When I started at NCG early in 2015 I spent a lot of time listening. Like, a LOT. During close to 200 meetings in my first year, I sought to learn what was strong about our work, what members of our community wanted more (and less) of from NCG, and – perhaps most importantly – what folks needed to increase their impact and to remain connected to their sense of purpose, their agency, and their community of colleagues. The guidance I received was remarkable in its continuity – and in its vehemence.
Welcome to a special edition of What We're Reading. We're winding down with a double dose of articles and bonus tidbits.
What do you get when you set four top-performing bankers from Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, and San Francisco on a three-week sprint to map the next leg of the Bay Area’s efforts to secure space for its prized nonprofits? A welcome strategy for shoring up resources, a gentle nudge away from the usual suspects, and a snazzy PowerPoint to show the way.
Some 30 years ago, on the steps of the Supreme Court, I made a decision that would re-route my entire communications career. At the time, I had a good decade of professional corporate PR under my belt. But when I stepped in front the throng of news cameras covering a protest for LGBT rights where I was the media relations volunteer, I made a spot decision to come out as gay, live, on network television.
The Kincade Fire broke out on the night of Wednesday, October 23, 2019, in rural Sonoma County. Since then, the fire has forced thousands of people to evacuate in the county.
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.
When NCG stepped into the policy space two years ago, our goal was to bring a powerful tool to advance change to the complex issues facing our diverse and rapidly-changing region. Guided by our policy agenda, NCG’s policy work has focused on expanding economic security in Northern California, protecting and promoting the rights of historically marginalized communities, and maximizing the ability of the philanthropic ecosystem to deliver social good.
October represents a time of changing seasons and is an opportunity to think about how change occurs, what it takes to make it happen, and how we can reflect on our power and privilege. The articles this month focus on movement building, mental health, immigration and border-related concerns, and disability issues.
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.
As a kid, I practiced all the time – piano, soccer, reading – to get better at whatever it was I was doing. I practiced. I asked questions. I got frustrated. Inevitably, with that one piece of sheet music, that soccer move, or the next chapter book, I found the way through, most times with the help of those wiser and more experienced than myself.