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SCG President's Message - November 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to you for the second time this week, following my statement about the need and opportunity for unity in the face of so many horrific attacks on the fabric of our civil society (I also encourage you to read this post by Judy Belk, President and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation). My heart is still heavy, as I’m sure yours is too. And in this moment for reflection and action, I want to share a few recent moments in which our sector has inspired me with hope for the future. We have so much to do as philanthropists, and as individuals―especially if we have the privilege of voting next Tuesday, November 6. As you head to the polls next week (or fill out your ballot over the weekend), I want to share with you that SCG’s Public Policy Committee has voted to support Proposition 1 (Affordable Housing) and Proposition 2 (No Place Like Home), encouraging a “yes” vote. We join our members involved in in the passage of these two critical measures that would amplify our collective efforts on tackling affordable housing and homelessness. ​​​​​These examples do not solve the challenges before us, but they do move us forward. 

With this in mind, let me lift up these examples of the great work that our members are doing across the region and beyond:

  • On October 18, the LA84 Foundation held its 2018 Summit. This year’s theme was “Athlete Activism + Social Justice: Taking Action for Our Youth.” In keynotes, panel discussions and power talks, speakers from across the country discussed topics such as the impact athlete activists can have, physical education as a social justice issue, how to ensure sports are safe for kids and much more.
  • On October 19, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation presented SHOFCO, a grassroots movement based in Nairobi, Kenya that catalyzes large-scale transformation in urban slums, with its 2018 Humanitarian Prize. 

Photo credit: Conrad N. Hilton Foundation


  • On October 22, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Annenberg Foundation and over 80 Los Angeles venture capitalists and tech leaders launched PledgeLA, a first-of-its-kind partnership to promote civic engagement, diversity and inclusion across L.A.’s booming and dynamic tech sector. PledgeLA signatories are making a commitment to track civic participation and diversity data each year and make that data publicly available, as well as expand their engagement with local nonprofits that support diverse talent and reflect the civic spirit of Los Angeles.


  • On October 25, our member Santa Barbara Foundation celebrated 90 years of philanthropy by unveiling its new strategic priorities in support of Santa Barbara County.
  • On October 31, The Eisner Foundation announced the winner of its Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence: Marc Freedman and The prize is designed to recognize excellence by an individual or nonprofit organization uniting multiple generations, especially seniors and youth, to bring about positive and lasting change in their community.
  • Last but not least, a big congratulations to our member, The Dodgers Foundation, and to the Dodgers team who made it to the World Series for the second year in a row. Although the team fell short in their quest for October glory, the team played valiantly and provided much-needed civic pride and diversion for the region.


This is just a small sampling of the incredible work our members are doing across the region and beyond. If you have news that you want to share with the SCG community, please do not hesitate to contact us.

One other quick note: this month, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) announced that its President and CEO Kathleen Enright will leave GEO at the end of this year to assume the position of President and CEO of the Council on Foundations (COF). Having co-chaired and worked closely with Kathleen on the United Philanthropy Forum’s Vision Design Group a few years ago, I can vouch for her brilliance, strong leadership and tremendous ability to collaborate with others. I want to congratulate Kathleen on her new role. I am very excited for her and for the new directions in which both GEO and COF will be going.

As always, thank you for your interest in Southern California philanthropy and the dynamic work being done across our communities.

Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers


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2018 Fundamentals Program Trains 70 New Grantmakers

Welcome, New SCG Members!

Program Roundup

Coming Up


2018 Fundamentals Program Trains 70 New Grantmakers


At SCG, we believe strongly in supporting a highly-skilled, well-informed and deeply networked philanthropic community. Since the 1980’s, SCG has organized our signature program, Fundamentals of Effective Grantmaking, as a way to welcome new colleagues to the world of philanthropy and to provide seasoned professionals with a chance to hone their core grantmaking skills.

This year, over the course of four days, 70 grantmakers took part in interactive full day sessions and learned about various skills from assessing grant proposals and managing relationships with grantees to understanding financial statements and practicing ethics in grantmaking. The workshops also provided excellent opportunities for participants to expand their personal networks.



In addition to the three-day workshop, participants enjoyed a site visit opportunity to observe how Fundamentals lessons operate in the workplace. This year's site visit hosts were the Annenberg Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, W.M. Keck Foundation and Capital Group.

A huge thanks to all the peer leaders who taught at Fundamentals and to our site visit hosts this year. And a warm congratulations to the 70 members of our grantmaking community who completed the program.


Welcome, New SCG Members!


I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the following new SCG members who joined in the past quarter:


Our geographic reach spans eight counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. Our membership includes all types of foundations, corporate grantmakers, family philanthropy and government funders, as well as consultants to philanthropy.

