governor and the wave of other new policymakers in Sacramento and Washington.


Join us at #SCGPolicyCon19 to connect with peers and gain powerful ideas and insights to advance your work and lead meaningful change


Many thanks to Bank of America as our Presenting Sponsor, and to all of our sponsors. Please contact Amanda Byrd for info on sponsorship opportunities.


Welcome New Members

Below are SCG’s newest members from the last quarter. Please click on their links to learn more about them in our Member Directory.

I want to welcome our new members and thank all of our members for their continued support, leadership and willingness to collaborate. I encourage new and long-standing members alike to reach out and connect with one another—via one or more of our peer groups or otherwise—to see how best to work together and deepen our impact. 



SCG News

SCG is growing to meet the needs of our members and the work ahead for our sector. I am so excited to welcome several new members to our already outstanding staff.

 Jacqueline Carrillo

Jacqueline Carrillo is the new Coordinator, Programs and Conferences. Jacqueline supports the Programs and Conferences team by developing and implementing high quality programs and conferences. She is also responsible for providing infrastructure and logistical coordination.

 Crystal Hand

Crystal Hand is the new Associate, Statewide Technology at SCG. Crystal will support the development, implementation and management of online technology for SCG and Philanthropy California.

 Jan Kern

Jan Kern, our long time consultant and former SCG employee, re-joined our staff in December as Senior Philanthropy Advisor. Jan will be working with our Family Philanthropy members, facilitating our Health Funders Group meetings and supporting other collaborations and projects.

Jessica LeTarte

Jessica LeTarte is the new Coordinator, Collaboration and Community Building. Jessica will bring a wealth of experience in focusing on the inner workings of an office, including procedures and processes, interpersonal communications and conference planning, as well as a deep commitment to teambuilding, racial equity and organizational culture.


Program Roundup

At our first LA Arts Funders Meeting held this year on January 10, we dove into a new set of thematic case studies on distributed leadership commissioned by the Hewlett Foundation Performing Arts Program that explore how some organizations are addressing an era of rapid generational, technological, economic and demographic change by evolving their leadership practices to involve staff at all levels.

On January 11 and 14, we hosted our nonprofit partners in two separate workshops about Addressing Implicit Bias in Nonprofit Organizations. Dr. Bryant T. Marks, Sr., a national expert on implicit bias, engaged attendees in a deep-dive workshop into how implicit bias shows up in ourselves and in nonprofit organizations, and how they can change their personal and organizational behaviors and practices. In addition to these workshops for nonprofit organizations, SCG is offering additional workshops this month for funders and our partners in government.

On January 16, a panel of experts joined us for the program What Will our Next Governor Do for California’s Young Children and their Families? A large group of over 70 members were excited to hear how Governor Gavin Newsom would deliver on campaign promises to expand high-quality early education programs, establish universal preschool and improve child care programs for the youngest children given California’s strong economy and budget surplus.