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President's Blog

SCG Community: Emerging Trends in COVID-19 Responses

Thursday, April 2, 2020
In a few short weeks, the COVID-19 outbreak has upended nearly every aspect of our economic and social lives. The global health crisis and the economic fallout that color our current moment have dramatically altered the work of funders and nonprofits for the foreseeable future. Amid this emergency, we have been incredibly inspired by SCG’s members who have taken timely actions to strengthen and support their nonprofit partners. 
After three weeks of convening funders to learn about their rapid responses and emerging strategies, we’d like to share the key trends emerging in SCG members’ grantmaking practices in response to COVID-19. This list is not comprehensive, nor does it capture the spectrum of what’s possible, especially with the rapidly changing short and long-term needs that are emerging daily. The following trends constitute a high-level snapshot of how our members are embodying the spirit of partnership in order to support nonprofit resilience and the wellbeing of our most vulnerable communities. 

 


 

Establishing Response Funds

As the impact of COVID-19 aggravates on a daily basis, SCG members and philanthropic organizations across California — from private and community foundations to corporate and government grantmakers — have established over 70 response funds. These funds provide critical supports to businesses, community-based organizations, government agencies, and families in various communities. Funders are also coordinating by investing in regional funds and collaborating to address related issue areas.  
 

Increasing General Operating Support

The COVID-19 outbreak has ushered in a slew of unpredictable challenges for nonprofits who are facing increasing financial strain as they attempt to stay afloat during a pandemic. We’ve seen a wide range of funders restructure current grants to provide greater flexibility and address the varying needs of their grantees. These practices include converting all or a portion of restricted funds or project grants into general operating support, removing grant restrictions altogether, advancing scheduled grant payments, inviting grantees to request new uses of existing budgets and funds, and allowing grantees to adjust grant budgets without seeking prior approval.  
 

Relaxing Reporting Requirements

As grantees reprioritize their work and respond to the outbreak, funders understand that the expectations around completing grant processes and requirements need to be relaxed. In order to support grantees who are spread very thin at the moment, funders are allowing greater flexibility in grant monitoring processes, delaying or suspending reporting requirements, making changes to grant timelines and outcomes, allowing for virtual site visits, and helping grantees to extend their current grants beyond their deadline.
 

Considering Adding an Additional Year to Current Grants

COVID-19 is devastating the nonprofit sector which was already fragile. Given the uncertainty around the outbreak’s duration and the declining financial stability of many nonprofits, many funders are considering the possibility of extending funding of current grants to ease urgent funding concerns and allow grantees to focus on serving their communities. 

 

Offsetting Financial Losses from Canceled Events

The local and statewide ordinances around public gatherings have dramatically impacted nonprofits who depend on events to meet their fundraising goals or realize their missions. In an effort to help organizations who are facing significant financial losses because of COVID-19, funders are taking the following actions to ensure nonprofit resilience and stability: ensuring that grants and sponsorships for approved conferences and events remain in place (regardless whether the event occurs), inviting existing grantees to submit requests for funds to cover costs the organization has or will incur as a direct result of the pandemic.
 

Providing Emergency Cash Assistance

Right now, many nonprofits are working diligently to provide direct services to the communities most impacted by COVID-19. A common, urgent request is the need to get cash flowing on the ground to support our most vulnerable populations. Several funders have begun accelerating or advancing payments on a limited basis to grantees based on circumstances. Others have developed hardship grants for nonprofits to pass on to communities in need.

 

Matching Grants and Donations

In order to amplify the impact of existing giving, corporate funders are implementing strategies to match the donations and gifts from their staff, businesses, nonprofits, other foundations, and more. 
 

Centering Equity in Strategies and Practices

From supporting the immediate needs of organizers and community members on the frontline of this crisis, to ensuring an accurate Census count to denouncing xenophobia and racism, numerous SCG members are taking bold actions grounded in equity. As our diverse communities are disproportionately impacted by this global pandemic, philanthropy can play an important role in ensuring equitable access to information and resources, especially for nonprofits led by people of color and serving marginalized communities.
 

Listening to Nonprofit Partners and Providing Resources

Many SCG members are embodying the spirit of partnership and further build trust with nonprofit partners by asking them what they need. Besides all the best practices above, grantmakers are going above and beyond to be transparent and responsive by offering support outside of funding. The principles of Trust-Based Philanthropy are being tested and put to practice as philanthropy needs to trust nonprofits now more than ever.

 

Signing the Pledge

Over 500 philanthropic organizations around the country memorialized their commitment to providing grantee partners with the flexibility and grace to respond swiftly and confidently at this moment. SCG members who have already shared this commitment include the Annenberg Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Durfee Foundation, Eisner Foundation, Goldhirsh Foundation, Inland Empire Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, Panta Rhea Foundation, Satterberg Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, and more. We hope that SCG members will join the signers of the Council of Foundation’s pledge in their shared commitment to flexibility, listening, and learning. Sign the Pledge. 

 


If you have a strategy you’d like to share with us, please reach out to us directly. You can view our full list of SCG member responses to COVID-19 by visiting our Directory of Responses.  
 
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Directory of SCG Member Responses to COVID-19

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The directory below documents SCG members' responses to COVID-19. The list was last updated at 5:58 PM on Monday, April 6, 2020. To share your responses with SCG, please contact Phuong Pham at [email protected]. For the latest philanthropic response funds, events, and resources, please visit: https://www.philanthropyca.org/covid-19-response.

 

SCG has synthesized the bold actions below into Emerging Grantmaking Trends in Response to COVID-19, a curated list of strategies and actions SCG members have taken to address the impact of this global pandemic. While this is not a comprehensive list of every possible response at this moment, it does provide a high-level snapshot of how our members are innovating and collaborating across sectors to support nonprofit resilience and the wellbeing of our most vulnerable communities. 
 


 

AMGEN FOUNDATION

Funding
  • $12.5 million to support U.S. and global relief efforts to address critical needs in communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to support emergency response efforts in Amgen's U.S. and international communities, patient-focused organizations that are mounting their own response efforts, and international relief efforts by Direct Relief and International Medical Corps. 
  • Match donations made by Amgen staff around the globe who wish to contribute their own funds to the relief efforts. 
Free online learning programs supported by the Amgen Foundation are also available to help students continue their science education during school closures
  • Developed with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, LabXchange is a free online science education platform that provides users with access to personalized instruction, virtual lab experiences and networking opportunities across the global scientific community.
  • Khan Academy has grown its biology offering, with the Amgen Foundation's support, to more than 300 videos, 80 exercise sets and 195 articles.
 

READ MORE

 

ANNENBERG FOUNDATION

Grantmaking Operations
  • The Foundation’s ongoing grantmaking process continues uninterrupted.
  • Conduct site visits virtually.
  • Review and approve grants with a keener eye on COVID-19 and the vexing problems around this pandemic. 
Mitigation assistance grants
  • $100,000 to Brilliant Corners, an innovative non-profit that provides supportive housing assistance.
  • $25,000 to fully supply LA Unified School District’s “Grab and Go” meal centers with medical-grade no-touch digital thermometers.
  • Collaborate with the LA County COVID-19 Response Partners Fund to ascertain the most critical and emerging needs of our region’s vulnerable residents.
 

READ MORE

 

BALLMER GROUP

Donations
  • $250,000 to Los Angeles County’s Office of Education to help support the needs of local school districts and families in the current national health emergency.
  • $100,000 to Brilliant Corners to help the immediate needs of the homeless in Los Angeles in the wake of the coronavirus.
  • $150,000 to the California Community Foundation to support low-income and low-wage workers.
 

READ MORE

 

BANK OF AMERICA FOUNDATION

Funding
  • Commit $100 million to support local communities in need as the world faces unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus.
  • Support Khan Academy’s crisis response and helping the nonprofit drive awareness and reach more families.
 

READ MORE

 

CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Launch COVID-19 LA County Response Fund to address immediate and long-term needs of our region's most vulnerable residents.

The first round of funding includes 70 grants, totaling $1.7, focusing on the needs of youth, homeless, immigrants, uninsured and underinsured.

  • $225,000 – Education: access to food, childcare and academic supports
  • $515,000 – Homelessness: staffing and supplies for safe places to recover or be quarantined for the unhoused
  • $662,504 – Health: patient assessment, staffing and the facilitation of transfers for patients needing treatment or quarantine
  • $175,000 – Immigration: support low-wage, immigrant workers by providing them with critical information and resources to help them access food, services, and other unemployment challenges
  • $195,000 – Hardship Assistance: grants to nonprofit partners in CCF’s Pass It Along (PIA) Program to make aid available to help individuals and families address an immediate, emergency need
 

READ MORE

 

CONRAD N. HILTON FOUNDATION

Grantmaking

 

READ MORE

 
Support for grantees
  • Work with partners to understand where it makes sense to be flexible with current grants. 
  • Honor all existing funding commitments. 
  • Consider how new funding, as available, can provide flexibility to grantee partners during the response to this crisis.  
  • Learn from these emergency efforts and consider how we might apply these lessons to improve our practice in the future.
 

READ MORE

 

CRAIL-JOHNSON FOUNDATION

Grantmaking
  • Maintain regular grantmaking
  • Explore establishing an emergency fund.

 

DIRECT RELIEF

Response focuses
  • Provide assistance in the form of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health workers.
  • Build an ICU medication model and mobilizing private resources to build a stockpile to assist with anticipated spike in ICU patients.
  • Boost support to safety-net facilities to address existing chronic gaps that are likely to grow.
 

READ MORE

 

ECMC FOUNDATION

Support for grantess
  • Institute a COVID-19 Rapid Response Small Grants Program, through which existing grantees are eligible to submit a request for up to $10,000 for any costs the organization has incurred or expects to incur as a direct result of the pandemic.
  • Allow greater flexibility in our grant monitoring process. Grantees will be able to adjust most grant budgets without seeking prior approval, delay reporting and monitoring check-in calls, and make necessary changes to grant timelines and outcomes. 
  • Donate most funds extended for now-canceled conferences and events.

 

READ MORE

 

EISNER FOUNDATION

Increase grant flexibility
  • Convert any restricted funds to general operating support.
  • Suspending all reporting requirements until further notice.
Compile a list of ways intergenerational organizations are responding to program suspension
 

READ MORE

 
Establish the Eisner Foundation Rapid Response Fund
  • Provide Los Angeles County-serving organizations with grants to serve older adults and combat social isolation.
  • Invest in technological solutions or other logistical needs so that organizations can adapt quickly now, and have better infrastructure in place for their long-term work.
  • Allocate $500,000 toward this effort, and grants will range from $5,000-50,000 (one-year terms). 

 

READ MORE

 

FIRST 5 LA

Gather information and share resources to help partners, parents and L.A. County residents impacted by the crisis

 

READ MORE

 

GOLDHIRSH FOUNDATION

Support grantees
  • Invite current grantees to request new uses of existing budgets and funds.
  • Create a streamlined process for grantees to extend their current grants beyond the deadline.
  • Postpone reporting requirements for all current grantees.
  • Extend the deadline for our upcoming grant applications through the My LA2050 Grants Challenge to April 3.
Compile, redistribute, and amplify resources

 

READ MORE

 

HEISING-SIMONS FOUNDATION

Increase grant flexibility
  • Grantees are invited to reach out to program officers to discuss special concerns or needs as a result of the current health issues, including additional strains on budgets that require flexibility or assistance.
Response fund for grantees
  • Offer a rapid response fund for current Foundation grantees to offset unexpected costs incurred for disruptions to operations as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. More information about the eligibility criteria and application process can be found here. The fund will stay open until July 1, 2020, or until resources are expended — whichever comes first.
 

READ MORE

 

INLAND EMPIRE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Establish COVID-19 Resilience Fund
  • Grants will be made to organizations in each county assisting those impacted by job loss or facing homelessness because of COVID-19.
Inland Empire COVID-19 Nonprofit Survey of Needs and Best Practices
  • Ask E nonprofit leaders to fill out a survey. This information will inform requests for funding, grantmaking and technical assistance (TA) responses in the weeks and months ahead.
 

READ MORE

 

THE JAMES IRVINE FOUNDATION

Support grantees
  • Relax and/or renegotiate restrictions on current grants, so that grantees don’t have to worry about previous expectations for activities they have had to cancel or postpone.
  • Reduce restrictions on the use of funds with new grants, wherever possible (something we have increasingly done since 2016)
  • Postpone or eliminate other requests of grantees, such as site visits and reports on their progress
  • Continue listening efforts with grantees and those they serve, so we can be better partners now and into the future
Commit $22 million to bolster the immediate and long-term sustainability of nonprofits on the front lines of the crisis
  • Invest $20 million in Irvine grantees who are critical to California efforts to protect and advance low-wage workers. This Recession Resilience Project will provide immediate emergency funding to core grantees in our Better Careers, Fair Work, and Priority Regions initiatives; technical assistance for financial planning and recovery; and longer-term strategic recession-response grants for these grantees. 
  • Provide approximately $2 million in additional funds to help other grassroots organizations in California to weather this crisis.
 

