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Southern California Grantmakers Announces New President

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Los Angeles, CA, December 18, 2012 -- The Board of Directors of Southern California Grantmakers (SCG), a regional association of philanthropic leaders working to support and advance effective grantmaking and drive innovative strategies for community problem solving, announced today that it has appointed Christine Essel to be SCG’s next president. Essel’s appointment is effective February 1, 2013.

“Ms. Essel brings to SCG decades of community building, civic involvement and leadership experience, as well as a deep knowledge of our region,” said Carl Ballton, Chairman of the Board of SCG. “In addition, she has a high degree of visibility, extensive relationships, expertise in corporate philanthropy, finance, government and community relations, and a passion for forging creative solutions to complex community challenges. In fact, Ms. Essel’s inclusive and collaborative style, coupled with her impressive list of accomplishments, makes her an ideal choice to carry out SCG’s bold future vision.”

“Our selection of Ms. Essel as our new president comes at the end of a six-month process of listening to the views, vision and needs of our members. Our members’ voices shaped the focus of our search and helped lead us to this selection,” Ballton added. “Ms. Essel is also an engaging public speaker and thoughtful listener who is uniquely qualified to unite and amplify the voice of philanthropy in the region, and build collaborative solutions to the challenges facing our communities.”

Essel said, “I'm incredibly honored to serve as SCG's President as we head into an exciting new chapter for the organization. Along with the Board, I look forward to working closely with the broad spectrum of our membership to grow SCG's value and capacity while building on its nearly 40-year history as the philanthropic home for Southern California's giving community."

Essel most recently served as Chief Executive Officer for CRA/LA and the Community Redevelopment Agency for the City of Los Angeles, providing support and incentives to attract private investment to improve the quality of life and provide economic development opportunities in Los Angeles’ most challenged communities.

Prior to her work at CRA/LA, Essel had a 30-year career at Paramount Pictures, starting in finance and real estate development. She went on to build a government and community relations unit, including legislative affairs, employee volunteer programs, corporate responsibility, ethics, fundraising and leadership of the studio’s philanthropic efforts.

In addition, Essel led the well-regarded California Film Commission as its Chair for nine years. Her more recent civic involvement activities have included membership on the Boards/Commissions of the Grand Avenue Joint Powers Authority, Los Angeles Development Fund, FilmLA, Central City Association, Los Angeles World Airports and the California Workforce Investment Board.

About Southern California Grantmakers
Founded in 1973, Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) is a membership association comprised of private sector grantmakers, which includes independent foundations, family foundations, corporate foundations and giving programs, community foundations, public foundations, private operating foundations and individual philanthropists.

SCG serves as a common voice for a diverse and vibrant community of philanthropists, bound by a shared desire to make a difference by strengthening underserved communities, enhancing people’s lives and building a better future. Members represent Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

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