I’ve been reflecting on an experience I had last month. I was honored to attend the first Annual Northern California Tribal Policy Summit held in Arcata, California. Hundreds of leaders, survivors, legislators, and funders gathered to address the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) crisis.
In philanthropy, how do we steward resources back to the lands and communities that have experienced historical inequities? While it will not undo centuries of harm, it is a first step toward repair. NCG recognizes that we must move beyond optical land acknowledgments into tangible action. What does it mean to move towards right relationships with Indigenous communities? We are figuring it out.
NCG and our Philanthropy California colleagues are delighted to share with you the following report detailing the efforts and impacts of Philanthropy California’s Fair Representation Fund. This pooled fund harnessed $2.5 million in direct philanthropic donations and guided additional resources. Ultimately, these investments helped to ensure that the 2020 state and local redistricting processes would reflect the perspectives of California communities that are too often left out of decision-making.
Still, it was worth noting, as the last two years were unlike anything professionally in the 28 years that proceeded it. A global pandemic, climate crises, economic destabilization, and assaults on democratic institutions occurring during a racial reckoning will have that effect. That said, I am more convinced than ever that I have the right job to do. We have the right job to do at NCG.
To build a more inclusive and accessible world, we must commit to understanding their challenges and enacting the changes those most impacted by structural challenges recommend. I know this because my children taught me.
We recently lost a powerhouse in our field. Gwen Walden was the Senior Managing Director at Arabella Advisors' San Francisco office. She had a long history in our community and sector serving on the Boards of the East Bay Community Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Fund.
Here in Northern California, we may believe that we are isolated and immune from this on-going assault on our freedom to vote and our power to elect and hold our leaders accountable. But while the symptoms may be more severe elsewhere, the rise of white supremacy and growing peril of political violence threatens every California resident, whether you live in Palo Alto or Petaluma, Oakland or Orinda.
Listening to and taking the lead from Black women, femmes, girls, and gender-expansive folks is vital to how California fortifies itself as a bastion of reproductive justice organizing. But that trailblazing has not translated into dollars in the field. Even without the material resources, Black women create solutions to better their environment and communities, practice effective leadership, and foster a sense of safety and belonging. While there is more cultural recognition that Black women have always been central to the struggle for freedom and equality, it’s time to turn that recognition into real dollars.
NCG is pleased to announce the operations team is growing! Deirdre Judge (they/them) joins as the new Operations Coordinator supporting the implementation of NCG's internal and external infrastructure. Deirdre has spent their entire career working against oppressive systems and believes that policies, and their operationalization, are what give teeth to liberatory theorization.
We all have felt the impact of heat waves this summer, but the costs and stakes are different across communities and neighborhoods in California. While temperatures rise in California, so do extreme heat illnesses and heat mortality. Those most impacted are unlikely to live in cooler coastal communities, or have access to air-conditioned homes.