READ MORE

LIBERTY HILL FOUNDATION

Launch COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund for Community Organizing
  • Support the immediate needs of organizers and community members on the frontlines of this crisis.

 

READ MORE

 

LOS ANGELES DODGERS FOUNDATION

Support grantees
  • increase grant flexibility and continue to closely monitor the philanthropic environment.
  • Extend our application deadline to May 1st. Nonprofits can learn more about applying here.
  • Suspend all reporting requirements through May 1st. 

 

READ MORE

 

MAYOR'S FUND FOR LOS ANGELES

Launch L.A. Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund
  • Priority areas for COVID-19 Response and Relief Funds include: support for families and small businesses, relief for healthcare workers, equipment for health response, services for our unhoused neighbors, powering real-time research.

 

READ MORE

 

S. MARK TAPER FOUNDATION

Grantmaking
  • Evaluate how to best direct emergency funds.
  • Asses adjustments to processes and evaluation.

 

THE CALIFORNIA ENDOWMENT

Increase grant flexibility
  • Relax grant restrictions.
  • Advance a scheduled grant payment.
$5 million COVID-19 response plan
  • Support public health efforts and the immediate social and health services needs of highly vulnerable Californians, including farmworkers/day laborers, the homeless and undocumented individuals.
  • Support regional community partner foundations that will deploy the resources to local non-profit organizations that provide essential social and health services to vulnerable Californians and to statewide networks and associations focused on health care delivery and public health systems.
  • Target those most likely to be severely impacted by COVID-19 due to lack of awareness, language barriers, and lack of access to health care, including the homeless, low-wage earners such as farm workers and day laborers, and undocumented Californians.

 

READ MORE

 

THE CALIFORNIA WELLNESS FOUNDATION

Respond to community needs
  • Ask community partners what’s needed and then moving resources to organizations mobilizing efforts across the state. 
Grantmaking commitment: $4 million to combat the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Support the most vulnerable communities and people in our state: frontline health workers, economically disadvantaged people, immigrants, seniors, and Asian Americans experiencing race-based harassment and assaults, among others.
  • Support some current grantee partners who are experiencing significant disruptions to their work.
  • Support community clinics and the associations that advocate for them.
Addressing urgent needs through immediate response grants
  • Grants to community foundations and United Ways
  • Grants to organizations providing essential services and advocacy
  • $730,000 in core support grants to select small- and mid-size grantees
Changing grantmaking systems to support current grantees
  • Extend grant periods to allow grantees more time to meet their grant objectives.
  • Make funding even more flexible by removing restrictions when needed.
  • Put a moratorium on all grant reports.
  • Ensure that grants that have been approved for upcoming conferences and events remain in place, whether the event ultimately occurs or not.

 

READ MORE

 

THE JEWISH COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Giving opportunities
  • Continue to provide giving opportunities as well as advice on how philanthropy can help support our most vulnerable neighbors.

 

READ MORE

 

THE RALPH M. PARSONS FOUNDATION

Uninterrupted grantmaking operations
  • Conduct site visits virtually.
  • Continue to accept LOIs on a rolling basis through an online portal.
  • Process grant payments in a timely manner.
Flexibility for grantees
  • Open to modify existing funding including converting all or a portion into general operating support.
  • Suspend all reporting requirements due through the end of the year.
  • Accelerate payments on a limited basis for multi-year funding based on individual circumstances.  

 

READ MORE

 

UNITED WAY OF GREATER LOS ANGELES

Create Pandemic Relief Fund
  • Support L.A. County’s unsheltered residents who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, and low-income individuals, students and families at imminent risk of homelessness and hardships due to health and economic impacts of coronavirus.

 

READ MORE

 

GUILLERMO J. VALENZUELA FOUNDATION

Support grantees
  • Re-categorize current open project grants to general operating support and loosen reporting requirements. 
Grantmaking
  • $25,000 contribution to the Inland Empire Funders Alliance Rapid Response Fund, administered by the Inland Empire Community Foundation. 

 

VENTURA COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Create Ventura County Rapid Response Fund
  • Support those organizations providing basic human needs to individuals, families, and small business in Ventura County.

 

READ MORE

 

WEINGART FOUNDATION

Increase grant flexibility
  • Unrestricted operating support from the Weingart Foundation is completely unrestricted and can be used to help nonprofits adapt and adjust during this time.
  • For project-based grants, conversations are welcomed should grantees need to adjust grant goals, deliverables, or timelines. 
  • On a more limited basis, the Foundation can also consider requests to augment or accelerate approved grant payments, based on your individual circumstances.
Supporting Communities
  • The Weingart Foundation is working with key public agencies, colleague funders, and nonprofits to develop a swift and collaborative response to support communities, especially in low-income areas and among people who are homeless. More information to be available.
 

READ MORE

 

WELLS FARGO FOUNDATION

Donate $6.25 Million to Aid in Coronavirus Response
  • Support domestic and global response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and to aid public health relief efforts.
  • $1 million for the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Relief Fund.
  • 250,000 to the International Medical Corps for their work in more than 30 countries. 
  • Donate up to $5 million at the local level to help address community-specific needs in the coming months.

 

READ MORE

 

WOMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CALIFORNIA

Provide immediate additional funding 
  • Immediately augmented existing general support grants to our core partners to help offset the immediate impacts of the COVID19 pandemic to organizations. 
  • See additional flexible funding as the best way to support partners who are on the frontline supporting some of our most vulnerable communities.
  • Similar to our other grants, these dollars are provided as General Operating Support so organizations can be responsive to their communities and their staff. 
Launch Relief and Resilience Fund
  • Resource organizations on the frontlines in the immediate and long term.
  • Offset impact fundraising and revenue of many of our partner organizations. 

 

READ MORE

 

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COVID-19 Weekly Update: March 19, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear SCG Community, 

As we continue to face the unprecedented realities of the COVID-19 outbreak, we hope you and your loved ones are staying well. In the last couple of days, Southern California Grantmakers has brought together our communities to share knowledge, coordinate resources, and support our most vulnerable communities. During this crisis, SCG's emergency mission is to mobilize philanthropy to respond rapidly, effectively, and equitably to the COVID-19 pandemic, by fostering inclusive collaboration, learning, and bold actions. 

In the coming weeks, SCG will continue to be a critical partner to philanthropy by virtually convening funders across the state for timely programs, tracking the latest emergency funds, staying connected with government agencies, and elevating the needs of our local nonprofits and communities. To provide you with the most up-to-date information, we will temporarily suspend our monthly Corporate Brief and Public Policy Roundup, and transition my platform on the SCG President's Message to a weekly COVID-19 newsletter. 

This past week, SCG created online gatherings for over 800 funders to exchange ideas. You will find below key takeaways and actions from our webinars and first weekly funders' briefing call.

Additionally, we invite our members to join the SCG EXCHANGE for Urgent-Need Grants online portal, which was designed by our family foundation members to share time-sensitive funding opportunities in their communities.

Lastly, we have been inspired by your timely actions to strengthen communities. In this week's updates, read about SCG members who are building flexibility and resilience into their grantmaking, in addition to a new set of COVID-19 response funds. 

In solidarity with you during these trying times,

Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers  


COVID-19 PROGRAMS & TAKEAWAYS    

How Philanthropy Can Support Local Solutions During School Closures

 Grantmakers for Education, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and Southern California Grantmakers hosted a webinar to discuss the needs of Los Angeles students during this crisis, ways for philanthropy to support, and opportunities for government coordination. Watch the recorded webinar below or review our high-level notes. 

WATCH WEBINAR
VIEW RESOURCES


Southern California Funders Weekly Briefing on COVID-19 (March 19) 

SCG began hosting weekly funder briefings in an effort to support the critical work of our members and ensure coordination regarding community needs and collaboration opportunities across our region. This week, we heard from The California Endowment, St. Joseph Health Community Partnership Fund, Center for Strategic Partnerships, and United Way of Greater Los Angeles to share their rapid response efforts.

WATCH WEBINAR
REGISTER FOR UPCOMING FUNDER CALLS
 

How Philanthropy Can Support and Enhance the Government Response to COVID-19

Last week, Philanthropy California hosted a webinar to clarify how the government has organized its response to COVID-19 and how philanthropy can support and augment leadership on all levels while emphasizing community resiliency and support for our most vulnerable community members. View the webinar below or read our high-level notes. 

WATCH WEBINAR

 
Kathleen Kelly Janus—Senior Advisor on Social Innovation to Governor Gavin Newsom and one of our webinar speakers—followed her presentation with "COVID19: What Philanthropy Can Do," which provides numerous ways for philanthropy to support community needs, innovation, and interventions alongside the statewide response. 

READ MORE

 


EXCHANGE FOR URGENT-NEED GRANTS      

The SCG EXCHANGE for Urgent-Need Grants is an online space for SCG members to share urgent-need funding opportunities—such as emergency funding, matching grants, or other time-sensitive situations—with each other. SCG members may post time-sensitive funding needs for vetted nonprofits or on behalf of other external organizations that neither you nor your organization will directly benefit from. Click below to learn more or join the Exchange. 

FAQ
JOIN THE EXCHANGE
 

SUPPORTING NONPROFIT RESILIENCE       

Along with our members and philanthropic colleagues, SCG has been thinking about how COVID-19 will impact our sector in the long and short terms, and how to bolster nonprofit resilience. The following examples highlight a few foundations in the SCG network and beyond who have reached out to their community partners during this crisis to support capacity building, offer more flexibilities, and embody a spirit of partnership between funders and grantees. Have you sent out similar messages? We would love to help amplify your strategies. 

 

Rapid Response Funds for Nonprofit Operations

In addition to the public health crisis brought on by COVID-19, the outbreak has also caused a considerable economic strain on our communities and partners. To address the financial strain felt by nonprofit, the Heising-Simons Foundation set up a rapid response fund to offset the costs incurred for disruptions to operations as a result of the outbreak. Similarly, the Women's Foundation of California established the Community Power Fund to help current grantees maintain their operations and adapt to the health and financial impacts caused by COVID-19.

     
Flexible Grants and Timelines

To help organizations respond to the needs of their staff members and communities, Weingart Foundation continues to provide Unrestricted Operating Support to nonprofits, adjusts project-based grant timelines, and can increase or accelerate approved grant payments. The Eisner Foundation is converting any restricted funds to general operating support, in addition to suspending all reporting requirements until further notice. The California Endowment's grantees can benefit from relaxed grant restrictions or advancing a scheduled grant payment. The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation added one additional year of funding to every grant to ease some funding concerns and allow nonprofits to focus on serving their communities.

 
Trust-Based Philanthropy

Philanthropy needs to trust nonprofits now more than ever. Join Philanthropy California and the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project for the first of a six-webinar series to learn how a trust-based approach can be particularly effective in supporting nonprofit partners in concrete, meaningful ways. 

REGISTER NOW
   

 COVID-19 RESPONSE FUNDS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA    

The following SCG members have launched funds in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

The California Community Foundation
Inland Empire Community Foundation
Latino Community Foundation
Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles
Santa Barbara Foundation
The Fund 
Ventura County Community Foundation
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Our team vetted various national, statewide, and regional response funds to help you direct resources to the most vulnerable communities. Please click below to see the full list, which is updated on a daily basis. We hope that it will help you stay informed and support families, businesses, community-based organizations, and others during this crisis.

VIEW ALL RESPONSE FUNDS

 

 

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SCG President's Message - February 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020

DEAR SCG COMMUNITY, 

We are just days away from California’s Primary Presidential Election and the possibilities for our state are tremendous. In this critical inflection point in history, the go-it-alone strategies of the past simply cannot meet the obstacles before us. More than ever before, we need to partner with government in order to maintain the speed of progress. 

I am proud to spotlight the ways in which philanthropic leaders have begun to navigate the complexities of government, advocacy, and civic engagement. Over the past several weeks, SCG members have attended a historic philanthropy summit at the Governor's Mansion, engaged in a deep dive of the Governor's proposed budget for 2020-21, supported a nonpartisan candidates forum for the Los Angeles County Second District, and taken many other steps to broaden philanthropy's role in changing systems and strengthening our communities.

Additionally, our staff at SCG carried the spirit of the National Day of Racial Healing into Black History Month by watching the four-part docuseries, “400 Years Later… ’free-ish,” which explores the 400-year commemoration of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia in late August 1619. As we watched the journey of fifteen HBCU students in their efforts to learn our history and promote reconciliation, I was reminded of the power of storytelling in racial healing and would like to share some resources to spark more healing conversations below.

