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Areas of Focus

Northern California Grantmakers is addressing complex social issues in a diverse and dramatically changing region. The choices we all make now will shape our community and cultural legacy for generations. Our work affords us the extraordinary opportunity to have a lasting and meaningful impact in the place we call home. This is big stuff, to be sure.

To maximize the collective power of our community for greatest effect, NCG addresses complex social issues through three areas of focus.

Equity and Social Justice: Activating philanthropy to shape a world where all people can flourish

Leadership, Culture, and Community: Nurturing the dynamic and diverse people and institutions in philanthropy

Regional Vibrancy and Sustainability: Building networks to sustain the fabric and culture of the place we call home.

This approach allows us to advocate for smart strategic philanthropy and community practice while maintaining flexibility to respond to emerging issues that impact our members and the Northern California community.


Equity and Social Justice | Our Valuessymbol of a imbalanced scale to represent NCG's equity and social justice work.

NCG embraces philanthropy's role in ensuring equity in our institutions, culture, and society. Exclusionary policies and systematic discrimination have restricted access to resources and power. We are committed to creating access and opportunities that address structural inequities and support social movements. 

We partner with members and organizations to address racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, classism, and we pull together business, government, nonprofits, and our community to advance social justice. Examples include:

symbol of four hands coming together to represent NCG's leadership, culture, and community work.Leadership, Culture and Community | Our Craft

At NCG, we pay attention to both the individual and collective. At its best, work can be a place for individuals to form a healthy collective, express a vision of what the world can be, and organize around shared purpose.

We nurture principled, conscious leadership to maintain perspective, connect to oneself and others from a place of compassion, embrace the understanding of a greater ‘we,’ and stay present through trying circumstances.

With careful tending, our workplaces can welcome us to arrive with the fullness of who we are, where we have been, and where we want to go. To bring this about, we are redoubling support for the people who are turning philanthropic workplaces into sites for open conversations about race, gender, and class to advance equity and social justice in our organizations and in our grantmaking.

In practice, we create welcoming spaces for discussions of candor, allowing potentially transformative ideas to surface and take life.

symbol of a sun to represent NCG's regional vibrancy and sustainability work.Regional Vibrancy and Sustainability | Our Region

Northern California is diverse and beautiful, with a rich cultural history and commitment to social justice. We are called upon to preserve it through shared effort. Today, the region’s economic boom is deepening income disparities and displacing the very people who form the backbone of the services and cultural building blocks for safe, thriving communities.

In addition, our nonprofit and arts institutions are themselves experiencing record displacement, further eroding the vibrant character and culture that have been the legacy of our region for generations.

Preservation of our environment and the beauty of our surroundings, as well as the mitigation of climate change, are also central to the vibrancy of our region.

NCG's Lexicon

Want to learn more about why we describe our areas of focus the way we do? Read our lexicon where were break them down and explain what they mean to us. Read the Lexicon >