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2023 Annual (Not) Report

What We’re Made Of

NCG’s community of advocates, dreamers, and believers are transforming philanthropy. To support this transformation, we
choose to lean into impact, which comes from directly inspiring, mobilizing, and supporting philanthropy to shift practice.
Together, our community is advancing collective impact that far exceeds what we can do alone. In 2023, the NCG organism
grew. Our membership grew, we expanded our offerings, and created new opportunities for collective transformation. We
have gathered stories and data to highlight what we’re made of and how we moved philanthropy to action.


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The cytoplasm of a cell is thicker than water. It makes up the majority of a cell and supports all the organelles within it. NCG’s Communities of Practice, Annual Gatherings, events, and Peer Networks make up the gathering place of the NCG cell.

communities of practice

In the past 16 months, our Communities of Practice have brought together 546 individual members in 8 different cohorts around issues of racial equity, impact investing, power-building, unlearning whiteness, and supporting the next generation of grantmakers. At a glance:


Individual members came together in the past 16 months through Communities of Practice


hours of session time were hosted with over 70 participants during the 2023 New Grantmakers Institute


cohorts we designed around power- building, racial equity, impact investing, whiteness, and supporting the new generation of grantmakers

I used to doubt my ability as a leader before I joined the
cohort. This journey of reflection and confidence that
stayed throughout the journey of being part of the Rising
Leaders Cohort where peers showed empathy, positivity, and

Deeptansh "Deep" Chadha

Associate, Grants and Learning

A powerful learning group where it felt safe to explore
challenging questions together. The deep dive into
content, as well as the time and space to thought partnership
with others on how to apply what we’ve learned, was incredibly

Amanda Cohen

The Northern California Impact Investing Practitioners
Group has been great at connecting peers to learn and
collaborate from each other for their social impact work. The
energy and engagement are terrific!

Susan Au

Chief Financial Officer

RLC has been one of the places I was able to be my
authentic self working in this sector. Which is a hard
thing to say out loud. I felt solidarity and hopeful that
others are also pushing to invest more thoughtfully in our
communities and taking care of ourselves in this work.

Diana Jiménez

Program Associate, Homelessness

New Grantmakers Institute

NCG’s annual New Grantmakers Institute helps build an understanding of best practices for equitable, ethical, and effective grantmaking. In 2023, this learning series included 20 hours of session time with over 70 participants.

annual gatherings

In 2023 there were many occasions to gather together in-person but our three events in particular gave extra opportunity for connection, inspiration, and moving towards action.

Annual conference

Annual conference

Over 400 people attended the 2023 Annual Conference focused on mapping our collective future. Together we discussed how to move towards a future of regenerative economies, robust democracies, and climate resilient communities.

corporate philanthropy institute

corporate philanthropy institute

More than 200 people gathered at the 2023 Corporate Philanthropy Institute to gain skills and tools to build new standards for the sector.

Strengthening Democracy and Building Black Futures

Strengthening Democracy and Building Black Futures

Almost 300 people joined us during Black History Month for Strengthening Democracy and Building Black Futures.

collage of photos

Rising leaders cohort

Rising leaders cohort

NCG’s Rising Leaders Cohort is a unique opportunity for those in philanthropy to focus on their leadership journey and build the skills that will take them to the next level though cohort learning.

Racial equity action institute

Racial equity action institute

NCG’s Racial Equity Action Institute centers racial equity with an intersectional framework that recognizes the ways race is shaped and informed by class, gender, sexuality, and ability. This cohort learning series connects specialists in racial equity from philanthropy, business, government, and nonprofits to operationalize racial equity in their organizations.

unconscious whiteness in philanthropy

unconscious whiteness in philanthropy

NCG’s Unconscious Whiteness in Philanthropy learning series is for white-identifying foundation staff and leadership, philanthropic-serving professionals, and board members. In 2023 the series brought together two cohorts to review how white supremacy was created and embedded in the philanthropic sector, impacting everything from grantmaking and relationships to management and decision-making.

impact investing practitioners group

impact investing practitioners group

In its inaugural year, NCG’s first-ever Impact Investing Practitioners Group kicked off.

new grantmakers institute

new grantmakers institute

NCG's annual New Grantmakers Institute helps build understanding of best practices for equitable, ethical, and effective grantmaking. In 2023, this learning series included 20 hours of session time with over 70 participants. 