What lies ahead of our collaboration will not always be the easiest path, but I am confident that we can innovate, heal, and move forward collectively. As we prepare to cast our votes, I invite us to continue thinking big, taking risks, and imagining how we can propel California toward a future that is equitable for everyone. 

Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers     

 


PHILANTHROPY IN ACTION

A Conversation on Advocacy and Systems Change with Alba Bautista from First 5 LA

In March, the SCG Public Policy team will once again attend Foundations on the Hill with funders representing Philanthropy California. As our delegation prepares for meetings with Members of Congress, we spoke to Alba Bautista, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at First 5 LA, and three times FOTH attendee. In this conversation, we tackle the role of civic engagement in philanthropy, First 5 LA’s ongoing system change efforts, and some tips for first time FOTH attendees. 

READ MORE

   
Key Learnings from the Los Angeles County Second District Supervisorial Forum

 
In partnership with The Chronicle of Social Change and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, SCG hosted a nonpartisan forum for candidates running for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ Second District. Read our key learnings from our event. 

VIEW LEARNINGS

 

Update on the UBIT Tax Repeal and the Simplified Private Foundation Excise Tax

 
Last December, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1865) was signed into law, ushering in two victories for private foundations and the nonprofit sector: a simplification of the private foundation excise tax rate from a two-tier system to a flat rate and a retroactive repeal of the UBIT tax on nonprofit transportation benefits. 

READ MORE

 

A Historic Summit at the Governor’s Mansion

 
Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom welcomed over 45 philanthropic leaders to the Governor’s Mansion for the first Philanthropy Summit in modern state history. Philanthropy California played an instrumental role in shaping the day, which brought together the Governor's senior leadership and philanthropic leaders to have candid conversations about tackling the biggest challenges ahead for California.

READ MORE

 

Breaking Down the Governor's 2020-21 State Budget

 
On January 10, Governor Gavin Newsom submitted his 2020-21 State Budget proposal to the Legislature. Seyron Foo, SCG’s Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations, met with SCG's Corporate Leadership Council to break down the budget proposals most likely to impact the philanthropic sector.

LEARN MORE

 

SCG's 2020 Public Policy Forecast

 
This year, SCG is committed to tracking the policy trends most likely to impact our members' grantmaking strategies and their ability to fulfill their missions. Our Public Policy and Government Affairs team has identified three trends likely to impact the philanthropic sector in 2020: more proposed state regulations on philanthropy, increasing pressures on vulnerable communities, and a focus on housing policy at the ballot box.

VIEW TREND ANALYSIS

Interested in keeping up-to-date with the latest public policy news, updates, and trends? Visit the SCG Takes Action page to explore our Public Policy Team's latest legislative breakdowns, issue analyses, and policy stances. 

VISIT PAGE

 


ADVOCACY RESOURCES     

How Philanthropy Can Create Public Systems Change

 
This story from the Stanford Social Innovation Review explores a program designed to increase access to public higher education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Californians in order to highlight the potential of public and philanthropic partnerships. 

READ MORE

 

National Day of Racial Healing Action Kit for Philanthropic Organizations

Last month, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation hosted the National Day of Racial Healing, a day dedicated to sharing truth, deepening relationships, and building trust to create a more equitable future. Below, you'll find the W.K. Kelogg Foundation's Philanthropy Action Kit for organizations interested in sparking and furthering racial healing conversations among their communities. 

ACCESS ACTION KIT
 

These Modern-Day Harriet Tubmans Are Leading People to Freedom

 
The California Wellness Foundation's Women's Initiatives are supporting the work of organizations that have committed their lives to the fight for justice and freedom. Program Director, Crystal D. Crawford, celebrates three fearless, relentless, and visionary leaders carrying on the legacy of Harriet Tubman through their efforts to create paths to health, wellness, and freedom for Californians.

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UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

MAR 09-11 | Attend 2020 Foundations on the Hill

Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), is a two-day event that brings together hundreds of foundation leaders from across the country to meet with Members of Congress to discuss issues of critical importance to philanthropy and the communities we serve.

REGISTER

 

MAY 05-08 | Apply to the 2020 Funders Policy Institute

The Funders Policy Institute is an immersive program where participants directly engage with and learn from policymakers and advocates while also connecting with other philanthropists who share a deep committed to effective, policy-based grantmaking. To join, apply by March 6, 2020. 

APPLY

 

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A Conversation on Advocacy and Systems Change with Alba Bautista from First 5 LA

Friday, February 28, 2020

On March 9-11, 2020, a delegation of Philanthropy California members will attend 2020 Foundations on the Hill, an annual event that brings together hundreds of foundation leaders from across the country to meet with legislators in Washington, DC, to discuss issues of critical importance to philanthropy and the communities we serve. This year, our Public Policy team has confirmed meetings with Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, Rep. Harley Rouda, and other Members of Congress. These meetings are essential for lawmakers to understand the role of philanthropy, and for SCG members to share their knowledge and expertise on issues we collectively invest in. 

We spoke to Alba Bautista, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at First 5 LA, and three times FOTH attendee. At First 5 LA, Alba focuses on building new partnerships with the philanthropic sector across our health, early education, and community-based strategic priorities. In this conversation, we tackle the role of civic engagement in philanthropy, First 5 LA’s system change efforts, and some tips for first time FOTH attendees. 


 
What is First 5 LA’s policy and agenda and what role does civic engagement play in these efforts?

Our North Star is that all children in Los Angeles County will enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life by 2028. To achieve this mission, we aim to support systems by providing improved and coordinated services for young children and families. We believe our best contribution to children and families is through policy change, practice change, and public will-building. Civic engagement plays a role in policy change to change rules governing institutions, practices, and resource allocation.

 

Can you share an example of how First 5 LA is working toward systems change? 

A successful example that is still in progress is our food security strategy. First 5 LA has been focused on access to affordable, healthy food, and the broader government programs that promote food security. LA County has one of the lowest CalFresh (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participation rates in the country – less than 70% of eligible households participate leaving over $1.2 billion in federal funding on the table and thousands of families without access to the food they need. The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), who manages the CalFresh program, has embarked on numerous efforts to close this gap, but participation remains low.
 
To address the food access gap, First 5 LA partnered with DPSS to engage communities and collect data on people’s experiences with food insecurity. Working with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council with the goal of improving DPSS’s outreach strategy and processes, Fresh Ideas for CalFresh focus groups are being held in each Supervisorial District to learn directly from parents about their barriers to accessing CalFresh. Information and data collected from these focus groups will be aggregated and summarized in a report due out in June, outlining recommendations for improving the CalFresh delivery system and inform investment strategies for the future.
 

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for philanthropic leaders to increase their impact on democracy and civic life?

There are many challenges and opportunities, but to start, it is to develop a shared understanding of what we mean by civic engagement in a county as large, racially and linguistically diverse as Los Angeles. For example, civic engagement can be the strategy we employ to ensure all residents complete the upcoming 2020 Census and the process by which increased engagement is achieved, including facilitating the spaces and infrastructure to promote civic engagement.  
 
Best Start is First 5 LA’s primary investment for engaging communities in a common vision and intention for children and families to thrive, working to strengthen community leadership and collaboration across sectors. Best Start includes 14 geographic areas that have faced historic disenfranchisement. We are developing approaches for building the capacity of parents, nonprofits, built environment advocates, and other stakeholders to help catalyze community-level change that supports the health and wellbeing of young children and their families.
 

What attracted you to FOTH? What did you appreciate the most about this opportunity? 

FOTH presents an opportunity to join our advocacy efforts with our philanthropic partners and diversify the voices that champion early childhood issues. I appreciate the opportunity to build relationships with policymakers and the platform that FOTH provides to elevate the issues and policies that are important in our communities, particularly those of young children. I learned that one does not need a public policy background to be an advocate. Sharing our stories and experiences working in Los Angeles County play a role in educating policymakers and building their will to prioritize young children’s issues and potentially spark partnership in the future. Funders are a resource to the public sector and we should not shy away from showing up as advocates to affect change.  

 

Do you have any advice for first-time FOTH attendees?

It can feel overwhelming to attend your first advocacy trip. You are going from meeting to meeting and there is a lot of information shared during the trip, but you’ll have the materials and guidance you need to tell your story. SCG and Philanthropy California colleagues are a great resource and partner at FOTH. 

 


If you are interested in attending FOTH next month, visit our FOTH page to learn more about registration. 


 

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Key Learnings from the Los Angeles County Second District Supervisorial Forum

Thursday, February 27, 2020

A candidate event is a powerful tool to engage our community around an upcoming election, to deep dive into the issues that matter most, and to learn more about candidates. On January 31, Southern California Grantmakers, in partnership with The Chronicle of Social Change and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, hosted a nonpartisan forum for candidates running for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ Second District.  

Four candidates participated in the forum— Koreatown lawyer Jake Jeong, former LA City Councilmember Jan Perry, State Senator Holly Mitchell, and LA City Councilmember Herb Wesson — and shared their visions for building a bolder and more equitable future for the district. Over 200 residents, activists, community organizations, and philanthropic leaders from the district attended the event to hear the candidates tackle issues such as housing & homelessness, child welfare, and youth justice reform. For an in-depth overview of each candidate’s positions on these issues, visit The Chronicle for Social Change’s recap of the forum. 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors serves as the county’s executive and legislative governing body, guiding and directing county agencies, services, and departments for the region’s 10 million residents. The next Second District Supervisor will follow the current Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and will serve approximately 2 million Angelenos spanning from South Los Angeles, Culver City, Inglewood, Carson, to Koreatown over the course of a four-year term.  

Here are five key takeaways from the event: 
 

  1. Ask the Candidates Thoughtful Questions: Before the forum, we brainstormed the issues we believed would be most important for the community before the election. We then sent each candidate a questionnaire where they shared their positions on these issues in addition to their other qualifications in order to develop a more tailored set of questions. 
  2. Reach Out to Community Partners: We partnered extensively with United Way of Greater Los Angeles and their organizing team to recruit nonprofit partners that had deep roots and extensive relationships in the Second District residents. Our partners helped us build awareness around the event and as well as secure investment from community residents. 
  3. Utilize Community Voices to Structure the Event: It was vital for us to ensure that we had a diverse pool of community voices to help structure the debate. Before the forum, we gathered questions from the public via an online submission process and then used the responses to shape the content and structure of the forum. We then asked our nonprofit community partners to go on stage and ask the candidates the community’s questions. 
  4. Create Eligibility Requirements for Candidates: From the initial planning stages, we were aware that in order to facilitate a fruitful conversation, we would not be able to host every running candidate at our forum. In order to narrow our candidate list, we extended an invitation only to candidates who had completed campaign forms and reported donations. Through this, we were able to focus more attention on the most pressing issues for the residents of the Second District. 
  5. Establish Clear Parameters for a Robust Conversation: By maintaining constant communication and establishing clear expectations for the candidates, we were able to host an event focused on issues and communities and avoided tangents and partisan debates. 

 

SCG is proud to have co-hosted this forum that provided an opportunity for residents and community leaders in the Second District to engage in the democratic process and learn more about the candidates. In 2020, SCG will continue to support efforts to promote voter education and civic engagement in local, state-wide, and national elections. 

On March 3, 2020, California voters will vote for the candidate who they believe will serve their communities best. The top two candidates will advance to the general election in November. 
 

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Update on The UBIT Tax Repeal and the Simplified Private Foundation Excise Tax

Thursday, February 27, 2020

In late December, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1865) was signed into law, ushering in two significant victories for private foundations and the nonprofit sector. H.R. 1865 includes a simplification of the private foundation excise tax rate from a two-tier system to a flat rate, as well as a retroactive repeal of the UBIT tax on nonprofit transportation benefits. These long-awaited changes will allow private foundations to better focus their funding on meeting community needs.

The simplification of the private foundation excise tax has received strong support from our members and has long been a goal for our sector. Philanthropy California, in collaboration with national, regional, and local partners — including Independent Sector, Alliance for Charitable Reform, Council on Foundations, and United Philanthropy Forum — has advocated diligently for the simplification of the private foundation excise tax to a flat rate of 1.39 percent for several years. By simplifying the tax, private foundations will spend less time managing year-to-year payout to minimize their tax burden and can instead focus on serving nonprofit partners by deploying more resources to community-led solutions. The new flat-rate tax went into effect on December 20, 2019. 

Additionally, the tax on nonprofits related to transportation benefits (known as unrelated business income tax or UBIT) was retroactively repealed. The repeal was led by a coalition of thousands of nonprofits whose persistent advocacy achieved bipartisan support throughout Congress. The IRS recently issued guidance to help nonprofits and foundations secure a refund on the nonprofit transportation benefits tax they paid in 2018 and 2019. Nonprofits interested in claiming a refund can find visit the IRS website to access the full instructions. 

On behalf of Philanthropy California, our members, and our partners across the state, we would like to express our gratitude to the bipartisan negotiators, the California Congressional Delegation who supported the legislation, and our coalition of foundation leaders for their work. This effort would not have been possible without the relationships we have built over the last four years with philanthropic leaders from across the state. 

