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Equity and Social Justice

Monday, October 31, 2016
By Phuong Quach
Vice President, Member Engagement
Northern California Grantmakers


We’re all witnessing a frightening and divisive campaign season.  No matter the outcome, we know there is much work ahead to reconcile and heal our communities.  Philanthropy has an essential role to play in the healing process. 

And it is rising to the challenge.  Recently, a friend in community organizing asked me, “Why is philanthropy suddenly drinking the equity kool-aid?”  Equity has always been at the core of her work directly with low-income communities of color. I didn’t have a complete answer.  I still don’t. 

But it’s true: equity seems to be the buzz these days – a hot topic in foundation reports and blog posts, announced in new strategic plans and mission statements and the headliner at several conferences. Of course, there are many foundations that have always been at the forefront of this work, true champions of equity and social justice. We’re excited to see more foundations getting on board, engaging explicitly in equity and social justice through racial justice, gender equity LQBTQ rights, criminal justice reform, and disability rights.

Equity and Social Justice is a framework and a lens for everything we do at NCG. In the last few years, we’ve convened an increasing number of programs on economic inequality, racial justice, gender equity, diversity, equity and inclusion and have had the privilege to partner with organizations and funders deeply engaged in this issue.  Now, as we recently announced our Areas of Focus, we are taking it a step further.  We are committed to working with our members to create the conditions for deeper conversation, more risk-taking, and ultimately, greater impact.

We will soon hire a new director to lead this work. It will take our collective efforts – across issues and sectors – to advance our shared interests through partnerships, collaborations, and leveraging the knowledge of the field. 

As a woman, mother, daughter of refugee parents, and person of color, I believe this work is not optional: it’s essential. This is why I’m thrilled to forge our efforts in this area and proud to be a part of NCG and our philanthropic community here in northern California. 

I want to hear your ideas!  Let’s explore, partner and collaborate together. Please share your thoughts directly with me at

Learn More

Learn more about our Areas of Focus and what it means for NCG and you. 

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