Chromosomes ensure that our inner workings proceed smoothly and efficiently. They are responsible for building and maintaining the structure that makes us unique. In 2023, we expanded our offerings, gained talented new team members, and leaned into what makes us who we are as an NCG organism.

Amplifying Narratives & Ideas

To highlight voices, perspectives, and ideas on the margins in philanthropy we launched three new types of story-telling.

Mic Drop Series

Mic Drop Series

is a place to discuss narrative reframes, share new ideas, highlight personal narratives, and provide political education from voices across the social sector.

The practice lab series

The practice lab series

highlights experiments, learnings, and failing forward in philanthropy by highlighting voices in the NCG community.

The asking for a friend (the field) series

The asking for a friend (the field) series

is an advice column for the field of philanthropy. Submissions are open to the philanthropic community and answered by the NCG team.

If we are working toward equity, we must be steadfast in resourcing trans leaders committed to, and creating long-term strategies for, trans people to live with self- determination and full autonomy.

Aldita Gallardo

Donor Advisor, Community Organizer, and Resource Mobilizer

We all have a part to play in social change, transformation, and better futures for youth and all. Determining what part we can all play as individuals and as representatives of our institutions alongside partners can be transformative.

Pui Ling Tam

Program Lead,Walter & Elise Haas Fund


5 Shifts for Philanthropy 

Learn More

2023 was a year of learning and designing our framework 5 Shifts Philanthropy Must Make Towards an Equitable Region. We created and activated a Kitchen Cabinet to support the work. This committee of leadership advisors have shared reflections, insights into emerging trends in philanthropy, and helped us develop programming strategies.


Lisa Sobrato Sonsini Sobrato Philanthropies Sobrato Family
Armando Castellano Castellano Family Foundation
A. Sparks Masto Foundation
Irene Wong
Irene Wong Formerly with David & Lucile Packard Foundation
Erinn Andrews GiveTeam
Willa Seldon
Willa Seldon The Bridgespan Group
Judi Powell Formerly with Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Catherine Crystal Foster Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

power-building cohort

NCG’s Power-building Cohort, a new addition to our Communities of Practice, is a learning and collaboration series helping grantmakers sharpen their power-building strategies by engaging in c4 funding and complementary c3 funding strategies.

The power-building series at NCG gave us the language and tools to move advocacy into our institutional strategic plan. We are grateful for NCG’s leadership and support as we build our advocacy journey with grantees and colleagues in Sonoma County

Kimberly Bender

Executive Director, Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County


Democracy, Policy, and Power-building

NCG creates and supports programming, communications, and organizing efforts that sustain the life cycle of a functional democracy, from equitable access to fair elections to governance to policy implementation. We recognize partnership and policy are powerful tools in advancing equitable change and believe philanthropy has a vital role to invest in power-building organizations. In 2023 NCG hosted two democracy salons in partnership with One 4 Democracy and offered a series with Mother Jones on local journalism and democracy.

Power-building cohort Organizational Participants

power-building cohort Organizational Participants

Philanthropy needs to be talking to our donors and the trustees about the importance of policy and systems, not just programs and services. We have to get our institutions comfortable with the uncertainty that is associated with supporting journalism, advocacy, and organizing because the benefits outweigh the risks in terms of what can be achieved.

Fred Blackwell

Chief Executive Officer

Collective resilience initiative 

Learn More

NCG’s Collective Resilience Initiative recognizes that nonprofits are the driving force of our collective efforts to address social justice issues impacting Northern California. It supports this backbone by focusing on the key factors impacting nonprofit sustainability to shift grantmaking practices and support evolving needs.

The Collective Resilience Initiative is making space for nonprofit organizations to engage and participate in philanthropy and is sharing education and best practices to move the needle forward in a positive and constructive manner. My involvement on the advisory committee has given me the opportunity to help identify key focus areas to prioritize as we support knowledge creation, capacity building, and increased awareness in the region.

Solomon Belette

Director, Sanford Institute of Philanthropy


Growing team

To sustain our ambitions, NCG’s team grew in 2023 with the addition of four new team members.