If you would get involved in our national public policy work, join the Philanthropy California delegation at Foundations on the Hill, March 9-11, a two-day gathering designed for foundations and grantmaking associations across the nation to engage with elected officials around the policies most important to philanthropy. 

 

Seyron Foo 
Vice President, Public Policy & Government Affairs
Southern California Grantmakers & Philanthropy California

[email protected]

 

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February 2020: SCG Public Policy Roundup

Thursday, February 20, 2020

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

And we’re off! Over the last month, philanthropy has been a crucial civic player in California. For the first time in modern state history, philanthropy and state government leaders joined together at a summit in the Governor’s Mansion to wrestle with the most challenging problems we face as a state. Locally, we worked with partners to host a candidate forum for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors focusing on child welfare, juvenile justice, homelessness, and affordable housing.
 
SCG’s Public Policy Committee met earlier this month to adopt our 2020 Public Policy Agenda and voted on issues to be discussed before state and federal policymakers. We’ve included below the analysis of these items pertaining to housing, homelessness, and education.
 
Finally, it’s not too late to join us for Foundations on the Hill on March 9-11, 2020. We’ve confirmed meetings with Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, Rep. Harley Rouda among many more! These meetings are essential to educating our members about the role of philanthropy and in sharing your knowledge and expertise on issues you invest in. As always, we welcome any feedback on this newsletter.


PHILANTHROPY IN ACTION 

Philanthropy California Attends Historic Philanthropy Summit at Governor’s Mansion

Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom welcomed over 45 philanthropy leaders to the Governor’s Mansion for the first Philanthropy Summit in modern state history. Philanthropy California played an instrumental role in shaping the day which brought together the Governor's senior leadership and philanthropic leaders to have candid conversations about tackling the challenges ahead for California. 

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SCG Co-Hosts Candidate Forum for The Los Angels County Second District

On January 31, in partnership with The Chronicle of Social Change and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, SCG hosted a nonpartisan forum for candidates running for the Los Angeles County Second District’s supervisorial seat. 

Four candidates participated in the forum Koreatown lawyer Jake Jeong, former LA City Councilmember Jan Perry, State Senator Holly Mitchell, and LA City Councilmember Herb Wesson — and shared their visions for building a bolder and more equitable future for the district. Over 200 residents, activists, community organizations, and philanthropic leaders from the district attended the event to hear the candidates tackle issues such as housing & homelessness, child welfare, and youth justice reform. For an in-depth overview of each candidate’s positions on these issues, visit The Chronicle for Social Change’s recap of the forum

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors serves as the county’s executive and legislative governing body, guiding and directing county agencies, services, and departments for the region’s 10 million residents. The next Second District Supervisor will follow the current Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and will serve approximately 2 million Angelenos spanning from Culver City, Carson, to Koreatown over the course of a four-year term.  

SCG is proud to have co-hosted this forum that provided an opportunity for residents and community leaders in the Second District to engage in the democratic process and grow as an informed electorate. In 2020, SCG will continue to support efforts to promote voter education and civic engagement in local, statewide, and national elections. The forum was generously sponsored by The Liberty Hill Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, The Weingart Foundation, California Community Foundation, Achieving America Family Foundation, Corporation for Supportive Housing, and Liberate Language Justice.

On March 3, 2020, California voters will vote for the candidate who they believe will serve their communities best. The top two candidates will advance to the general election in November.

 


SCG POLICY POSITION UPDATE

AB 1907 (Santiago): Supportive and Affordable Housing 

SCG supports AB 1907 which streamlines construction of permanent supportive housing and affordable housing developments – projects reserved for individuals and families making 80% or less of the regions’ median income – throughout the entire state by making exceptions to the California Environmental Quality Act’s (CEQA).

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SB 676 & H.R. 4038: Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarship Act

SCG supports bills SB 676 & H.R. 4038 which seek to amend the IRS Code of 1986 to include post-graduate scholarship grants as a qualified tax-exempt scholarship. Currently, the federal government only views pre-graduation scholarship grants as tax-exempt.

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 UPCOMING POLICY EVENTS

FEB 26 | Protecting Our Democracy: National and Local Voices

Join SCG, Liberty Hill Foundation, and Singer Philanthropy on February 26 for an intimate discussion with three national leaders to learn about how some of the top civic engagement organizations are protecting the voting rights of vulnerable communities. This conversation will focus on actions and lessons learned outside California, as well as efforts in the state to engage voters around vital issues affecting underserved communities.

REGISTER

  

FEB 28 | Evaluating Systems Change Efforts: Where to Start (Webinar)

Join FSG and the Collective Impact Forum on February 28 for a free webcast discussion with Hallie Preskill and Joelle Cook who lead FSG’s Strategic Learning and Evaluation practice, as we delve into how evaluating system change is different from evaluating programs, and talk about some of the core evaluation principles needed when advancing systems change work.

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RESOURCES AND REPORTS

THE 2020 CALIFORNIA CHILDREN'S REPORT CARD (CHILDREN NOW) 

This report card grades the state on its ability to support better outcomes for kids based on progress on passing and implementing state-level policies and making investments in the supports and services needed for all kids to reach their full potential.

2020 ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS CENSUS MAPPING TOOL (APIP) 

This new mapping tool aims to help journalists, decision-makers, and community organizations can better understand the diversity and geographic settlement patterns of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the 20 largest metropolitan areas for Asian Americans in the United States. 

INCOME INEQUALITY IN CALIFORNIA FACT SHEET (PCIP) 

This fact sheet discusses the widening income gap trend across California and details how the job market favors educated workers.

THE 2019 LOS ANGELES WOMEN'S NEEDS ASSESSMENT (DOWNTOWN WOMEN'S CENTER) 

This newly released assessment highlights key findings and addresses the critical steps needed to support the thousands of women experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.

HOUSING NOT HANDCUFFS REPORT (NATIONAL LAW CENTER ON HOMELESSNESS & POVERTY) 

This report provides an overview of the criminalization of homelessness in America and reviews laws in effect across the country that punish homelessness. The report also follows and tracks the significant growth of these laws over the past thirteen years. 

 

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SCG Attends Historic Summit at Governor’s Mansion

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Photo Courtesy of the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom.

By Seyron Foo

 

The relationship between philanthropy and state government grew even stronger this past month as Governor Gavin Newsom welcomed over 45 philanthropy leaders from across the state – and country – to the Governor’s Mansion for the first Philanthropy Summit in modern state history. Philanthropy California – the alliance of Southern California, Northern California, and San Diego Grantmakers – played an instrumental role in shaping the day and serving as a thought partner to Kathleen Kelly Janus, Senior Advisor on Social Innovation to the Governor. 

The summit provided a unique opportunity to bring together the senior leadership of the Governor’s Administration – the people responsible for crafting and implementing policy – and the philanthropic leaders –who work with communities to innovate and take risks – to have candid conversations about tackling the challenges ahead for our state. This included exchanging ideas, forging the relationships necessary to achieve systems change, and developing action items to continue the commitments made during the day.

The summit focused on several priority areas of both the Governor and philanthropy, including housing and homelessness, gender equity, early childhood development, adverse childhood experiences, economic opportunity, criminal justice reform, and economic development in Inland California, and climate change.

A few through lines from the day emerged:

 

  • People-First. A repeated refrain from the Governor’s staff included the need for talent and expertise to complement the senior leadership in the Governor’s Office. For example, Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, the state’s first-ever Surgeon General, noted that she simply does not have the staff with the expertise to work with her on a daily basis for implementing the several pilot programs around adverse childhood experiences. The complexities of having to hire people within the state bureaucracy make it incredibly challenging to bring in experts to innovate and create.

  • Government Gets It. Governor Gavin Newsom made clear that philanthropy is a crucial partner but that state government ultimately bears the responsibility of funding and providing basic social services to communities. He noted that the state’s budget of $220 billion is much larger than the combined philanthropic giving of $10 billion in annual giving. This represented a fundamental shift in attitude from state government by moving away from an “ATM” view of philanthropy and toward a recognition of the government’s role in moving tremendous resources.

  • Accountability. Cathy Cha, President of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Foundation noted that philanthropy also has a role in holding government accountable to its commitments. Philanthropy has the resources that allow our sector to speak candidly with government officials about what is – and isn’t – working. These resources insulate us from political pressures and put us in a unique position to be honest partners – and to channel, support and hold space for voices of communities and nonprofit partners to rise up.

The leadership of Kathleen Kelly Janus, who oversees public-private partnerships in the Governor's Administration, has proven to be the catalyst that has developed and deepened meaningful relationships with state policymakers. Through Ms. Janus's tenacity and sophisticated understanding of the sector, philanthropy has reached an important milestone in advancing public-private partnerships. SCG, through Philanthropy California, will continue to work closely with the Governor’s Office to keep the momentum from this incredible day for philanthropy and our public sector partners.

 

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Breaking Down the Governor's Proposed 2020-21 Budget

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

On January 10, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom submitted his 2020-21 State Budget proposal to the Legislature. Seyron Foo, SCG’s Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations, has provided an overview of the proposals in the budget most likely to impact the philanthropic sector. 

The following is an abridged version of the presentation Seyron shared with SCG’s Corporate Leadership Council on January 23, 2020. 


We’re at the beginning stages of the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 State Budget. The final budget will be passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor on June 15, 2020. This means that the budget can still be shaped by organizations, philanthropists, and the Legislature. This overview will cover the trends we believe will be the most impactful to philanthropy: housing & homelessness, anti-poverty, disaster preparedness, workforce development, K-12 education, and the Cal Fresh Benefits. 

Revenue Forecast

The Governor’s budget is in effect a $220 billion proposal. California’s main revenue sources come from the Personal Income Tax, the Sales & Use Tax, and the Corporate Income Tax. Currently, the state budget has a $6 billion surplus due to the increase in corporate tax revenue. This is about $5 billion more than the previous year. In terms of collection, the Personal Income Tax was down by $1.5 billion and the Sales & Use Tax held steady. 

It is important to consider how substantially the decline in the Personal Income Tax might impact the budget in the years to come, as it accounts for about 60% of all state revenue. As we see volatility in the stock market, we’ll likely see how the state government will be able to provide key services. The good news is that California has learned from past experiences and has put away $21 billion into a “rainy day” fund over the last few years to safeguard vital services from such volatility.

Housing & Homelessness 

Since 2006, rents have increased by about 16%, while median annual earnings have only increased by 2.1%. Today, about 50% of Californians are rent-burdened, which means that they pay more than 30% of their income to rent. There’s a connection here in terms of what is affordable and isn't affordable and how that can contribute to homelessness in California. To address housing specifically, the Governor’s budget proposes $500 million for the low-income housing tax credit, the same amount as last year. The Governor has also cited about $4.5 billion dollars in private funding, mainly from technology companies in the Bay Area. So while Apple and Facebook have committed billions of dollars to affordable housing projects in their regions, we're not seeing any money for construction from the state budget aside from what was included last year.

To address homelessness in California, the Governor is proposing a $750 million one-time investment to a pooled fund known as the California Access to Housing and Services Fund. The fund will have three core features: rental subsidies, affordable housing units, and board and care facilities. As of now, the Governor has stated that the funds will be dispersed according to performance-based contracts with the state and regional administrators. This fund is based on the innovative work in Los Angeles County’s Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool which grew out of a partnership between LA County, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Weingart Foundation, and LA Care. 

But what does dispersing this much money look like? The unique feature of this proposal is that the Governor is asking philanthropy, corporations, and private individuals to contribute into this fund. The Legislative Analyst’s Office has raised questions about this approach because it’s new for the state government to propose mixing a public state fund with private philanthropic dollars. In addition, the Legislative Analyst's Office has questions about the fund's location in the Department of Social Services rather than in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services has shared his perspective that because the social safety net is such a core component of successful housing, its location in the Department of Social Services makes the most sense in bringing together different streams of funding. Since the launch of the fund, two companies have committed $45 million: Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente. 

Anti-Poverty

The earned income tax credit (EITC) is a key component of the governor's budget to address anti-poverty. There are currently three million eligible tax filers in the state. Last year, the Governor expanded the program to reflect the increase in the minimum wage. This year, the program will not be expanded and so it will remain as a $1 billion tax credit to families. Although advocates have pushed for the inclusion of undocumented immigrants who file their taxes through their individual taxpayer identification number to be included in the program, the Governor's budget has not included them this year. 

Disaster Preparedness 

Wildfires are a huge focus for the Governor this year. His budget includes a proposal for the creation of a Wildfire Forecast Center that will seek to better predict fire weather systems. There’s also a $2.2 billion investment proposal to increase our state-wide firefighter capacity to 677 positions over the course of five years. Lastly, the budget includes a pilot program that will provide funding for home-hardening improvements to make homes more resistant to fire hazards to low-income communities in areas of high fire risk. 

