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: Leveling the opportunity playing field and working to right persistent wrongs 

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 Values

Despite significant progress over the last several decades, Equity and Social Justice issues stemming from unequal treatment and disparate access to resources and power undermine individual and community opportunity and progress.  

NCG will partner with our member colleagues and other organizations working to advance social justice and foster opportunities to collectively address issues of race, gender and equity in our community. Through our combined efforts we will help philanthropy, government and business and other stakeholders access tools and resources to advance social justice. Examples include:

Leadership, Culture and Community | Our Craft

The Bay Area philanthropic sector is a dynamic, diverse community dedicated to marshaling resources – alone and in partnership – strategically and with maximal impact to improve the human condition. The work of the sector is complex and difficult, and cannot be achieved without attending to the “care and feeding” of the individuals and institutions that comprise it. This includes:

  1. supporting individual skill and professional development
  2. cultivating executive leadership as well as the next generation of sector leaders
  3. focusing on the internal culture and practices of philanthropic institutions 
  4. nurturing a thriving, sector-wide community that is rooted in a strong sense of shared purpose, committed to continual growth and learning, and making time to inspire and celebrate one another

In our Community and Culture work, NCG will partner with our member colleagues and other philanthropy-supporting organizations to support efforts to strengthen and sustain the individuals and institutions that comprise the NCG community.  Examples include:

Regional Vibrancy and Sustainability | Our Region

The Bay Area economic boom is having dramatic, tectonic effects: deepening income and opportunity disparities and displacing ever-growing members of the nonprofit, arts, small business, and public sector workforce, which together form the backbone of critical services and cultural building blocks that are fundamental to safe, thriving communities.   

These same economic conditions are placing nonprofit and arts institutions themselves at higher risk for displacement, further threatening to undermine the vibrant character and culture that have been the legacy of our region for generations.  

Additionally, recent drought conditions throughout the region and state have underscored that the preservation of our environment and the beauty of our surroundings, as well as the mitigation of climate change, must be taken into account as we seek to sustain the vibrancy of our region.

In our Vibrancy and Sustainability work NCG will partner with our member colleagues and other community stakeholders to strengthen and sustain the key institutions that comprise the fabric of our communities; support economic inclusion and opportunities for all residents; foster community resiliency; and strive to maintain what makes the Bay Area an exciting place to live and work. Examples include:

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