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Leadership, Culture and Community

symbol of four hands coming together to represent NCG's leadership, culture, and community work.

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, February 4, 2020 - 3:00pm

How was philanthropic wealth created in the first place? Who should lead foundations?

Monday, January 27, 2020 - 2:30pm

Join us for a conversation with Marcus Walton, GEO’s new President and CEO. Marcus will share his vision for GEO in the coming years and invite your reflections on how GEO can support grantmakers and move the field of philanthropy forward.

Monday, January 27, 2020 - 11:30am

The significant need for civil legal assistance among Californians—and the gap between that need and the resources to meet it—has never been fully measured. Until now...

Monday, February 10, 2020 - 11:00am

Imagine how philanthropy could change in this decade if we approached all of our grantmaking with one common, underlying approach: TRUST. How might our relationships change? How might our grantmaking be more impactful? Who might feel more welcome to join us?


Values-aligned grantmaking is becoming every day parlance in our field, with good reason: foundation professionals are increasingly conscious of the role they play in social change.

If you're new to philanthropy, or interested in sharpening your skills, NCG's signature program, New Grantmakers Institute (NGI): Grantmaking for the 21st Century, helps build your understanding of best practices for ethical and effective grantmaking, and helps you place yourself

It was just last October that a firestorm erupted across the North Bay in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino Counties. The most destructive in California history, the fires took lives, homes and livelihoods.

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? To most effectively deploy game-changing grants (capacity, operating, and infusions of capital – alongside project and program grants) funders must understand the intersection of strategy, financial health, and the needs of the whole enterprise. In our fourth and final Financial Management session with FMA on June 5, 2018, we explored several foundation approaches to leveraging the right kinds of grants at the right times. 

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. At this program, panelists offered 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. 


Thursday, January 23, 2020

I have been thinking a lot about community lately. I am moved to do so by several things: the quality,  character, and noise level of the current public discourse concerning policy and politics, the ongoing challenges people living in the Bay area and beyond navigate daily as they strive to live into their full potential, and the way my heart is beating as I contemplate leaving a place I have lived for over twenty-seven years. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Caitlin Brune as our next senior fellow.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The aim of NCG’s Communications Institute was to build such a bridge through the creation of a cohort learning program, one that designed a human experience through the art of interpersonal relations and the science of communications.

Headshot of the person of interest in this news release, David Greco
Thursday, October 10, 2019

NCG is pleased to share that David Greco, NCG's former Interim President and CEO, is moving back to the Bay Area for his new role as All Stars Helping Kids' Executive Director. Read David's welcome message here and read the announcement.

Photo of Emily Katz
Thursday, October 10, 2019

When I joined NCG three and a half years ago, our communications was staffed by a competent and personable team of one. The woman who held the job had a knack for discerning what people wanted and delivering just that thing. This made everyone happy. Most of the time. Inevitably, though, it did not always make her happy. Because what people wanted didn’t always match what she herself thought was best. Expressing disagreement, it turned out, was her kryptonite.