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The Power of Now | NCG's 2016 Annual Conference

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 (All day)
Microsoft Campus
1065 La Avenida Street | Mountain View, CA | 94043
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Online registration is now closed.  If you have a last minute registration, please email










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Program Description

This year's conference theme is The Power of Now.  The quickening pace of change with respect to elections, social movements and the region’s rapid economic shifts demand our attention.  Join us for a discussion of how to galvanize and make the most of this critical moment as a sector, and in partnership with others in our communities.

Building on the momentum of last year’s events, this conference creates a moment of shared experience around emergent issues in Northern California now.

  • How does philanthropy play a role in the issues that are igniting engagement all around us? 
  • How can we add to meaningful change in movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, climate change, immigration reform and minimum wage, happening in our community, region and world?
  • How will the 2016 presidential campaign and election impact our efforts on the issues we care about?
  • What is the role of funders in strengthening democratic processes, supporting advocacy and policy as vehicles for change, and encouraging civic participation in the electoral process?

Join us for the conference to engage all your senses, ignite new energy in your work and deepen your connections in our vibrant philanthropic community. Let’s seize this moment, the power of now, together!


Join in the excitement on Twitter! #NCG2016 @NorCalGrant

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See the full list

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Shuttle buses pick up at Oakland and San Francisco: Get on the Bus


Registration: The Breakfast Club



Morning Plenary: The Perfect Storm

Keynote Ian Haney López says politically coded ideas about race undermine the notion that government has a role to play in righting the wrongs of extreme poverty. Lead thinkers on race and the promise of equal opportunity will probe this thinking.Then they’ll face off against NCG members in a game of “Funder Feud” to determine who is most in tune with our collective hopes in this presidential year.

  • Ian Haney LópezJohn H. Boalt Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law
  • Alan JenkinsExecutive Director, Co-Founder, Opportunity Agenda
  • Rinku SenExecutive Director, Race Forward
  • Fred BlackwellCEO, San Francisco Foundation (moderator)


Lunch Breakout Sessions: A Chorus Line

Practitioners offer strategies, tools, and methods to help you amplify your own Power of Now. Consider how to apply the day’s big ideas on culture, technology, race and gender equity, and wealth concentration in your work, and explore new approaches to help us meet the opportunities and challenges of this historic moment head-on.


Communications and Culture: FAME

What moves people to action? Is the language of equity advancing the values that underpin it? What makes an effective narrative of change? Join a workshop and discussion on the tools and strategies for effective communication in this tumultuous time. Leave with a clear idea on how to use a framework of values, problems, solutions and action to reach your audience so that they hear you.

  • Alan Jenkins, Executive Director, Opportunity Agenda


On the Front Lines of Tech for Social Change: The Matrix

Technology is enabling social change at an unprecedented rate. People from around the globe can engage in social movements from Arab Spring to #BlackLivesMatter to the presidential campaigns. Join us to ask: How are social change leaders leveraging technology? How is the philanthropic community engaging this work? What are the limits of technology?

  • Alissa BlackPrincipal Investment, Omidyar Networks
  • Christie GeorgeDirector, New Media Ventures
  • Rashad RobinsonExecutive Director, ColorofChange
  • Natalie FosterAdvisor, The Aspen Institute and Open Society Foundation & Fellow, Institute for the Future (moderator)


Philanthropy, Race and Gender: Freedom on My Mind

Changing demographics, movements for racial justice, polarized communities, mass incarceration of people of color and an economic imperative suggest that race and gender factor integrally in community well-being. Think through some of these issues and questions to develop an approach that is steeped in the NOW.

  • Nikole Collins-PuriChief Strategist of Philanthropic Initiatives, Women’s Foundation of California
  • Josh KirschenbaumVice President for Strategic Direction, PolicyLink
  • Rinku SenExecutive Director, Race Forward
  • Justin SteelePrincipal,
  • Taj JamesFounder and Co-Director, Movement Strategies Center (moderator)


Economic Inequality: Inside Out

The economic downturn may seem like a distant memory in the wake of exploding prices for housing, rapidly changing neighborhoods, nonprofit displacement and residents locked out of the booming economy. Explore opportunities for funders to address gentrification and increase community stability, provide opportunities to participate in the growing economy and support residents as they migrate into new communities.