Workforce Development 

On the workforce development side, the Governor is introducing the new Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages, which will consolidate the workforce functions across different agencies in labor and workforce development. The idea is that the programs from the Employment Development Department and the Department of Industrial Relations will come together with the goal of aligning data and policy for the state's workforce training programs. 

K-12 Education 

California is unique in that education funding is already pre-committed by Proposition 98, which means that about half of all the fungible dollars in the general fund are already committed to education. However, early childhood education is not necessarily a part of Prop 98’s funds. The Governor is responding to this by proposing the creation of a new Department of Early Childhood Development which will bring together different funding streams into one agency. It will be interesting to see how the Governor attempts to combine funds that are separately managed like the Department of Education which is managed by a whole independently elected constitutional officer, the State Superintendent.

The Governor is also continuing his commitment to increasing Universal Preschool for eligible families. Currently, there are 30,000 eligible families who are unable to receive state preschool. Last year, the Governor committed 10,000 slots, and this year he's creating another 10,000 slots. At this pace, it is likely he will achieve his version of a universal preschool for eligible families by the end of 2022. 

On the K-12 side, we're seeing the highest-ever funding at a per-pupil level, with the current funding being approximately $5,600 higher than it was nine years ago. An increase in the local control funding formula (LCFF) of $1.2 billion dollars will focus on students with special education needs, students with disabilities, and students who are coming from the child welfare system. 

Cal Fresh Benefits 

Four million Californians — ten percent of our state population — receive Cal Fresh benefits. Within that ten percent, six in ten are children, families, people with disabilities, and older adults. Federal action has changed several eligibility requirements for Cal Fresh, and advocates project that we will see people lose or reduce their food benefits. Additionally, now that the “public charge” rule has taken effect, we’re going to see a decline in enrollment from eligible immigrant populations who have long received the benefits. We're seeing that people are uncertain about enrolling themselves or their children in Cal Fresh because they’re afraid it’s going to affect their immigration status, their citizenship application, or prevent them from renewing their green card. All this means that there’s going to be more pressure on our local food banks. The Governor has responded by proposing a one-time support of $20 million to local food banks. 

 

To read the Governor’s full budget summary, visit The Department of Finance’s California Budget 2020-21 website
 

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2020 Policy Forecast: Increased Regulations, Greater Community Needs, and Ballot Box Politics 

Friday, February 7, 2020

By Seyron Foo

This year, SCG is committed to tracking the policy trends most likely to impact our members' grantmaking strategies and their ability to fulfill their missions. Last year, we celebrated an incredible advocacy victory for private foundations – simplification of the private foundation excise tax! An ongoing effort for a decade and half, the two-tiered private foundation excise tax resulted in tremendous resources directed to accounting and administrative needs to calculate and determine the excise tax rate in a given year. Southern California Grantmakers through our advocacy efforts with a broad coalition of partners from across the country successfully scored a victory in simplifying the tax rate to 1.39 percent. 

As we celebrate this victory, SCG continues to vigilantly identify, monitor, and act on issues that may affect your mission. We have identified three trends likely to impact the philanthropic sector in our region: more proposed state regulations on philanthropy, increasing pressures on vulnerable communities, and a focus on housing policy at the ballot box. Read our full trends analysis below and keep an eye out for our continued coverage of these issues in 2020. 

  • Philanthropy Under Scrutiny: The continued growth of donor-advised funds (DAFs) has drawn and will continue to draw scrutiny, particularly from state legislators. Assembly Bill 1712, authored by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks and primarily supported by CalNonprofits, will impose significant burdens on community foundations and reveal donor identity of DAF accounts – including the trustees of many SCG members who use DAFs as a form of their philanthropy. AB 1712 (Wicks) is opposed unless amended by Philanthropy California – the alliance of Southern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers, and Northern California Grantmakers – as well as the League of California Community Foundations. Our advocacy successfully stopped this harmful bill to charitable giving last week. However, Assemblywoman Wicks has promised to bring this back in the next couple weeks in a new bill. SCG will continue to work to bring more voices to the table to share our concerns with public policy that discourages the support of nonprofit partners. While this bill most directly affects DAF sponsors, trustees at private foundations may also have a donor-advised fund. If you or your trustee are concerned about issues related to their privacy or the disclosure of unique assets such as property or stock, this issue will affect you. 
  • Greater Demands as Needs Rise: Federal action on the social safety net will place more pressure on nonprofits that provide direct services to communities. For example, the Federal government took aim at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) three times last year, restricting eligibility requirements and making it more difficult to apply for basic food benefits. According to the California Budget and Policy Center, four million Californians each month receive SNAP — also known as CalFresh. Four out of 5 of CalFresh recipients are children and their parents, seniors, and people with disabilities. Add the layer of “public charge” rules that penalize otherwise eligible immigrant families from receiving basic food needs, funders will likely observe increase pressures on regional food banks. 
  • Housing at the Ballot Box: Expect plenty of statewide ballot measures to come before voters this year in what will likely be high turnout primary and general elections. Unsurprisingly, housing will continue to be a focus for policymakers – both activists and lawmakers alike. Grassroots organizations may return to the ballot box to try to put in place a statewide rent control measure that failed in 2018 (Proposition 10). Meanwhile, a statewide taskforce has recommended that the Legislature place a “right to housing” in the state constitution. Finally, state legislators may also place a constitutional amendment that eliminates Article 34 from the state constitution. Article 34 currently requires local governments to seek voter approval for the construction of public housing. Voters in 1950 adopted Article 34 in a bid to perpetuate segregationist housing policies.
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SCG Family Philanthropy Newsletter: Winter 2020

Friday, February 7, 2020

IN THIS ISSUE:  Recapping Traditions of Giving | 2020 Policy Forecast | Family Philanthropy Member Updates | Upcoming Events | What We're Reading 

 

SCG FEATURES

Rekindling Our Connections: Recapping Traditions of Giving

How can we improve our personal and professional habits to better hear, understand, and learn from each other? How can stronger connections improve our grantmaking? 

On December 4, 2019, SCG’s Family Philanthropy Advisory Council hosted Traditions of Giving, an annual gathering of friends and colleagues dedicated to exchanging the inspirational stories that shape our giving. This year, the Advisory Council chose to take a different approach to the convening by centering human connection and dialogue at the heart of the program.  

“We all navigate a thousand points of communication daily, some are enriching, some less so,” said Traditions facilitator Michael Kass, Founder of Story & Spirit, an organization dedicated to working with people, organizations, and communities to co-create a more just, equitable, and vibrant future for all beings. “What happens when we’re challenged to simply listen, to take in another person’s story without any agenda of our own other than being present?” 

The approach was simple: create a space intended for active listening and deep empathy. Over a shared meal, Michael led Traditions attendees through a guided conversation around the power of interchange. In tables of five to eight, members were handed a list of meditative and frank questions to choose from and were encouraged to share at the level they felt most comfortable. The list included questions like: Where do you go, a place or a community when you need to release and restore? What is something you came across recently that gave you hope or inspiration? What is a moment in the past year that you knew, at a visceral level, that you had made a positive impact in someone’s life?

The result was a room full of people who were not only willing to engage but who were enthusiastic to share openly about themselves and their experiences. Grounding the space in intention and empathy allowed participants to experience a renewed sense of connection with themselves and everyone in their group. By the end of the program, attendees not only left with new modes of listening and understanding each other, but they also left with a renewed sense of purpose in their work.  

As Mitchell Singer, Principal at Singer Philanthropy, reflected after the program, “Traditions of Giving is one of the rare opportunities we have as grantmakers to connect to why we do the work we do. Much of what we learn all year from SCG focuses on what we need to know and how we can do our jobs better. But Traditions is different—it allows us to appreciate anew our values, our relationships, and our collective vision for a better world.” 

In an effort to continue the conversation, Michael Kass has shared resources on the transformational power of listening and facilitating your own story and conversation circles. View Resources

 

2020 Policy Forecast: Increased Regulations, Greater Community Needs, and Ballot Box Politics

This year, SCG is committed to tracking the policy trends most likely to impact our members' grantmaking strategies and their ability to fulfill their missions.

As we start 2020, we have identified three trends likely to impact the philanthropic sector: more proposed state regulations on philanthropy, increasing pressures on vulnerable communities, and a focus on housing policy at the ballot box. Read our full trends analysis below, and keep an eye out for our continued coverage of these issues in 2020. 

VIEW TREND ANALYSIS


FAMILY PHILANTHROPY MEMBER UPDATES

The Tarsadia Foundation welcomes Priya Bery as their new CEO. Prior to joining Tarsadia, Priya was the President and CEO of SOHO Impact, a foundation focused on fostering a creative economy and reinventing education through creative play. 

The Conrad Hilton Foundation’s President and CEO, Peter Laugharn, has joined the board of directors for the Council of Foundations. On December 22, 2019, The Conrad Hilton Foundation also celebrated their 75th anniversary. 

Tony Pritzker of the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Foundation was recently featured in the LA Business Journal. His approach to philanthropy was featured, he was credited with bringing an engineer’s problem-solving ability to his philanthropy. Read Article. 

SCG Board member Connie Malloy, formerly of the James Irvine Foundation, has joined the Panta Rhea Foundation as its Executive Director. The foundation is devoted to building a just and sustainable world.

The Herb Alpert Foundation is sorry that longtime Grants Manager & Executive Assistant to the President, Nancee Enyart, is retiring after fourteen years at the foundation. They welcome Jimmy Montoya as the new Grants & Operations Manager.  

The Jewish Community Foundation is pleased to welcome Lori Klein as its Vice President, Center for Designed Philanthropy, works closely with donors to help them explore their interests and identify their passions.

Emiko Ono from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has joined the board of directors for Grantmakers in the Arts. 

The Goldhirsh Foundation is celebrating its largest and most ambitious effort, LA2050, by giving $1M to this initiative with the goal of driving and tracking progress toward a shared vision for the future of Los Angeles. Learn More. 

The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce recently honored two SCG members at their annual Inaugural Dinner. Former ambassador and family philanthropist Frank Baxter received the Civic Medal of Honor recognizing his many contributions to our community most notably in education and the arts. Evan Spiegel, co-founder of Snapchat, was recognized as the Distinguished Business Leader for his work at Snapchat and the Spiegal Family Fund which is dedicated to the arts, education, housing, and human rights.


UPCOMING EVENTS

FEB 11 | Trust-Based Philanthropy 101

What if funders started grantee relationships with a deliberate focus on building trust and mutual learning? A growing number of funders are embracing trust-based philanthropy as a way to alleviate power imbalances and make it easier for nonprofit leaders to focus on their work.

REGISTER

FEB 13 | Tying Grantmaking Practices to Shared Values (NCFP Webinar)

Shared values can help family givers develop a grantmaking strategy that ties their vision and mission to real impact. As your family considers its own philanthropic strategy, how do you begin to think about your values and put them into practice?

REGISTER

MAR 12 | The Power of a Name: Considering Privacy, Publicity, and Transparency (NCFP Webinar)

Using your name in philanthropy can carry a lot of weight: the power, responsibility, publicity, and hesitance to experiment and potentially fail. In this webinar, hear from families who have considered the power of their name and learn ways to be thoughtful about your own voice.

REGISTER

WHAT WE'RE READING

Why We Place Our Family Foundation Assets in Socially Responsible Investment Vehicles

Officers of a third-generation successor family foundation share why they've begun moving their inherited portfolio of investments into funds that will be beneficial to society. 

Embracing Complexity: Towards a Shared Understanding of Funding Systems Change

Ahsoka and McKinsey have released a report for the social sector funding community to develop practices to better support systems change leaders. 

Addressing Racially-Biased Financial Analysis

This report from the Nonprofit Finance Fund addresses the ways social-sector funders sometimes exacerbate injustice and provides specific actions that can be taken to more accurately understand a nonprofit’s strengths and opportunities. 

Trust-Based Philanthropy Guide

The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project will work over the next five years to bring more accountability and equity to the field and has created a guide with concrete steps for building radically different relationships with grantees.

Trust-Based Philanthropy: The Durfee Foundation

Hear first-hand from the Durfee Foundation on their “trust-based philanthropy,” and how they make this funding strategy work. 

NCFP Launches Trends 2020 Report

The NCFP report explores emerging family philanthropy trends including foundation giving identity, foundation effectiveness, impact investing, and engaging the next generation. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

JANUARY PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE SCG'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER FROM CHRIS ESSEL, OUR PRESIDENT AND CEO. 

JANUARY PUBLIC POLICY ROUNDUP SCG'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER FEATURING THE LATEST ON PUBLIC POLICY ISSUES AND LEGISLATIVE SPOTLIGHTS.

JANUARY CORPORATE BRIEF SCG'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY. 

