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SCG President's Message - March 2019

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The month of February was short but action-packed – in the world around us and at SCG. Just in the last few weeks, the President declared a national emergency along the US-Mexico border, the Supreme Court announced it will decide whether the Census will include a citizenship question, and over a dozen leaders have already declared their candidacy for the 2020 presidential race.

Meanwhile, here in the SCG community, we are taking action too. As you’ll read below, in February more than 400 people in the broader SCG network learned to see our implicit biases more clearly. Many of us, myself included, are preparing to join a Philanthropy California delegation of over 20 staff members and philanthropy leaders representing our statewide alliance with Northern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers at next week’s Foundations on the Hill trip to Washington, DC. We are planning to meet with more than 30 legislators and agencies to share philanthropy’s unique voice on the issues that matter most in our work. And the entire SCG team is working hard to bring you a robust Public Policy Conference on April 8th focusing on how our new Governor and new policymakers in Washington—and all of these constant news headlines—might affect your philanthropic agenda.
In fact, we recently announced the Public Policy Conference’s opening plenary session, “The Whole Child - From Cradle to Career: A Generational Opportunity to Lift California’s Most Impoverished Children and Families” – as well as other sessions on the California budget, homelessness, opportunity zones, justice reinvestment for young people and more.This conference will sell out, so please be sure to register now to join us for a day of candid conversations about our sector's role in strengthening our communities.


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

Please keep reading below or check out our website or social media accounts for ways to get involved in these and other SCG programs. And please know that we at SCG want to be of value to you in your important work – so please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions. We’re here for you!

As always, thank you for being part of the Southern California philanthropy community.

Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers

Hundreds Trained on the Importance of Addressing Implicit Bias in Our Work

Following last year’s Annual Conference, at which leading expert Dr. Bryant T. Marks, Sr. led a breakout session on implicit bias in philanthropy, we heard from many of you asking us to go deeper into the topic to help you in your work. In January and February, SCG and our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation – Los Angeles (TRHT-LA) team took the next step in answering this call by hosting a series of deep-dive implicit bias trainings conducted by Dr. Marks for our partners in nonprofit, philanthropy and government, as well as with our own staff. Collectively, Dr. Marks trained over 400 people in our region about the importance of recognizing and addressing implicit bias in their work!

As Dr. Marks pointed out (see these resources from his training at our Annual Conference), we all have biases, but the impact of our biases on others depends on the roles we play in society. For our sector, implicit biases affect the priorities set and supported by funders and grantmaking organizations. (For more on this topic, see this op-ed in The NonProfit Times that I wrote back in December). Recognizing and reducing these biases that lurk in all of us at the personal and organizational level is a crucial step toward helping our sector do our work better.

I personally want to thank Dr. Marks and those who attended the workshops for taking the time to dig into what can be a difficult subject for many. I know that I gained tremendous insights from our staff time with Dr. Marks, and the response from so many of our members and partners to his trainings has been superb. So if you missed this round of trainings, stay tuned for future opportunities!


Panelists Seek to Strengthen the Safety Net at Title X Program

On February 21, we hosted a powerful and informative program entitled Weakening the Safety Net: A Close Look at Title X. As many of you know, Title X provides critical federal funding for family planning and women’s reproductive health. In California, the Title X program serves more than one million people; in SCG’s eight county service area, more than 450,000 people receive Title X services.

The timing of this program was not coincidental. SCG’s public policy team works with our member to track relevant rules and regulations, which led us to identify that the federal government was contemplating a major shift that would dramatically weaken the safety net that many of our funders are trying to create for families, especially for underserved communities and people of color. Make no mistake: this is an issue of equity.

And indeed, a mere day after the program, on February 22, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a “gag rule” that would bar organizations that provide abortion referrals from receiving Title X funding, a step that could strip millions of dollars from California’s federally qualified health centers.

Panelists and SCG staff and Board members meet to talk about the threats to Title X funding in California

In response to the proposed rule, Essential Access Health—whose President and CEO, Julie Rabinovitz, was a panelist at our program—sued the Administration over the regulations and issued the following statement.

“The regulations posted … by the Trump administration represent some of the most extreme policy shifts in the history of the Title X family planning program. These changes counter clinical best practices and established medical ethics standards… If implemented, the regulations could devastate California’s Title X provider network and result in increased wait times and delays in patient access to time-sensitive care throughout the state.

Please be sure to visit our Title X program resources page, where you will find a map of Title X recipients in California, Essential Access Health’s Strategic Plan, and a knowledge capture from the program.


SCG News

Some of you have recently noticed that SCG is growing. As I’ve shared before, we are indeed reorganizing and expanding so we can deepen and strengthen our work and value in the ways that our members and partners are seeking. I am very excited to introduce you to several new members of the SCG team.



Monica Banks

Monica Banks is the new Associate, Professional Development/Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation - Los Angeles (TRHT-LA). She will provide administrative and clerical support to both the programs and TRHT team. 

Katy Pelissier

Katy Pelissier is the new Manager, Programs & Conferences. Katy will be responsible for developing and implementing programs and conferences at SCG, and supporting peer networking and collaboration.


Tegan Joseph Mosugu

Tegan Joseph Mosugu is the new Manager, Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation – Los Angeles. Tegan will assist with the development and implementation of TRHT-LA programs and events and will serve as the primary contact of all programmatic, logistical and administrative aspects of TRHT-LA.

 Anna Song

Anna Song is the new Assistant, Public Policy and Government Relations. In this role, Anna will support the SCG Public Policy and Government Relations team with research, advocacy and government relations projects.


Program Roundup

At the program entitled A New Governor, Legislature and Congress: Implications for Southern California’s Environment on February 22, we discussed how existing and new policies under the leadership of California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, will impact climate change, water related issues, public lands and ecosystem protection and air quality.

Panelists and attendees have a spirited discussion about California’s environment under Governor Newsom

As a part of our Not-for-Profit Education Series, we presented a Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Update on February 25. At this meeting, Rick Cole, Supervising Project Manager for the FASB, provided key insights into relevant and current topics for not-for-profits, including an overview of the new standards’ key elements, a deeper dive into the upcoming standards on revenue recognition, not-for-profit grants, contracts and financial reporting accounting standards; the standards’ implementation issues; and practical examples for implementation of the new standards

On February 28, we presented with the generous support of the David Bohnett Foundation an LGBTQ Professionals Network Reception with Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron Morris. A few days prior to the event, Immigration Equality scored a legal victory for its clients when a federal judge ruled that the child of a same-sex bi-national couple was a citizen since birth, rejecting the position taken by the U.S. Department of State that disenfranchised the child.

Left to right: Dave Sheldon, SCG; Mitch Singer, Singer Philanthropy; Aaron Morris, Immigration Equality; Paul Moore, David Bohnett Foundation; Kameron Green, SCG; Seyron Foo, SCG


Coming Up

We hope to see you at these upcoming events:

View Full List of Upcoming Events