Victoria Rodarte Senior Democracy Fellow
Arron Jiron Director for Member Engagement
Liana Molina Director of Policy and Movement
Kirin Kumar headshot
Kirin Kumar Director for Climate and Disaster Resilience

The nucleus is central, forming the basis for growth and movement. In 2023 our nucleus officially shifted with a refresh to our mission and vision. With racial equity as our North Star, this refresh guides us towards deeper alignment and impact.



Northern California Grantmakers mobilizes philanthropy to build healthy, thriving, and just communities in Northern California.



Philanthropy redistributes resources, capital, and power back to historically marginalized communities leading transformative change.


Organelles act as organs of a cell to generate energy, power, and capacity. Northern California Grantmakers’ membership community of advocates, dreamers, and believers are transforming philanthropy together.

In 2023, our community was made up of:


organizations in our membership




new organizations





When I began working at the San Francisco Foundation five years ago as an Administrative Assistant, I got a fabulous opportunity to be a part of our NCG Institutional membership. Since then, I’ve benefited immensely from NCG trainings, convenings, mentorship, and network of values aligned resource mobilizers. This past year, I was blessed to join NCG’s Rising Leaders Fellowship and now feel like I have life long comrades, mentors, and chosen family. I truly believe that my growth and integrity as a funder has been positively impacted by my foundation’s connection to NCG!

Charity Whyte

The San Francisco Foundation

2023's New Members

new members
Cell Membrane

A cell membrane surrounds every living cell. It acts as a pathway for healthy nutrients to enter and as a barrier keeping harmful substances out. NCG’s work to support an equitable region aims to recognize harmful systems and policies, then work to transform and create sustaining practices within philanthropy. In 2023, NCG ramped up its work in climate and disaster resilience, housing, the arts, and stewarding resources back to the lands and communities that have experienced historical inequities.

Arts Loan Fund

Learn More

For over 30 years NCG’s Arts Loan Fund (ALF) has provided over $23 million in loans, advancing the sustainability and growth of nonprofit arts and cultural organizationsacross Northern California. This year, ALF also organized the peer gathering that led to creating the member-led Common Application for the Arts.


new Arts Loan Fund Co-chairs




Arts Loan Fund loans in 2023

In a peer learning session organized by NCG, it was determined that based on the findings of the report and in the wake of the pandemic, the time was right to move forward with the development of the Common Application for the Arts.

David Blazevich

Fleishhacker Foundation



To address these disaster inequities, Philanthropy California, the California Governor’s Office, and Cal OES have cultivated a strong partnership over the last four years to coordinate philanthropic investment in equitable disaster relief and recovery. This new grant is a testament to the ongoing coordination, collaboration, and dual commitment to a resiliency-centered approach to disasters.

This grant will allow Philanthropy California to create a series of trainings for nonprofits and funders to address capacity gaps for nonprofits, expand philanthropic co-investment in California grantees, and continue its role as a trusted platform for publicizing vetted funds for place-based relief, recovery, and resilience.

Through NCG, we were presented with opportunities to accelerate community-led solutions in regions overlooked by traditional philanthropy. Both our organizations understand we cannot use a band aid approach to disaster philanthropy. We need to uplift solutions for long lasting change that centers equity and justice.

Samantha Sandoval

Grantmaking & Special Projects Director, Latino Community Foundation


Paying the Shuumi Land Tax

Learn More

Philanthropy must move beyond optical land acknowledgments and take action. In 2023 NCG acknowledged more formally that we benefit from inhabiting the occupied lands of the Lisjan Ohlone people by committing 1% of all membership revenue towards the three land taxes within our geography, including Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, Wiyot Tribe-Wiyot Honor Tax, and Association of Ramaytush Ohlone-Yunakin Land Tax.


Learn More

Stable, affordable housing sits at the intersection of health, economic opportunity, and education, and addressing the Bay Area’s housing crisis means taking on the underlying inequities baked into how housing is developed and delivered. In 2023 we scaled up our work to engage more funders to advance housing justice, by designing our programs with an intersectional lens that draws connections between housing and other critical social issues. This year’s offerings brought together over 250 participants to combine collaborative efforts, share co-investment opportunities, and align their work for greater impact.