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SCG's President's Message - September 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Dear SCG Community, 

Predicting the future is a daunting task, but I got a glimpse of it at SCG's 2019 Annual Conference, Foresight Philanthropy. Over 700 changemakers came together that day to collectively imagine what a better, more equitable California could look like. I’m happy to say that our future has the potential to be innovative, inclusive, and truly limitless. 

The ideas we exchanged were vast, plentiful, and deeply impactful. Using our three conference pillars, I would like to share my key takeaways with all of you. 

We have the power to create a future that is truly inclusive and accessible to everyone. Our current systems have been formed by historic inequities designed to benefit specific populations and exclude others. Keynote speaker Dr. Bryant Marks reminded us of the importance of challenging our accepted histories in order to create a future free of historic biases, while Haben Girma reinforced that systemic barriers won't disappear on their own. We need to actively work to remove the barriers that prevent inclusion; only then can we imagine equitable solutions for the complex problems affecting redistricting, our workforce, and the education sector. An equitable future requires us to convene a diverse set of experiences in order to broaden our collective imagination and expand the horizon of what’s possible. 

From impact investing to community-driven philanthropy, our sessions provided our attendees ample opportunities to build their professional and future-focused skill sets. I continue to reflect on Trista Harris’ teachings on integrating futurism into our work by taking a small action like dedicating 5% of your weekly work-time to thinking about the future, to doing something as grand as building a 50 year vision for your organization. It was a reminder that we have the potential to be limitless, curious, and courageous. 

Foresight Philanthropy was a product of and testament to thoughtful, cross-sector collaboration. Leaders from many fields came together to discuss the latest work and opportunities in the fields of arts & social justice, mass incarceration, climate change, and more. The power of this convergence was demonstrated during our closing plenary which showcased the partnership between Third Sector, Ballmer Group, and the LA County Department of Mental Health. This groundbreaking initiative is working to engineer outcomes-oriented service delivery across DMH funding streams and LA County health & human services agencies. Together, they are modeling the power of a cross-sector collaboration to impact the life outcomes for thousands of Angelenos. It's increasingly clear that catalyzing systems change requires new, unexplored forms of collaboration. 

But that’s only scratching the surface of our time together. Below, you will find a compilation of all of our Foresight Philanthropy videos, pictures, and resources from the day. In the coming weeks, we will also be sharing our "Back to the Future" series that will further explore key conference topics and accelerate our development as philanthropic futurists. 

Thank you again to everyone who attended our largest convening to date. I cannot express how excited I am for the future the SCG network is building. 


Christine Essel

President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers


From inspiring speakers to dynamic performances, Foresight Philanthropy was full of vibrant energy from start to finish! We're happy to announce that SCG members have exclusive access to all of our videos from the conference. Relive the day by watching videos of our morning performance, opening keynote, and all of our plenaries below. 


You can also view all of our conference photos by checking out the Foresight Philanthropy photo album on Facebook! 



With 15 breakout sessions and 4 keynote plenaries, our 2019 Annual Conference was home to a plethora of readings, toolkits, and supplementary learning resources. We have compiled a Foresight Philanthropy Resource Page in order to house all of these resources and continue the exchange of knowledge. 



At Foresight Philanthropy, we had the opportunity to partner with "I am a voter," a nonpartisan campaign that aims to create a cultural shift around voting and civic engagement. By unifying Americans around the central truth that democracy works best when we all participate, they hope to increase voter participation among young and diverse Americans (18-35) in the 2020 Presidential election and beyond. 

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