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SCG President's Message - February 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020


We are just days away from California’s Primary Presidential Election and the possibilities for our state are tremendous. In this critical inflection point in history, the go-it-alone strategies of the past simply cannot meet the obstacles before us. More than ever before, we need to partner with government in order to maintain the speed of progress. 

I am proud to spotlight the ways in which philanthropic leaders have begun to navigate the complexities of government, advocacy, and civic engagement. Over the past several weeks, SCG members have attended a historic philanthropy summit at the Governor's Mansion, engaged in a deep dive of the Governor's proposed budget for 2020-21, supported a nonpartisan candidates forum for the Los Angeles County Second District, and taken many other steps to broaden philanthropy's role in changing systems and strengthening our communities.

Additionally, our staff at SCG carried the spirit of the National Day of Racial Healing into Black History Month by watching the four-part docuseries, “400 Years Later… ’free-ish,” which explores the 400-year commemoration of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia in late August 1619. As we watched the journey of fifteen HBCU students in their efforts to learn our history and promote reconciliation, I was reminded of the power of storytelling in racial healing and would like to share some resources to spark more healing conversations below.

What lies ahead of our collaboration will not always be the easiest path, but I am confident that we can innovate, heal, and move forward collectively. As we prepare to cast our votes, I invite us to continue thinking big, taking risks, and imagining how we can propel California toward a future that is equitable for everyone. 

Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers     



A Conversation on Advocacy and Systems Change with Alba Bautista from First 5 LA

In March, the SCG Public Policy team will once again attend Foundations on the Hill with funders representing Philanthropy California. As our delegation prepares for meetings with Members of Congress, we spoke to Alba Bautista, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at First 5 LA, and three times FOTH attendee. In this conversation, we tackle the role of civic engagement in philanthropy, First 5 LA’s ongoing system change efforts, and some tips for first time FOTH attendees. 


Key Learnings from the Los Angeles County Second District Supervisorial Forum

In partnership with The Chronicle of Social Change and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, SCG hosted a nonpartisan forum for candidates running for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ Second District. Read our key learnings from our event. 



Update on the UBIT Tax Repeal and the Simplified Private Foundation Excise Tax

Last December, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1865) was signed into law, ushering in two victories for private foundations and the nonprofit sector: a simplification of the private foundation excise tax rate from a two-tier system to a flat rate and a retroactive repeal of the UBIT tax on nonprofit transportation benefits. 



A Historic Summit at the Governor’s Mansion

Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom welcomed over 45 philanthropic leaders to the Governor’s Mansion for the first Philanthropy Summit in modern state history. Philanthropy California played an instrumental role in shaping the day, which brought together the Governor's senior leadership and philanthropic leaders to have candid conversations about tackling the biggest challenges ahead for California.



Breaking Down the Governor's 2020-21 State Budget

On January 10, Governor Gavin Newsom submitted his 2020-21 State Budget proposal to the Legislature. Seyron Foo, SCG’s Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations, met with SCG's Corporate Leadership Council to break down the budget proposals most likely to impact the philanthropic sector.



SCG's 2020 Public Policy Forecast

This year, SCG is committed to tracking the policy trends most likely to impact our members' grantmaking strategies and their ability to fulfill their missions. Our Public Policy and Government Affairs team has identified three trends likely to impact the philanthropic sector in 2020: more proposed state regulations on philanthropy, increasing pressures on vulnerable communities, and a focus on housing policy at the ballot box.


Interested in keeping up-to-date with the latest public policy news, updates, and trends? Visit the SCG Takes Action page to explore our Public Policy Team's latest legislative breakdowns, issue analyses, and policy stances. 




How Philanthropy Can Create Public Systems Change

This story from the Stanford Social Innovation Review explores a program designed to increase access to public higher education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Californians in order to highlight the potential of public and philanthropic partnerships. 



National Day of Racial Healing Action Kit for Philanthropic Organizations

Last month, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation hosted the National Day of Racial Healing, a day dedicated to sharing truth, deepening relationships, and building trust to create a more equitable future. Below, you'll find the W.K. Kelogg Foundation's Philanthropy Action Kit for organizations interested in sparking and furthering racial healing conversations among their communities. 


These Modern-Day Harriet Tubmans Are Leading People to Freedom

The California Wellness Foundation's Women's Initiatives are supporting the work of organizations that have committed their lives to the fight for justice and freedom. Program Director, Crystal D. Crawford, celebrates three fearless, relentless, and visionary leaders carrying on the legacy of Harriet Tubman through their efforts to create paths to health, wellness, and freedom for Californians.




MAR 09-11 | Attend 2020 Foundations on the Hill

Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), is a two-day event that brings together hundreds of foundation leaders from across the country to meet with Members of Congress to discuss issues of critical importance to philanthropy and the communities we serve.



MAY 05-08 | Apply to the 2020 Funders Policy Institute

The Funders Policy Institute is an immersive program where participants directly engage with and learn from policymakers and advocates while also connecting with other philanthropists who share a deep committed to effective, policy-based grantmaking. To join, apply by March 6, 2020. 



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