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Addressing Poverty and Inequality in the Bay Area

Monday, March 6, 2017 -
2:00pm to 5:00pm PST
The Battery, San Francisco
717 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA
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As the cost of living rises in the Silicon Valley, "29.5 percent of local residents - roughly 800,000 people - rely on some form of public or private assistance in order to get by.” However, at a time when there is a growing need for human services, local community-based organizations are struggling to keep the lights on. It is clear there is an opportunity for the dynamic, growing community of Bay Area philanthropists to do more to support these local efforts. So what is the disconnect?

The Giving Code: Silicon Valley Nonprofits and Philanthropy, a new report funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, provides a holistic portrait of the region’s nonprofit and philanthropic ecosystems and where and why they do or do not intersect. At this event, the authors of the report, Alexa Cortes Culwell and Heather McLeod Grant, will present their key findings and recommendations on how to bridge the gap to create lasting solutions for the region.

They will be joined by changemakers working on the ground along with philanthropic leaders Daniel Lurie, Founder and CEO of Tipping Point and Don Howard, President and CEO of the Irvine Foundation, who will share how their organizations are combining innovative and systemic approaches to tackle poverty in the Bay Area and California. Matt James, a Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, will moderate the panel discussion.

Following the discussion, we will break into smaller working groups to discuss solutions with other reflective philanthropists and enjoy time for networking at The Battery.


Alexa Culwell is the co-founder of Open Impact and a longtime philanthropy advisor, speaker, and facilitator. For the past 25 years she has built and managed foundations and philanthropic initiatives for successful entrepreneurs, including serving as the founding CEO of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. She recently completed a four-year appointment as a visiting practitioner at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. She has served on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s board for more than a decade, and has been a long-standing board member of New Door Ventures. Her work has been cited in Harvard Business Review and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Alexa earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco.

Don Howard is President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine Foundation. He led the Foundation’s recent transition to a focus on expanding economic and political opportunity for Californians who are working but struggling with poverty. Before becoming CEO in 2014, he served as Executive Vice President, directing Irvine’s program and grantmaking activities. Prior to joining Irvine in 2012 Don was a partner at The Bridgespan Group, where he served as a strategic advisor to nonprofit and foundation leaders, and led Bridgespan’s San Francisco office for more than a decade. Don grew up in Long Beach, California, and came to the Bay Area to earn his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Stanford University, where he also obtained his M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business.

Before founding Tipping Point Community in 2005, Daniel Lurie worked for the Bill Bradley presidential campaignAccenture and the Robin Hood Foundation. September 11th, 2001 occurred within Lurie’s first week at Robin Hood, which led the organization to leverage the generosity of the nation in targeted relief efforts for low-income New Yorkers. Over the following few years, Lurie adapted the Robin Hood model to his home community, the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2005, Tipping Point Community has raised more than $120 million to educate, employ, house and support those in need in the Bay Area, helping more than 23,000 people get on a path out of poverty in the last year alone. Lurie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Duke University and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund and the Levi Strauss Foundation.

Heather McLeod Grant is the co-founder of Open Impact and a social entrepreneur, author, and consultant with 25 years of experience in social change. She is coauthor of the bestselling Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, named a Top Ten Book of the Year by The Economist. Previously she was the principal of McLeod-Grant Advisors. Heather helped lead the nonprofit practice at Monitor Institute and served as a McKinsey & Company consultant. She began her career as an Echoing Green Fellow when she cofounded Who Cares, a national magazine for young social entrepreneurs published from 1993 to 1999. She is a Venture Partner with Draper-Richards-Kaplan and has served on numerous local, national, and global nonprofit boards. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and an AB from Harvard University.

With over 25 years in the philanthropic and nonprofit communities, Matt James is a recognized leader in communications, project and grantmaking strategies and broad collaborations that have effectively moved issues. Matt was a co-founder and president of Next Generation, a start-up communications, research and policy nonprofit that launched major projects and programs in the areas of climate and sustainability, and investment in kids and families. Prior to his work at Next Generation, James spent 20 years at the Kaiser Family Foundation. James currently serves on the board of the CDC Foundation, and is the past president of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. Prior to his non-profit work, James spent ten years on Capitol Hill as a senior advisor to former Congressman Mo Udall and former Senators Dale Bumpers and Daniel Patrick Moynihan.


Email Takiyah Hartwell at