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SCG President's Message - May 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

With our esteemed President and CEO Chris Essel connecting with global leaders at the International Women’s Forum Cornerstone Conference this week, she has offered the SCG staff her monthly platform. We are excited to share the most powerful learnings from our recent 2018 Public Policy Conference with you, and to update you on several other important SCG news and events.


Jump To:

Takeaways from the 2018 Public Policy Conference

Family Philanthropy Conference: Pathways to Impact

Philanthropy in Sacramento Day

Register Today for SCG’s 2018 Annual

Sign Up for SCG’s Corporate Giving Brief

SCG Members Only: Update Your SCG Individual Profile

Coming Up

SCG Staff News

Takeaways from the 2018 Public Policy Conference

Tuly Martinez, Director, Programs and Conferences
Seyron Foo, Director, Public Policy and Government Relations

On April 23, SCG hosted over 300 leaders from our sector at our annual Public Policy Conference at the Center for Healthy Communities. This year’s theme was California Counts, and had a special focus on the 2020 Census, supporting full federal and state funding for a fair and accurate count, as well as on higher education policy changes. At the conference, the SCG community came together with leaders from across our region, our state and our country to examine new and urgent questions.

In a day full of great speakers, news and information, it is difficult to distill only a few takeaways. Still, we wanted to share key learnings from the conference, as captured on our conference hashtag, #SCGPolicyCon18:

  • The Census is crucial for determining funding and representation for California, and the time for foundations to engage on it is now! Chris Hoene of the California Budget & Policy Center added that over $35 billion is at stake for California with the 2020 Census. California is also at risk of losing political representation, which prompted one of our speakers, Ditas Katague, Director, Census 2020 California Complete Count, to say: “The Census is the foundation of our democracy.”

    We at Southern California Grantmakers are excited to announce that we are partnering with the California Community Foundation to launch the Southern California 2020 Census Funder Group. If you're interested, please contact Karla Mercado, Manager, Public Policy and Philanthropy California.
  • We need to elevate the voices of the historically unheard via voting reforms and an accurate Census count. Talking about voter suppression laws in other states, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who was a keynote speaker at the conference, said: “Making it difficult for people to vote is undemocratic, unpatriotic and un-American.” Secretary Padilla went on to say that California has become a nationwide model for improving and modernizing the voter experience, making it more inclusive and improving civic engagement. Nonprofit VOTE has put together toolkits for voter engagement strategies for private and community foundations. You can view the reports on our website.
  • We must ensure that California’s students of color and low-income students are making progress toward a college degree. On this point, California State University Chancellor Timothy White said: “it will be much more expensive to fail than to succeed” in terms of outcomes for students. The Chancellor’s Graduation Initiative 2025 will push system-wide changes to close the opportunity and achievement gaps with implications for workforce development as the state’s largest source of skilled workers. Peter Taylor, President, ECMC Foundation, and Michele Siqueiros, President, Campaign for College, gave us a great guide on what philanthropic leaders can do to move the needle forward on advancing diversity and equity in higher education leadership and student outcomes in California.
  • Youth organizers are leading the way. On a final note, we loved this post from the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation: People say millennials want things ‘right now,’ as if it’s a bad thing. We need young people to continue to be impatient, because they use that frustration to push for real change.” Please check out this blog post talking about the “Innovative Civic and Voter Engagement Methods for a New Generation” session, led by Connie Malloy, Portfolio Director, James Irvine Foundation.


What were your takeaways from the conference? Send them to us or share them with #SCGPolicyCon18.




Dr. Timothy White, California State University

Michele Siqueiros, The Campaign for College Opportunity; Peter J. Taylor, ECMC Foundation



Chris Hoene, California Budget & Policy Center; Ashley Swearengin, Central Valley Community Foundation; Ditas Katague, Census 2020 California Complete Count, State of California

The Honorable Alex Padilla, California Secretary
of State; Val Zavala, KCET (former)


SCG is proud to support our members as they pursue effective strategies and strong collaborations to do the work they aspire to do. To those who attended this year’s sold-out conference: thank you for your participation, and we hope you had an informative and productive experience. We would also like to once again thank our conference partner, the California Budget & Policy Center, and our member-led Conference Advisor group, as well as our sponsors and speakers.


Family Philanthropy Conference: Pathways to Impact

Kameron Green, Senior Manager, Programs
Jan Kern, Family Foundation Consultant

Family foundations have always played a key role in philanthropy, with their focus on strong grantee and community relationships and ability to respond nimbly. Now, family philanthropy is poised to both broaden and deepen its impact as the number of family foundations continues to grow. The question is, how can we make the most of our unique strengths and opportunities?

This year’s Family Philanthropy Conference, Pathways to Impact, looks at how we as grantmakers can think outside the box, look at innovative pathways and maximize our resources to really make a difference.

This year, we are joined by Farhad Ebrahimi, Founder and President of the Chorus Foundation, and Trista Harris, President of the Minnesota Council on Foundations.