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A Conversation with James Alva, SCG’s New Board Chair

Friday, January 31, 2020

By Eddy Gonzalez

 

On January 1, 2020, James Alva, Senior Vice President & Southern California Market Manager at Citi Community Development, began his term as Chair of Southern California Grantmakers’ Board of Directors. Since joining the Board in 2017, James has been a dedicated advocate for our most vulnerable communities and has been committed to creating a more inclusive future for all Californians.

We sat with James to learn more about his work and achievements at Citi, the CSR trends energizing him in 2020, his priorities for SCG, and his current book recommendations! 


Throughout your professional trajectory you’ve worked across a variety of sectors on a number of community-focused initiatives. How has this cross-sector experience shaped your work and your approach to collaboration?

J: My experiences in the corporate, small business, nonprofit, education, and philanthropic sectors have been critical in shaping the perspective I bring to my work. When I design a new initiative or a philanthropic endeavor, I'm able to examine it from a variety of different lenses at the same time. This allows me to move fluidly within those different organizations and build partnerships that resonate with different audiences.

You’ve spent the last 5 years focusing Citi’s philanthropic efforts on building public-private partnerships. Can you elaborate on this priority and the long-term impact you’re hoping to realize through these partnerships?

J: Citi's community development work focuses on three areas: financial empowerment, small businesses, and inclusive housing. As the #1 affordable housing lender in the United States for the last nine consecutive years, Citi is particularly proud of our role in expanding access to housing. We work with local and national organizations to increase housing that is affordable and welcoming for some of the most vulnerable populations in Los Angeles, like LGBT+ youth, seniors, and veterans who are experiencing homelessness. 

Across all of our investment areas, we look for opportunities to act as an “angel investor” to test, build and scale public-private partnerships. By working with elected officials, we are able to learn more about the challenges a community is facing and identify the root causes beneath them. We then collaborate with elected officials to design solutions that can achieve systems-level impact, with the aim to grow and bring in additional support from public and private sectors. Through these partnerships, we are of the mindset that we are helping to address our community’s most pressing issues through program development and long-term impact, scale, and sustainability. 

What trends in corporate social responsibility are giving you the most energy in 2020?

J: I’m energized by the Business RoundTable’s new “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation,” which was signed by 181 CEOs. At a high-level, the statement declares that companies need to think about the triple bottom line, which includes how we think about our place in the world and our overall benefit to society. I believe this is the first time that the corporate sector has collectively acknowledged that community impact and community engagement is as important as profit. I am proud that Mike Corbat, Citi’s CEO, joined peer corporate CEOs to sign the Business RoundTable’s statement and take stances on critical social issues.

It’s great to see the broader corporate sector put community engagement and impact at the forefront of their work. However, this is not new a new endeavor for Citi. Can you discuss the issues that Citi has actively addressed? 

J: Citi has taken big stances on prominent social issues of our time. In response to an epidemic of gun violence in this country, Citi was the first bank to issue a U.S. Commercial Firearms Policy that requires new retail sector clients or partners to adhere to common sense best practices such as background checks and age limits. Through this, we used our business strategy to do our part to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm. 

We were the first financial institution to publicly release the results of our pay equity review, which compared adjusted compensation of women to men. This basically means that we compared the pay of one female vice president to the pay of a male vice president. Last year, we went further and started digging into raw data to highlight the difference between the median pay of all women at Citi and median pay of all men at Citi when we don’t adjust for factors such as job function, level and geography. Of course we have work to do, but our decision to be transparent on a global scale and our active commitment to closing this gap has earned us recognition as one of the leading companies selected for the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI). 

In addition, Citi has continued to strengthen our commitment to sustainability. In 2019, we met our goal to provide $100 billion globally to environmentally sustainable projects, four years early. Over the summer, we announced the co-development and partnership with our clients on the Poseidon Principles, designed to help the shipping sector decarbonize. And, we recently named a Chief Sustainability Officer who is responsible for these efforts and supporting our client’s sustainability goals.

What are you proud of during your time at Citi? 

J: When I started with Citi five years ago, we had several community development programs in Southern California, but not many people knew about them. However, on January 30th Citi was awarded its third Corporation of the Year award during a six-month period for our philanthropic and community work in Los Angeles. We were recognized in September of last year by the United Nations Association for our work to help immigrants and refugees and by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) in November of 2018 for our work to promote economic and community development. Now we have been by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce for our work to benefit low-income communities in Los Angeles. I am proud of my team for achieving these three awards, and these three examples are evidence that doing good work in the community can actually have accolades that translate to tangible business benefits. Our initiatives are having a triple bottom line effect that simultaneously support our communities, help us achieve our corporate business objectives, and are responsible for our environment.

As SCG’s new Board Chair, what do you hope to prioritize during your two-year term? 

J: In terms of priorities, we have a number of board members who will be reaching their term limits this year. We’re going to spend a substantial amount of time this year cultivating new board members. I’m looking forward to using my experience in organizational change and management to facilitate the onboarding of new board members and to ensuring that we have a board that represents both our membership and the communities we serve. I will also prioritize working with the Board to optimize and refresh SCG’s vision and mission statements in 2020. I hope to ensure that SCG continues to be a place in which all members feel like there is something for them. As part of the corporate giving community, I hope to find ways to strengthen SCG as a place for corporate members as much as other types of members.

What book or article would you recommend to our members?

J: I'm currently reading The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. This book tackles the seemingly endless cycle of meetings in everyday professional life. This book asks us to rethink the purpose of meetings by asking “why are we having this meeting” and “who really needs to be in the room?” This has completely transformed my approach to meetings. I’ve become much more intentional about what warrants an actual meeting, the goals I set for each meeting, and why it’s important to have certain people in the room. Because of the amount of meetings I have in one day, this book is top of mind for me now!

Where was the last vacation you took?

J: I am not sure if I would call it a vacation, but in October, I went to Puerto Rico for my own wedding! In 2018 my then fiancé, Edward, and I traveled to Puerto Rico during what was six months after Hurricane Maria for vacation. We fell in love with the warmth and resilience of the people there. We were in the middle of planning for a wedding in Los Angeles, but we felt compelled to bring our friends and family to Puerto Rico instead.  Eddie and I were honored to be married in front of 155 of our loved ones. And here is a fun fact: While we were on the flight to Puerto Rico for our wedding, the SCG Board voted me in as Chair of the Board.  I came back from Puerto Rico with a new husband and a new role at SCG!


Read SCG’s Press Release announcing James Alva’s appointment as new Board Chair, effective January 1, 2020. 

 

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SCG Analysis: Governor Newsom’s Proposed State Budget Seeks to Tackle Homelessness 

Monday, January 27, 2020

by Karla Mercado

On January 10, Governor Newsom released his proposed 2020-21 budget. The budget addresses some of the most pressing issues for the state, such as economic security, access to affordable healthcare and housing, education, and childcare infrastructure, to name a few. Among the most pressing issues to the state, more than $1 billion is proposed to address homelessness. 

California’s homelessness crisis has received both national coverage and scrutiny. With more than 25 percent of the nation’s homeless population here in California, the proposed budget focuses much of the allocation on addressing “street-based homelessness” and access to behavioral health and other services. New to the budget is the spending of $750 million one-time General Fund to jump-start the creation of the California Access to Housing and Services Fund, based on the work that SCG members have led in Los Angeles County. In addition, the Governor issued an Executive Order to take immediate actions to provide additional support to local governments to address homelessness.

The following sections provide an overview of the immediate actions, the Fund and, other efforts proposed to address homelessness. 

Immediate Actions

The state will provide additional aid to local governments, deploy multi-agency teams to assist cities and counties in moving individuals from encampments into shelters and connect them to services. The Administration is also partnering with local researchers to conduct a study to better understand the root causes of homelessness. The state has partnered with philanthropy to augment local shelter capacity. These immediate actions build on the goals of the 100-Day Challenge Newsom issued to local governments in December 2019 that set to create and sustain scalable, long-term strategies to reduce homelessness. The Administration is encouraging cities and counties to join the 100-Day Challenge. Participating entities will receive additional technical support to assist with their efforts. 

The Governor is partnering with Caltrans and the cities of Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco to identify highway adjacent properties and other state roads for temporary homeless housing. Lastly, the Governor has directed the Department of General Services to identify state-owned land that may be used for affordable housing, temporary shelters, or permanent supportive housing. 

About the Fund

While infrastructure is being built to address affordable housing, there is still a severe shortage, and at times, an arduous process to gain access to programs that will provide safe shelter and other services. The Fund aims to provide additional rental subsidies and develop new, affordable housing units, and stabilize board and care homes. This new approach seeks to move individuals and families into stable housing and to increase the number of units available as a stable housing option. 

More about the Fund

  • Administered by the Department of Social Services, funds will be distributed through performance-based contracts between the state and regional administrators, and subject to a 10 percent cap.
  • Aims to augment local governments’ efforts to shelter the many people living on the streets.
  • The regional administrators will need to provide short and long-term rental subsidies and give contributions to encourage the development of new units.
  • Ensures tenants are enrolled in eligible public assistance programs.
  • The Fund will also be used to secure units and negotiate individual client leases.
  • Funds will go directly to service providers.
  • Like several jurisdictions, including Los Angeles, the Fund will enable regional partners to pool federal, state, local, and private funds to stabilize housing for their most vulnerable populations. 

 

Other Efforts to Reduce Homelessness

Healthcare

A significant effort to address healthcare for people experiencing homelessness and/or substance abuse is the Medi-Cal Healthier California for All program. Formally known as CalAIM, Medi-Cal is designed to be more consistent, seamless, and identify member risks and needs through the whole person care approach. The system proposed is set-up to better connect individuals to services they need, with a focus on improving care to individuals experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. The budget also includes funding to support counties implementing the changes necessary for the transformation of the county-run behavioral health and substance use disorder system. 

Mental Health Services Act

The Administration aims to improve the State’s Behavioral Health System by reforming the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63). The reform will be expanding to focus on people with mental illness who are also experiencing homelessness, in the criminal justice system, and early intervention of children. The Administration will do so by establishing a Behavioral Health Task Force that will bring together relevant state departments, counties, advocates, health plans, providers, and other stakeholders to review the existing policies and programs. 

Community Care Collaborative Pilot

The budget proposes to allocate $24.6 million in 2020-21 and $364.2 million over six years to the Department of State Hospital to implement the Collaborative in three counties. The goal of the Collaborative is to place individuals with mental health needs, who are designated incompetent, to stand trial into stable community placements instead of hospitals or other institutions. This strategy aims to reduce the rate of arrests, rearrests, and cycling in and out of institutions for individuals experiencing homelessness. The Collaborative will also focus on treatment programs to improve outcomes and transitions for individuals leaving State Hospital systems. 

 

To learn more about the entire budget, visit the California Budget & Policy Center's Report on the Governor's Budget

 

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January 2020: SCG Public Policy Roundup

Monday, January 27, 2020

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Happy New Year! With the spirit of new beginnings in mind, SCG is introducing a refreshed format for our monthly Public Policy Roundup! The new layout prioritizes major public policy or legislative items members should keep an eye on, followed by upcoming events, and a list of resources related to our top issue areas.

This month, our feature is a policy forecast on the trends most likely to impact philanthropy in 2020. In addition, we're honing in on homelessness through an analysis of the Governor’s 2020-2021 budget proposal to address housing and homelessness in California and a recap of our "Right to Housing Webinar." Lastly, we'd like to invite you to join our nonpartisan Candidate’s Forum for the Second District of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and our annual Foundations on the Hill gathering in Washington D.C. As always, we welcome any feedback on this newsletter. 


2020 POLICY FORECAST 

Increased Regulations, Greater Community Needs, and Ballot Box Politics 

This year, SCG is committed to tracking the policy trends most likely to impact our members' grantmaking strategies and their ability to fulfill their missions.

As we start 2020, we have identified three trends likely to impact the philanthropic sector: more proposed state regulations on philanthropy, increasing pressures on vulnerable communities, and a focus on housing policy at the ballot box. Read our full trends analysis below, and keep an eye out for our continued coverage of these issues in 2020. 

