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Social Change, Advocacy, and Movement Building: The Role for Funders

Thursday, September 11, 2014 -
2:00pm to 4:00pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360, San Francisco, CA
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What does it mean for a funder to support social change, advocacy, or movement building? Different foundations will answer the question in different ways, but most foundations would agree that the goal is to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

We know that no one funder can solve the problems that affect vulnerable communities, and no single nonprofit can address all the needs of the community it serves. So how do funders strategically employ their expertise and resources to move the needle on issues they care about? How do they help to build the power of a constituency? What roles is there for funders that don't traditionally think of themselves as supporting advocacy and movement building to nevertheless promote and support positive social change?

NCG is excited to partner with Alliance for Justice to present an encore of the most popular session from our 2014 NCG Annual Conference. Join us for a panel discussion, followed by small group discussions, with Bay Area leaders who will share lessons from their own foundation's work as well as collaborations with other funders.


Matt Foreman is director of Gay and Immigrant Rights Programs at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund in San Francisco. The Haas, Jr. Fund has been the largest non-gay foundation funder of the movement for gay and lesbian equality, making over $68 million in grants since 2000. It was the first foundation – gay or straight – to support marriage equality. The Fund is also a leading supporter of immigrant rights, both nationally and in California, investing over $40 million since 2005. Before coming to the Fund in 2008, Matt led a national, a statewide and a local gay organization - the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (2003 - 2008), the Empire State Pride Agenda (1997-2003), and the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (1990-1996).  A graduate of NYU School of Law, Matt is a founder of Heritage of Pride, the organizers of New York City’s annual LGBT pride events, and a former member of the New York City Human Rights Commission. He and his partner of 24 years, Francisco De Leon, were married in California in 2008.

Dana Kawaoka-Chen is the Network Director for the Bay Area Justice Funders Network, where she works to: create more authentic partnerships between community leaders and funders; connect funders across issues; and organize funders to leverage more resources for Social Justice issues and movement. Previously, Dana served as a Capacity Building Manager at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy after holding executive positions in two community-based organizations. 

Connie Galambos Malloy serves as Senior Program Officer for the James Irvine Foundation’s California Democracy Program, overseeing the foundation’s voter and civic engagement grantmaking. She also staffs Irvine’s Pay for Success Initiative, a partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund exploring a new approach to funding social services that is anticipated to improve outcomes and ultimately reduce costs. Connie currently serves as a Commissioner for the first-ever California Citizens Redistricting Commission. In 2011, the commission oversaw implementation of Propositions 11 and 20 resulting in Assembly, Senate, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts to guide elections for ten years.

Before joining Irvine, Connie served as Senior Director of Programs for Urban Habitat, where she directed Urban Habitat’s environmental justice work and helped develop the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute to identify, train, place and support low-income people and people of color for priority public-sector commissions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2012, Connie was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame for her environmental justice leadership. She has served on the boards of the California Planning Foundation, American Planning Association’s California Chapter, and was a founding board member of AFAAD: Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora.

Nayantara Mehta is Senior Counsel with Alliance for Justice’s West Coast Office in Oakland, CA. She works through Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy initiative to ensure that communities, and the nonprofits that represent them, have a voice in the policy decisions that affect them. She consults with and trains nonprofit organizations and foundations throughout the country on rules and strategies for legal and effective advocacy, including lobbying, election-related activity, and ballot measure advocacy. She also provides legal guidance that encourages grantmakers to support advocacy by their grantees and the nonprofit sector. Nayantara holds a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. She is the Secretary of the Board of the Asian Pacific American Network, a statewide environmental justice organization based in Oakland, and serves on the Executive Board of the American Constitution Society Bay Area Lawyer chapter.

Luke Newton is Senior Program Officer at Common Counsel Foundation where he provides strategic advising, research and grant program oversight for a group of affiliated family foundations and donor-advised funds. Luke has over a decade of experience in philanthropy, nonprofit, and social justice work. His grantmaking portfolios span a wide range of issue areas, with a focus on racial and economic justice and immigrant and worker rights. Luke serves on the Program Committee of the Working Group on Labor and Community Partnerships, a national network of funders working to explore and expand philanthropic support for economic equity and worker rights. He is also on the steering committee of the Bay Area Justice Funders Network, a regional alliance of funders working strengthen philanthropic support for social justice. Luke began his philanthropic advising work as a consultant coordinating the establishment and operation of the Fund for Indigenous Rights and the Environment. Common Counsel Foundation is a public foundation that invests in community leadership to advance equity and justice both locally and nationally. It provides philanthropic advising and manages grantmaking programs for small foundations and donors while also coordinating regranting and pooled funding initiatives.

Francesca Vietor serves as Program Director for Environment, Public Policy, and Civic Engagement at The San Francisco Foundation, focusing on efforts to improve the environmental health of vulnerable communities, build resilience in the face of climate change, and protect the natural environment. Francesca is also a Commissioner on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where she leads policymaking for the City and County of San Francisco’s water, wastewater, and municipal power services. Before that, she was executive director of the Chez Panisse Foundation, where she advanced nutrition education and food justice issues. Previously, she was president of the Urban Forest Council, president of the Commission on the Environment, and the chair of Mayor Newsom’s Environmental Transition Team. She has worked for several non-profits, including Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace, and she serves on the boards of SPUR and Environmental Working Group. Francesca holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree from Georgetown University and she pens a blog for The Huffington Post. 


Target Audience

This program is free and open to NCG members.