To get the most value out of your SCG membership, be sure to check out our member benefits and visit our members-only online directory to find and reach out to your SCG colleagues! We’re also happy to help you connect member-to-member.


Program Roundup


  • On October 10, SCG’s Education Funders Group presented Career and Technical Education 101 – The Landscape, Promising Practices, Opportunities for Philanthropy. At this program, we looked at the growing pool of living wage, middle skills jobs in fields like health care, advanced manufacturing and energy; explored the shortage of qualified workers to fill these jobs; discussed the image problem for Career and Technical Education; and talked about the renaissance in career and technical education in California as promising pathway that can equip people of all ages to pursue rewarding careers and greater economic mobility.


  • On October 16, SCG co-partnered with The Chronicle of Social Change and other organizations for Who Cares - Foster Parent Recruitment and Engaging Faith Communities, an event centered on the role the faith-based community can play in providing homes and support for the county’s foster children. At the program, a panel of experts explored findings from a recent report, Who Cares: A National Count of Foster Homes and Families; drilled down on the state of foster parent recruitment and retention in L.A.; and highlighted local efforts to get the faith community more involved in foster care.
  • On October 24, SCG and the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment presented The Crisis of Black Infant Mortality in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County is seeking to reduce the infant mortality gap between black and white babies by 30 percent over the next five years, which has been growing for the past 20 years due to a complicated mix of social, environmental and health factors, including black mothers’ chronic stress resulting from repeated experiences of racism.
  • On October 29, SCG, along with the Bipartisan Policy Center and our Philanthropy California partners, hosted the first in a series of three regional “Policy Salons” on Informing the National Perspective on Immigration Reform. At this salon, participants learned about how the issue of immigration is being framed at the national level; shared experiences with immigration issues at the local and regional level; gained an understanding of how California grantmakers and funders are thinking about the short- and longer-term strategies for moving immigrant rights and integration forward; and discussed how to partner to learn more about California’s attitudes toward immigrants and immigration, and develop strategies to help California be more of a leader in the national debate.


Coming Up


We hope to see you at these upcoming events:


Public-Private Partnerships in Tackling Poverty: A Funders’ Briefing on CalSavers, A Cross-Generational Approach

The CalSavers Program is a cross-generational approach to address poverty in California, giving almost 7 million private sector workers an opportunity to participate in a workplace retirement savings program. Join us for a discussion on where philanthropy is addressing systems change to address poverty, how partnerships will be crucial for the success of CalSavers and how funders and grantees are working together to advance this anti-poverty strategy. Read More


Thriving Amid Adversity in the Eastern Coachella Valley

Building on a KCET series examining Eastern Coachella Valley, produced in partnership with The California Endowment, this program will showcase activism and innovation led by local residents, organizations and elected officials who are working together to improve the quality of life and health in this region. Read More


SCG Health Funders Group Peer-to-Peer Meeting

This is the first meeting of our new Health Funders Peer Group. As the importance of health in our community has only continued to grow, we will use this meeting to maximize connections and facilitate collaboration. This session will provide a forum for updates on critical issues, highlights of promising programs and opportunities for collective impact. Read More


California Policy Forum - Advancing Equity: Saying NO to the Status Quo

A new generation of California leaders are doing things their way—and, let’s say, they’re not afraid to make waves. Join us for an open, candid discussion with three of California’s rising young changemakers as they take a deep dive on what it means to advance equity now. Read More


Disability, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Cross-Sectoral Approach

Join us for a panel discussion with leaders and allies of people and communities with disabilities to explore how we can create a Los Angeles-area and beyond that will provide access and opportunity for all regardless of ability. We welcome nonprofits, funders and community advocates in framing how we strengthen our communities for people with disabilities in our region for a more equitable society. Read More


Public-Private Partnerships: Change Making in LA

Join Kate Anderson, Executive Director of the Center for Strategic Partnerships (CSP), in a moderated conversation with experts to discuss questions such as: what’s ahead for the CSP?; what is the strategic value of public-private collaboration in solving LA’s social issues?; can foundations lead the way in social change as a movement?; and what are the CSP’s successes to date? Read More


Traditions of Giving

Organized by SCG’s Family Philanthropy Advisory Council, Traditions of Giving is back by popular demand! With the holiday season fast approaching, what better time to take a step back and reflect with friends and colleagues the inspirational stories of giving. Read More



The L.A. Model: A Tour of Campus Kilpatrick

Join us to discuss effective, trauma-informed youth rehabilitation. The agenda will include a presentations about LA's ground-breaking youth diversion initiative; innovative C-3 and C-4 coalitions striving to stop jail expansion and reform LA County's charter; and other timely issues. Please RSVP by November 9th in order to attendRead More

View Full List of Upcoming Events