  • Maria Noel Fernandez, Director of Organizing and Civic Engagement, Bay Area Rising
  • Sandra Witt, Program Director – North Region, The California Endowment
  • Miriam Zuk PH.D.Project Director, Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley
  • Jahmese Myers, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (Moderator)


Closing Plenary: The 2016 Elections - Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot

What do the rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump tell us about voter attitudes regarding our political system in the United States? What are the implications of current election-year events and recent trends in Congressional (in)action for our democracy? How do funders reflect and engage these shifts? In what ways does civic engagement matter most right now? What is at stake?

  • Aimee AllisonSenior Vice President, PowerPac+
  • Jason GrumetFounder and President, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Van Jones, President & Co-Founder, Dream Corps 
  • Larry KramerPresident, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Scott ShaferSenior Editor, California Politics & Government, KQED (moderator)


NCG Membership Meeting: Risky Business

  • Diane Parnes, Northern California Grantmakers Board Chair;
Board Officer,Secretary, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund - SV2


Closing Remarks and Musical Performance: Purple Rain

  • Van JonesPresident & Co-Founder, Dream Corps

Van Jones pays tribute to the philanthropic legacy of his dear friend Prince. He’ll speak to the incredible power of this moment, the work ahead, and coming together collectively to make real change happen.


  • Special Musical Performance by Vocal Rush

3:00 - 4:00 pm 

Reception: The Social Network

Share a drink and a story with colleagues and friends as we gather to toast the day and each other.

4:00 pm

Shuttle buses depart: Into the Night

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Online registration is now closed.  If you have a last minute registration, please email

This conference is open to NCG members and non-member funders.

Members: First time on this website? Set your password. To register yourself and/or a colleague at your organization, please log in and click the Register Now link above. 

Non-members funders: First time on this website? You will need to create an account. Once your account is authenticated, you will be able to login and register for this program.

SDG or SCG member?  Please email to access the member rate for this conference. 

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NCG members

  • $275 [Regular Registration - after May 4th] 

Non-member funders

  • $325 [Regular Registration - after May 4th]

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How to get to Microsoft’s Mountain View campus:

Shuttle Buses

We are offering complimentary shuttle buses to and from the conference site:

  • Oakland Bus: pick-up and drop-off at the 12th street Bart station | Departs at 8:00 am

  • San Francisco: pick-up and drop-off at the corner of Market and Spear | Departs at 8:00 am

You can reserve a spot on either bus when you register. Shuttle over and network your way to the conference while our partners at KQED entertain you with a custom programming for the ride. Space is limited! 


The Mountain View CalTrain stop is 2 miles away from Microsoft’s campus. You can Uber/Lyft/Taxi to and from the CalTrain station.

Drive on your own

There is ample free parking on site! Create and organize your own carpool or drive with colleagues. 

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Cancellation Policy

Out of consideration for staff planning and anyone who might be on the program waiting list, we ask that registrants notify the NCG Registrar at least one week prior to the conference should they need to cancel their participation.

  • Cancellation requests received by May 11th are eligible for a 100% refund of registration fee.
  • Cancellation requests received after May 11th but prior to May 25 are eligible for a credit toward other NCG 2015 programs.
  • No refund or credit for no-shows.

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Pre-Conference Poll

Because we love Family Feud, we’re putting together our own NorCal version. Give us five short answers on our 45-second opinion poll and see how some of the leading minds on race, equity, immigration, and democracy stack up against your opinions.

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Conference Quick Links

Announcing Powerhouse Workshops | NCG's 2016 Annual Conference

Announcing our Special Guest and Closing Plenary | NCG's 2016 Annual Conference

Notice of Member Meeting and Election of Board Nominees

Bring a Friend with you to the 2016 Annual Conference...for FREE!

KQED Public Media and The Power of Now

Navigating Together in a Perfect Storm: Q&A with Ellen LaPointe

Announcing our Annual Conference Speakers


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