  • Philanthropy Under Scrutiny: The continued growth of donor-advised funds (DAFs) has drawn and will continue to draw scrutiny, particularly from state legislators. Assembly Bill 1712, authored by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks and primarily supported by CalNonprofits, will impose significant burdens on community foundations and reveal donor identity of DAF accounts – including the trustees of many SCG members who use DAFs as a form of their philanthropy. AB 1712 (Wicks) is opposed by Philanthropy California – the alliance of Southern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers, and Northern California Grantmakers – as well as the League of California Community Foundations. Our advocacy successfully stopped this harmful bill to charitable giving last week. However, Assemblywoman Wicks has promised to bring this back in the next couple weeks in a new bill. SCG will continue to work to bring more voices to the table to share our concerns with public policy that discourages support of nonprofit partners.
  • Greater Demands as Needs Rise: Federal action on the social safety net will place more pressure on nonprofits that provide direct services to communities. For example, the Federal government took aim at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) three times last year, restricting eligibility requirements and making it more difficult to apply for basic food benefits. According to the California Budget and Policy Center, four million Californians each month receive SNAP — also known as CalFresh. Four out of 5 of CalFresh recipients are children and their parents, seniors, and people with disabilities. Add the layer of “public charge” rules that penalize otherwise eligible immigrant families from receiving basic food needs, funders will likely observe increase pressures on regional food banks. 
  • Housing at the Ballot Box: Expect plenty of statewide ballot measures to come before voters this year in what will likely be high turnout primary and general elections. Unsurprisingly, housing will continue to be a focus for policymakers – both activists and lawmakers alike. Grassroots organizations may return to the ballot box to try to put in place a statewide rent control measure that failed in 2018 (Proposition 10). Meanwhile, a statewide taskforce has recommended that the Legislature place a “right to housing” in the state constitution. Finally, state legislators may also place a constitutional amendment that eliminates Article 34 from the state constitution. Article 34 currently requires local governments to seek voter approval for the construction of public housing. Voters in 1950 adopted Article 34 in a bid to perpetuate segregationist housing policies.

     


FOCUS ON HOMELESSNESS

SCG Analysis: Homelessness in the State Budget

On January 10, Governor Newsom released his proposed 2020-21 budget, which allocates more than $1 billion to address homelessness in California. The proposed budget focuses on addressing “street-based homelessness,” access to behavioral health, and other services.

READ SCG'S ANALYSIS

 

Members Take Action: Housing & Homelessness

In December, nearly 60 funders across the state came together to discuss today's challenges around housing and homelessness and to share philanthropic opportunities to protect those most vulnerable to and those already experiencing homelessness.

ACCESS RESOURCES

RESOURCES & REPORTS

Pretrial Risk Assessment in California

This report presents an overview of pretrial risk assessment in California and offers considerations for improving the effectiveness of local pretrial risk assessment systems.

Californian’s and the Housing Crisis

This interactive tool shows how housing costs and availability affects Californians. 

Specialized Case Management for Young Adults in Extended Federal Foster Care

This policy brief examines specialized case management models for youth in extended foster care and includes specialized approaches used by Illinois, Indiana, and Oregon.

New Los Angeles County Homelessness & Housing Map

This interactive GIS map makes it possible to geographically view the interim and supportive housing that currently exists and is being developed in LA County. 

Housing Insecurity among College Students

This is the first of a series of spotlight briefs released by the California Aid Commission regarding the obstacles students face in affording higher education.

Grant for Nonprofits Working in Prevention, Youth Development, and Racial Justice

The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, through The California Department of Health Care Services, will provide $20 million in funding and technical assistance for organizations developing or increasing community substance use disorder prevention, outreach, and education focused on youth.


EVENTS

JAN 31: Creating a Bold Vision for Los Angeles County

Join us for a nonpartisan candidate forum for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors – Second District where candidates will share their vision for affordable housing, homelessness, child welfare, and juvenile justice.

REGISTER

 

MAR 09-11: Foundations on the Hill 2020

Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), is a two-day event that brings together hundreds of foundation leaders from across the country to meet with members of Congress to discuss issues of critical importance to philanthropy and the communities we serve.

REGISTER

 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

JANUARY PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE SCG's monthly newsletter from Chris Essel, our President and CEO. 

2019 END-OF-YEAR MESSAGE Last year, the SCG network embarked on a series of new initiatives and innovative ideas to evolve alongside our changing philanthropic sector.

 

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SCG's President's Message - January 2020

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Happy New Year, SCG Community!


We hope all of you had a wonderful and restorative holiday season. We are excited to share that 2020 is off to an incredible start!

We are thrilled to announce that SCG has elected James Alva, Senior Vice President & Market Manager at Citi Community Development, as Chair of our Board, effective January 1, 2020. James replaces Beatriz Solís who will continue to serve in our Board Executive Committee in the role of Past Board Chair. We are incredibly grateful for Beatriz's service to the SCG Board and look forward to James' two-year term.

Today, SCG is also proud to participate in the fourth annual National Day of Racial Healing. To celebrate this event, Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation-Los Angeles (TRHT-LA) is hosting a series of sold out racial justice dialogues this week. As you may recall, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation started TRHT as a community-based initiative to spark conversations around and address the historic and contemporary effects of racism in many aspects of our lives. In 2016, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation selected Los Angeles as one of fourteen regions throughout the country to implement the TRHT effort. SCG is proud to use this incredible grant-funded program to add an equity dimension to our work, reaching communities far and wide in Los Angeles County. 

Additionally, we would like to share an update on our ongoing strategic planning process. For the past several months, the team at SCG has been working diligently with our Board and the SCG community to refresh our organizational direction and values. We are now in the final stages of this process and look forward to sharing our new vision for a thriving philanthropic sector very soon. 

Finally, with a new year, comes a new slate of SCG members! You can learn more about each of them in our "Meet our New Members" section.

There is so much to look forward to in 2020! We can't wait for everything we will accomplish together this year. 

Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers


ANNOUNCING SCG'S NEW BOARD CHAIR

Southern California Grantmakers has elected James Alva, Senior Vice President & Market Manager at Citi Community Development, as Board Chair of SCG for a two-year term, effective January 1, 2020.

READ PRESS RELEASE

National Day of Racial Healing

SCG is proud to celebrate the fourth annual National Day of Racial Healing with a week-long series of sold out events that will bring together various communities for racial healing dialogues.

LEARN MORE


Today, individuals, organizations, and communities across the U.S. came together for the nationwide National Day of Racial Healing to share truth, deepen relationships, and build trust to create a more equitable future. Watch a recorded livestream of the event hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

WATCH LIVESTREAM


Explore how TRHT-LA's 2018-2019 programming deepened relationships with our neighbors and sparked important conversations in our communities. 

READ REPORT

MEET SCG'S NEW MEMBERS     

Ashoka


ARLINGTON, VA
Ashoka collaborates with a community of change leaders to transform institutions and cultures worldwide for the good of all.


CAIR-LA

ANAHEIM, CA 
CAIR-LA aims to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.


Mary Gray

PASADENA, CA
Mary is a philanthropic consultant at Engage R+D which helps nonprofits, foundations, and public agencies measure their impact, bring together stakeholders, and foster learning and innovation.


Michelson Found Animals Foundation

SHERMAN OAKS, CA
The Michelson Found Animals Foundation is dedicated to reversing the outcome for the three to four million animals euthanized each year in the United States.

 
Nevada Community Foundation

LAS VEGAS, NV
The Nevada Community Foundation helps donors in Southern Nevada and beyond discover their charitable passion, fulfill their philanthropic dreams, and make a lasting impact in their community. . 


Nona Randois

LOS ANGELES, CA
Nona is a philanthropic consultant at Bolder Advocacy which encourages funders to support advocacy through legal guidance on federal, state, & local law impacting foundations.


Parkview Legacy Foundation 

RIVERSIDE, CA
The Parkview Legacy Foundation advances the equitable probability of wellness through social determinants of health.


Quyen Tu

WASHINGTON, DC
Quyen is a philanthropic consultant at Bolder Advocacy which encourages funders to support advocacy through legal guidance on federal, state, & local law impacting foundations.


FULL MEMBER DIRECTORY
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Press Release: SCG Announces James Alva as New Board Chair

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

PRESS RELEASE 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GRANTMAKERS ANNOUNCES JAMES ALVA AS NEW BOARD CHAIR

James Alva, Senior Vice President & Market Manager at Citi Community Development, has been elected Chair of Southern California Grantmakers’ Board of Directors.

 

Los Angeles, CA, January 21, 2020 - Southern California Grantmakers today announced that James Alva has been elected as Chair of its Board of Directors for a two-year term, effective January 1, 2020. Southern California Grantmakers is a robust network of 325 grantmakers working to champion effective philanthropy across 8 counties in Southern California. 

“I am honored to have been selected to serve in this important role,” said Alva, who has served on the SCG Board since 2017. “I look forward to working together with my board colleagues and the entire SCG network to address the issues most impacting the communities that we serve.” 

As Chair, James will oversee the operation of the Southern California Grantmakers’ Board of Directors alongside the current Board Executive Committee: Nike Irvin, Trustee at the Riordan Foundation, SCG Board Vice-Chair; Joe Lumarda, Chair of The California Wellness Foundation’s Board of Directors, SCG Board Secretary; and Melissa Harman, Partner at Moss Adams LLP and Senior Partner at the Moss Adams Foundation, SCG Board Treasurer. In addition, Beatriz Solís, Director of Healthy Communities (South) at The California Endowment, will move into the role of Past Board Chair.

During his term, James will prioritize working with the Board to optimize Southern California Grantmakers’ mission and unveil its revitalized strategic framework in 2020. Additionally, as a number of board terms come to a close next year, James will utilize his experience in organizational change and management to facilitate the onboarding of new board members in 2021. 

“I can think of no one better to lead our Board during this pivotal moment for SCG and the philanthropic sector as a whole,” said Beatriz Solís. “His dedication to our most vulnerable communities and his commitment to racial equity and diversity are exactly what we need in order to envision a more inclusive future for all Californians.” 

James leads Citibank’s corporate philanthropy division for Southern California and Texas. He focuses Citi’s philanthropic efforts on catalyzing new programs and building public-private partnerships. During his five year tenure at Citi, he has helped found the Los Angeles County Center for Financial Empowerment with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Cities for Citizenship with Mayor Garcetti, the Ventanilla Financiera with the Mexican Consulate, and the ONE LA small business procurement program with the LA Chamber of Commerce. He has also partnered with many foundations in joint-funding initiatives and studies such as the Portrait of Los Angeles. His experience prior to Citi includes founding a non-profit and a community bank.

James’ innovative approach to community engagement work has been recognized by three prestigious business organizations in Los Angeles all of which have selected Citi as their 2019 and 2020 Corporation of the Year for corporate social responsibility. 

“James brings a new voice and perspective to the Board,” said Wendy Garen, former SCG Board Chair. “His considerable experience across multiple sectors provides him with valuable insights that will help us achieve long-lasting impact with our communities.” 

James has vast board experience and currently serves on four boards: Southern California Grantmakers, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community Colleges, and the California Latino Economic Institute. He serves on two advisory boards: the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and the LA County Center for Financial Empowerment. James' other responsibilities include serving on the steering committees for Philanthropy California and Southern California Latinx in Philanthropy, as well as being a member of the SCG Public Policy Advisory Committee, the SCG Corporate Advisory Council, and the SCG Senior Peer-to-Peer Leadership Program. 

“James has been an incredible champion of SCG’s vision throughout his entire tenure on our Board,” said Christine Essel, President & CEO of SCG. “I am eager to see how his leadership will accelerate our impact and help us foster a thriving philanthropic sector.” 

James is a first-generation college graduate with a degree from Stanford University where he served twice as president of his class. James and his husband, Edward, live in Los Angeles with their dog and cat.


SCG’s Full Slate of 2020 Board Members:

Kim Belshé, Executive Director, First 5 Los Angeles; Marsha E. Bonner, Senior Director of Programs, Community Grantmaking & Special Initiatives, Annenberg Foundation; Cara Esposito, Executive Director, Leonetti/ O’Connell Family Foundation; Christine Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers; Michael Fleming, Executive Director, The David Bohnett Foundation; Wendy Garen, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; Shane Goldsmith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Hill Foundation; John E. Kobara, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, California Community Foundation; Deidre Lind, Social Impact Advisor; Connie Malloy, Executive Director, Panta Rhea Foundation; Steve Nissen, Senior Vice President, Legal and Government Affairs, NBCUniversal; Gabriela Robles, Vice President, St. Joseph Health; Tara Roth, President, Goldhirsh Foundation; Gerald Solomon, Executive Director, Samueli Foundation; Belen Vargas, Associate Vice President for Operations and Chief Mission Officer, California State University, Los Angeles; and Adrienne Wittenberg, Executive Director, S. Mark Taper Foundation.

 

About Southern California Grantmakers

Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) is a community of philanthropists and grantmakers working to make a difference in our communities and around the world. Our members include family, private, public, independent, community and corporate foundations and corporate giving programs, individuals, and government agencies.

We believe that a strong and informed giving community is essential to improving the quality of life for all Southern Californians. At SCG, we understand the region’s philanthropic community, we know our local nonprofits and civic partners, and we recognize the key issues you face. SCG connects grantmakers across Southern California through sector-wide conferences, trainings, networking opportunities and funder convenings—providing space for collaboration and coordinated action on critical issues. We support and advance effective grantmaking in eight Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

 

Contact: 

Phuong Pham | Director, Knowledge & Communications | 213-860-8866

 

 

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SCG's President's Message - December 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Dear SCG Community, 
 

This month, we are bringing to a close the Back to the Future blog series. Ever since the SCG 2019 Annual Conference, Foresight Philanthropy, we've been committed to exploring the future of key funding issues with some of our sector's most knowledgeable leaders. We hope these conversations have expanded your thinking and provided you with the insights necessary to maximize your future impact. 

