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Ellen's Year in Review

Monday, December 21, 2015

It is with enormous gratitude that I write to say thank you, as we ready ourselves for a holiday break. 

Over the past year it has been enormously gratifying to witness the deep engagement of NCG’s members, the collaborative spirit with which you approach the work at hand, and the efforts that are underway to link with other partners in business, government, and the broader community to leverage impact. We are grappling with multi-faceted issues in our communities, and there is a great deal at stake as we work to identify effective approaches to overcoming these challenges. We are greater than the sum of our parts, to be sure.

In this handful of slides we share the moments that made us proudest, a few inspiring thoughts that fueled us, and the number of cups of coffee we brewed to keep the pep in our members’ step in the gatherings we hosted at our new office.

Four themes will carry our work in 2016. Inspiration is the one I would like to focus on today. To us, this means connecting members of the NCG community to a sense of purpose and agency, and creating opportunities for celebration and joy.  Here are three especially joyful things that I appreciate most about this past year:


  • On more than 75 occasions, members came together to bring the region’s most pressing issues and promising practices into a space for learning, growth, sharing and community-building.
  • Members of Arts Loan Fund, Bay Area Health Funders Group and Legal Services Funders Network supported collaborative approaches to emergent issues.
  • We experienced a 20 percent increase in our membership.  This translates to more people, greater inspiration, new ideas, and formidable action taken to address our region’s most urgent challenges.

We are hearing from many of you that NCG is again becoming a community in which you can reignite your sense of purpose and agency in your work, celebrate your accomplishments, and those of your colleagues, and re-energize yourself.

I have had the pleasure of meeting with dozens of you one-on-one, and look forward to continuing this in the coming year. We have also convened members to inform our strategy about how to partner most effectively going forward. We are learning a great deal about what is foremost on your minds, and identifying new ways to partner with you in service to your goals and to better our communities.

In short, it was a great year, and I could not have imagined a better beginning as NCG’s new CEO. I extend my deepest personal thanks to all of you for your warm welcome, your goodwill, and your clear willingness and desire to work with us as we forge ahead.

I look forward to sharing our plans for 2016 and beyond with you in the new year, and to continuing to strengthen our relationships with all of you as we partner to build and strengthen the philanthropic community in Northern California. 

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays,


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