Farhad Ebrahimi


Trista Harris


Farhad Ebrahimi
Founder and President,
Chorus Foundation


Trista Harris
Council on Foundations

This conference is focused on SCG members in the family philanthropy sector, but is open to any SCG member or eligible nonmember with an interest in these topics. Register today to be inspired and energized!

Philanthropy in Sacramento Day

​​​​​Seyron Foo, Director, Public Policy and Government Relations
Karla Mercado, Manager, Public Policy and Philanthropy California

We strongly encourage our members interested in using their public policy skills to attend the annual Philanthropy in Sacramento Day, which for the first time this year includes a half day briefing to prepare you for the next day’s full slate of meeting with policymakers.

Presented by Philanthropy California, our alliance with Northern California and San Diego Grantmakers, Philanthropy in Sacramento Day is a special event bringing together our state’s elected officials with leaders of our sector. It’s our opportunity to share the work of philanthropy so that our state’s policymakers can take the best practices developed from your grantmaking and scale it up to improve the lives of millions of Californians. This year, we will also place a special focus on the 2020 Census preparation efforts. Our time in Sacramento will include opportunities to:

  • Educate legislators and the administration about philanthropy’s role in civil society, the importance of 2020 Census and best practices on issues that you fund
  • Develop and cultivate relationships with fellow policy-oriented peers and policymakers
  • Encourage legislators to view foundations as thought partners. 

We are also thrilled to offer a half-day briefing and welcome reception for all participants on Monday, 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. Finally, you can connect with fellow participants at the Welcome Reception immediately following the briefing. Register today for this exciting event!

Register Today for SCG’s 2018 Annual Conference

Annual Conference Logo

Tuly Martinez, Director, Programs and Conferences

We are pleased to announce that registration for SCG’s 2018 Annual Conference is now open! This year, our focus is on Our Common Humanity.

The country is more divided politically and culturally than ever before and there are a dizzying number of conversations - often times conflicting - taking place over multiple channels and platforms. Yet, there is one thing that binds us together: Our Common Humanity. All of us have some basic, innate features that unify us and ultimately give us hope for the future. The philanthropic sector can draw on this common humanity in order to effect positive change in our communities and around the world.

At #SCGAnnualCon18, we’ll engage in a dialogue about what brings us together in a divided world. This year, we will convene in a unique meeting space that is conducive to these conversations: the Intercontinental Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Join over 600 colleagues from our diverse philanthropic community of private, public, family, individual and corporate change-makers for this dynamic and inspiring day. Register today - we hope to see you there​​​!

Sign Up for SCG’s Corporate Giving Brief

Annabelle Rosborough, Senior Manager, Programs

We are pleased to announce that as an added membership benefit, all SCG members are eligible to receive our Corporate Giving. This curated biweekly email contains newsworthy and relevant articles highlighting trends in the corporate giving sector and profiling individuals and organizations.

We encourage our members to sign up for the brief as well as submit news that you think would be of interest to fellow SCG corporate giving members.

SCG Members Only: Update Your SCG Individual Profile

Morgan Bennett, Manager, Member Engagement

Did you know that as a part of your organization’s membership with Southern California Grantmakers, you have a personal profile? The information in your profile helps us provide you with the most relevant programs, services and information.

Please take a quick 5 minutes to log in and update your SCG profile.

Your User Name is usually your work email address.
If you forgot your password, you can reset it now.

The more you tell us about yourself, the more we can support your important work. And all you have to do is check a few boxes.
To make this more fun, on May 15, we will randomly choose three people who have updated their profiles to receive either a free ticket to our Annual Conference or a $100 donation to the nonprofit of their choice.

Please feel free to contact us with questions. Thank you in advance for helping us help you make the most of your SCG membership.


Coming Up

SCG Programs Team

We hope to see you at these upcoming events:



The United State of Women (USOW) 2018 Summit

SCG is a proud partner of the USOW's 2018 Summit. USOW is a national organization for any woman who sees that we need a different America for all women to survive and thrive, and wants to work collectively to achieve it. Read More


Green Investment without Displacement along the Los Angeles River

At this program, we will bring together leaders who have worked in coalition with other organizations on a broad set of issues related to the efforts to restore the Los Angeles River, including anti-displacement strategies and community development. Read More


Examining the Needs of Youth Involved in Both the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems

Liberty Hill and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundations invite you to a discussion on dually involved youth―youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems―with LA County officials, funders and other key stakeholders. Read More


Walking the Talk: Putting Values-Based Grantmaking into Practice

At this workshop, we’ll discuss PEAK Grantmaking’s research into values-based grantmaking and provide participants with skills to initiate conversations with colleagues and organizational leaders around aligning grantmaking practice with values. Read More

SCG Staff News


Yolanda Gipson


 Yolanda Gipson

SCG Leadership

We are pleased to announce that Yolanda Gipson has joined SCG as Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. Yolanda has over 15 years of administrative experience, most recently as the executive assistant to Maria Contreras Sweet, former Administrator of the Small Business Administration under President Obama and founder of ProAmerica Bank. Please join us in welcoming Yolanda to the SCG family.

From all of us at SCG, thank you for reading and for your continued membership!