Leadership, Culture and Community

Nurturing the dynamic and diverse people and institutions in philanthropy.

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; and 
  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:


Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 9:30am

What does it take for a nonprofit to move from surviving to thriving? And, what kind of support can funders provide to meaningfully shift the trajectory of an organization?

Monday, June 4, 2018 - 12:30pm

Be the first to test drive mind-opening new ways to collaborate. The public square is at the very heart of civil society. It's where we build community, test ideas, and make change. It’s where creativity, innovation, science, spirituality, and strategy collide in fantastic ways. And it’s where the future is always born anew.

At Upswell/LA in November, we’re capturing this spirit in a high-concept Public Square for changemakers.

You’re invited to be the first to experience it next month in San Francisco.

Join us on June 4 to prototype new (and quite unusual) tools for helping you and fellow changemakers connect, communicate, and create.

Monday, June 18, 2018 - 2:00pm

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have set change in motion across American society, from popular culture to the halls of Congress. But is philanthropy listening? And is philanthropy part of the problem? At the root of the sexual violence #MeToo addresses, and the workplace misconduct #TimesUp addresses, is misuse of power. Money, race, gender, and other factors cause breakdowns in how we communicate with each other.

Join a candid, warm conversation with a cross-section of foundation leaders as they work their way through this complex issue. Few philanthropic dollars go towards gender justice, or gender equity issues more broadly. Our panelists will offer up their own paths to discovering built-in systems that get in the way of righting power dynamics and the corrections they made (or want to make) to ready themselves for this moment.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 8:30am

NCG members have the benefit of attending Southern California Grantmakers' conference for FREE! 

Family foundations have always played a key role in philanthropy, with their focus on strong grantee and community relationships and ability to respond nimbly. Now, family philanthropy is poised to both broaden and deepen its impact as the number of family foundations continues to grow. The question is, how can we make the most of our unique strengths and opportunities?

Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 12:30pm

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, in collaboration with partner co-investors, supports two efforts, PropelNext and Project Evident, to strengthen the capacity of nonprofits, and youth-serving organi



A nonprofit with adequate financial resources not only raises enough revenue to cover core operating expenses, but also maintains funds in reserve to buffer the organization against future uncertainty. In our third Financial Management session with FMA on May 3, 2018, we explored the importance of the right mix of financial resources in ensuring financial resilience, as well as the critical role of another resource key to a nonprofit’s success: its people. We also explored what a successful leadership team looks like and how funders can support their grantees in developing leadership capacity, especially in the finance realm.

On April 16th, 2018, we hosted our 2018 NCG Annual Conference, the largest gathering of the philanthropic community in Northern California.This year’s conference, Together for Good, featured lead thinkers on the critical issues of our time, such as the role of media in upholding democracy, overcoming social inequality, and advancing narrative change. We dug deep into how philanthropy can – and must – bring to bear not only financialresources, but also our collective leadership, voice, action and empathy to really move the ball. 

In uncertain times, it’s important for nonprofit organizations to plan for contingencies and anticipate both short- and long-term needs. Financial planning, which ranges from annual budgeting to multi-year projections, is about connecting programmatic goals to resource decisions. And while a strong financial planning function is critical, many organizations struggle to assess and refine strategy on an ongoing and “adaptive” basis. In this session, we explored the skills and tools nonprofits must develop if they are to build their financial planning “muscle” and how funders can support them in this process.

Financially resilient grantees are able to successfully navigate current challenges as well as maximize opportunities in the long-term. Critically, they have a comprehensive understanding of their financial health and are able to tell their financial story to key stakeholders. In this session, we will discuss what it takes for a nonprofit to move from surviving to thriving, explore key values that are embodied in the culture of financially resilient organizations, and discuss the leadership behaviors and practices that set an organization on the path to financial resilience.

Our nation’s social safety net is at risk, and the effects on our most vulnerable communities could be devastating. In a session on 1/24/18, we heard about critical work that is happening now to save our social safety net, given Arabella Advisors' recent work with donors and advocates to protect the programs that collectively constitute that safety net using all available tactics and resources.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Metta Fund is pleased to announce that Roma Guy and John Woodward have joined the organization’s board of directors.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

NCG member the Y & H Soda Foundation is pleased to announce that Luis Arteaga has joined the Foundation as Senior Program Officer for its Family Economic Success Program.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Philanthropy and the non-profit social justice sectors are not exempt from perpetuating toxic workplace environments.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I was born in New Mexico and grew up in a large, hard-working family. My visionary Mexican-American parents pushed us to pursue a college education and to never settle for anything less than our very best. Their guidance led me to a career that I love and kept me part of a rich culture and community that I support.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

After twenty years of remarkable service to foundations and the local nonprofit community, NCG member Mary Gregory will be retiring this month from her role as Vice President of Community Alliance at Pacific Foundation Services. Thank you for your years of dedication, Mary!