We are concluding the series with two examples of futurism in action. In "Designing the Future of Health," we speak to Rachel Wick, Senior Program Officer at the Blue Shield of California Foundation, to learn about how the foundation has integrated strategic foresight into a new suite of health and wellness initiatives. Finally, we reconnect with Trista Harris, President of Future Good, to present her 2020 Predictions of the trends most likely to impact philanthropy in the coming year. 

Thank you to everyone who helped us envision a new future for the SCG network, the philanthropic sector, and the communities that we serve. In 2019, we began imagining what a radically just world could look like. In 2020, we look forward to build upon this future-focused vision with all of you. 

Until then, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season! 


Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers


Designing the Future of Health: Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Strategic Foresight 

Two years ago, the Blue Shield of California Foundation launched "Designing the Future of Health" for leaders looking to explore new ideas to improve health, end domestic violence, and expand their approach to social change. We spoke to Rachel Wick to discuss the foundation's implementation of foresight into their organizational strategies and the steps they're taking to build a more equitable future. 

READ MORE
 

Trista Harris' 2020 Philanthropy Predictions
 

Trista Harris, President of FutureGood, and her team of cutting-edge philanthropic futurists have curated a list of the trends most likely to impact foundations and nonprofits in the coming year. SCG is thrilled to share their 2020 predictions as the concluding piece to the Back to the Future blog series.

READ MORE

REVISIT PREVIOUS ARTICLES IN THE BACK TO THE FUTURE BLOG SERIES

"Nothing Without Us": SCG's Journey to Inclusive Design

 
Dave Sheldon, Vice President of Collaboration & Community Building, reflects on SCG's ongoing efforts to implement the principles of universal design and accessibility into our organizational strategy, starting with our disability inclusion conference and most recently with our 2019 Annual Conference. 

READ MORE

 
Trends in Education Philanthropy: A Q&A with Celine Coggins

 
Celine Coggins, Executive Director of Grantmakers for Education, explores the shifting priorities of the education funding community over the past ten years and the emerging investment opportunities for education funders. 

READ MORE

   
The Future of Art Funding: A Conversation with Vijay Gupta and James E. Herr

 
James E. Herr, Program Officer at the Annenberg Foundation, and Vijay Gupta, Founder and Artistic Director of Street Symphony, explore the vital role of art in today's world and opportunities for artists and funders to strengthen their collaboration. 

READ MORE

 

What is the Future of Work?: A Conversation with Tracie Neuhaus and Michele Prichard

 
Tracie Neuhaus, Senior Manager of Monitor Institute by Deloitte, and Michele Prichard, Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives at the Liberty Hill Foundation, tackle the trends emerging from our changing workforce and the role philanthropy can play in spearheading innovation for an equitable future.

READ MORE
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Designing the Future of Health: Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Strategic Foresight

Monday, December 9, 2019

Designing the Future of Health: Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Strategic Foresight 

SCG's Back to the Future blog series is a collection of conversations with philanthropic leaders exploring the key trends that shape the contours of the future. This series aims to expand our thinking on a variety of issue areas, as well as provide funders with the insights necessary to maximize their impact. 
So far, our blog series has explored trends in issue areas including education, disability, the arts, and our changing workforce. When we learned that our partners at the Blue Shield Foundation of California were actively incorporating foresight into their organizational strategy, we were delighted to see an example of futurism in action. We spoke to Rachel Wick, Senior Program Officer at Blue Shield Foundation of California, to learn more about how their foundation integrated a future-focused purpose into their new health and wellness initiatives. 

Two years ago, Blue Shield of California Foundation launched Designing the Future of Health to create space for leaders to explore new ideas that could improve health, end domestic violence, and expand their approach to social change. This initiative was born in the midst of unprecedented changes – technological, demographic, social, political, and more – and the Foundation felt determined to find new ways to prevent what ails their communities and make California the healthiest state in the nation with the lowest rates of domestic violence.  

To design and reach that future, Blue Shield of California Foundation knew they needed to take a new approach – one centered on future-focused thinking and innovation. By imagining radical alternatives for the future, the Foundation hoped to find new ways to solve systemic problems and generate breakthrough ideas for healthier populations, strong families, and empowered communities.

We spoke with Rachel Wick, Senior Program Officer at Blue Shield Foundation of California, to discuss what prompted the foundation to adopt the tools of foresight and the steps they are taking to create a more equitable tomorrow. 

Q: What drove the Blue Shield Foundation of California to adopt a future-focused approach?

Although some consider future-focused work to be the latest philanthropic trend, we think it’s an essential and critical lens in our contemporary cultural moment. We are facing deep, historical inequities in both health and domestic violence, and we need tools to confront the social and economic factors underpinning them. Business, science, and technology sectors have been utilizing future thinking and design for some time, and their innovations are having a profound impact on our communities, often without considerations of equity. If we in the philanthropic sector are to understand and influence the forces that shape our future, we have to keep pace. A focus on the future isn’t simply an intellectual exercise for the privileged — it is an imperative for problem-solving, innovation, and equity. 

Q: How have you incorporated foresight into your philanthropic work? 

Our new focus on prevention has helped us shift from an one-off solution mindset to a long-term focus on creating healthy relationships and communities. One way we do this is by monitoring future trends. We invested in the Foresight Project which identified 50 emerging threats and opportunities — such as an evolving job market, climate refugees, and the zero waste movement — that have the potential to dramatically impact our way of life, including our health and well-being. Also, through a partnership with Institute for the Future, we are learning about the different ways our health and family life may be impacted by workforce developments. The Institute has prompted us to support public health professionals taking action on new occupational hazards, as well as develop partnerships with workers advocating for better conditions and benefit models. In addition, once the California Commission on the Future of Work releases their policy recommendations, we will take them to our communities and help them design and implement policy solutions. 

Q: How does the Blue Shield Foundation of California ensure that the future you’re working towards is equitable?

In all of our future-focused projects, we prioritize listening to the communities we’re supporting in order to help them imagine and shape their own futures for health. It’s incredible how excited people get when asked to contemplate their future, but how rarely they are invited to do so. However, while the future can be a fun and create space, it can also be a space where people see inequities continue to be perpetuated. For that reason, history, culture, and identity – especially histories that have been hidden or marginalized – need to be integrated into foresight to make the process itself more inclusive and accessible. 

An example of this is the AfroFutures Festival we supported which was led and curated by Dr. Lonny Avi Brooks. The festival worked to integrate histories of trauma and colonization into conversations about the future in order to highlight the ways in which people of color have historically engaged in futurism as a form of cultural survival. They created a card game called “Afro-Rithms from the Future” where one festival participant envisioned the creation of a tattoo that would hold your family’s history and be used to determine your eligibility for reparations. 

Additionally, a workshop we hosted on the future of gender norms is now informing our partnership in the Gender Justice Funders Network and our investment in the Culture Change Fund. Addressing norms and culture is a new approach for our Foundation and the futures workshop helped us generate new visions for gender equity and alerted us to policy issues on the horizon, such as the potential impact of ending data collection by gender. 

Q: Why is it critical for other foundations to incorporate futurism into their work?

The lines between the past, present, and future are blurry. Future-focused work invites us to be playful and imaginative in our pursuit of social change. While speculating about the unknown can feel abstract or uncomfortable, foresight invites us to question our assumptions, name our deepest problems, and consider alternatives to create the kind of world we want to live in – one much bolder, more equitable, and freer than the one we have today. After all, our future depends on it.

 


"Nothing Without Us": SCG's Journey to Inclusive Design

Trends in Education Philanthropy: A Q&A with Celine Coggins

The Future of Art Funding: A Conversation with Vijay Gupta and James Herr 

What is the Future of Work?: A Conversation with Tracie Neuhaus and Michele Prichard 

Trista Harris' 2020 Philanthropy Predictions

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Trista Harris' 2020 Philanthropy Predictions

Monday, December 9, 2019

Trista Harris' 2020 Philanthropy Predictions

SCG's Back to the Future blog series is a collection of conversations with philanthropic leaders exploring the key trends that shape the contours of the future. This series aims to expand our thinking on a variety of issue areas, as well as provide funders with the insights necessary to maximize their impact. 

In the early 20th century, futurists were inspired by speed, technology, and modernity to create an avant-garde art movement. Today, shifting demographics and cutting-edge technologies are changing the world faster than ever. These developments have prompted the private sector to adopt foresight as a strategy to analyze trends and determine what is possible, preferable, and probable in the future. Nonprofits and social movements have also begun to adjust their work to meet the challenges of the coming societal and environmental transformations. 

In 2019, it was philanthropy’s turn. This year, our team at Southern California Grantmakers selected futurism to be the heart of our 2019 Annual Conference, Foresight Philanthropy. By asking our network to cast their eyes forward, we could focus on adapting to emerging trends and co-create a future that was equitable to all people. Through the tools of futurism, we knew funders could sharpen their grantmaking strategies, invigorate cross-sector collaborations, and prepare to be more dynamic changemakers. In the following months, we continued these conversations and efforts by inviting philanthropic leaders to discuss the future of key issues areas in our Back to the Future blog series.

One of our primary inspirations for the conference’s future-focused theme was Trista Harris, President of FutureGood and cutting-edge philanthropic futurist. Trista has spearheaded the efforts to make the often confusing and complicated tools of futurism accessible to the field of philanthropy. At Foresight Philanthropy, Trista enlightened our audience with “The Future Started Yesterday,” a plenary focused on using the tools of foresight to prepare for the challenges  that will impact our grantees and communities.

Every year, Trista Harris and her team of researchers at FutureGood curate a list of trends that will impact foundations and nonprofits in the coming months. SCG is thrilled to share their 2020 predictions as the concluding piece of our “Back to the Future” blog series.

Funders help defend democracy.

As we see the United States becomes more divided and instability grow abroad, foundations will invest more resources into strengthening democracy. To support these efforts, foundations will create spaces for communities to collectively solve complex issues, reinvigorate our civics curriculums in schools, and ensure the safety of elections locally and globally. We will see networks like Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement become key places where funders go to connect about these issues.

Institutions examine their impact on the environment.

As the climate crisis worsens, foundations will critically examine how their institutions are impacting the environment. We will see foundations begin to divest from fossil fuels, add solar panels to their buildings, encourage remote work, replace in-person meetings with webinars, and pay for carbon credits when their staff travel. 

Universal Basic Income on the map.

With artificial intelligence and robotics’ emerging impact on our laborforce, the financial model for work will have to change. Universal Basic Income sets a floor for everyone, whether they are working or not. This amount is often described as about $12,000 a year and companies and higher-income people are taxed to cover this amount. Foundations will be on the cutting edge of testing this idea for scale.

Workplaces support staff during times of rapid transformation.

Foundations will begin to think more deeply about employee wellness. The old paradigm that “doing good” in the social sector will shield you from the stresses of work will no longer be enough. Foundations will become frontline actors in a whole scale transformation of society by investing in employee wellness programs, offering more options for remote work, adding more vacation days, and improving their organizational cultures. 

Equity minded algorithms.

A 2019 study published in Science found that an algorithm widely used by US hospitals to determine how to allocate care for more than 200 million patients, was less likely to refer black people than white people who were equally sick to programs that aim to improve care for patients with complex medical needs. We are just beginning to understand how algorithms are expanding disparities. Foundations will begin to take an active role in funding solutions to this growing problem.

Foundations become more digitally savvy.

Foundations will begin to add Chief Digital Officers (CDO’s) who are tasked with leading digital engagement efforts, maximizing the efficiency of grants management systems, financial systems, and relationship management databases. These CDO’s will hire staff and consultants with expertise in automation, to limit the amount of time that staff spend on repetitive duties like checking nonprofit status, updating databases, and managing reporting and instead use that time to deepen relationships in community. Foundations (and nonprofits) that don’t invest in staff in this area will be disrupted externally or internally by a new generation of self-automators

 

Trista Harris is a philanthropic futurist and nationally known as a passionate advocate for leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. She is also the author of the books How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar and FutureGood: How to Use Futurism to Save the World. She is a President of FutureGood, a consultancy focused on helping visionaries build a better future. 

 


Other Back to the Future Blogs: 

"Nothing Without Us": SCG's Journey to Inclusive Design

Trends in Education Philanthropy: A Q&A with Celine Coggins

The Future of Art Funding: A Conversation with Vijay Gupta and James Herr 

What is the Future of Work?: A Conversation with Tracie Neuhaus and Michele Prichard 

Designing the Future of Health: Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Strategic Foresight

 

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