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NCG Board Chair on Our Curious City

Friday, July 28, 2017

Last week, NCG hosted United Philanthropy Forum’s annual conference in San Francisco (formerly Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers). Having peers in town gave us a chance to showcase lots of talent from the region (including Dr. Bob Ross, Lateefah Simon, Daniel Lee, Judy Belk and Fred Blackwell) as we pushed toward an equity framework to address persistent systemic inequality.

NCG’s board chair Jeff Malloy kicked things off with a welcome that reminds us of ten excellent reasons to cherish the diverse and beautiful place we call home.


On behalf of the board and membership of Northern California Grantmakers, I’m pleased to welcome you to San Francisco for the Forum’s 2017 Annual Conference.

I know the conference agenda allows you to get out and explore the city and my guess is that 99% of you have been here before. You know the scene: rolling hills, beautiful bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, Victorian houses, Golden Gate Park...All so charming and picturesque, you could puke!

But, as you do get out and explore, here are the Top 10 things you probably didn’t know about San Francisco:

#10. San Francisco is constructed on 43 hills — I know that there is little time to exercise at these conferences, so just walk around the block for a good cardio workout!

#9. You’ll be safe from rampaging elephants, as there is a law on San Francisco’s books that prohibits having elephants in the city unless they’re on a leash.

#8. Animal lovers, worry not! Golden Gate Park has its own herd of buffalo!

#7. Fortune cookies, denim jeans and Irish coffee were all invented in San Francisco and they’re all still commercially available here!

#6. For those of you familiar with the Star Trek Genre, Starfleet Headquarters is located in San Francisco, so beam on up!

#5. A trip to our City Hall can please both movie buffs and sports nuts — Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were among the most famous people married there.

#4. San Francisco is home to more billionaires than almost any other city ...except New York, Moscow and London. BUT our population is only about 10% of those cities, so the chance of meeting/dating/marrying/_______ing those billionaires is much greater!

#3. San Francisco is a curious city. Washington Square is located in the North Beach Neighborhood:

  • It’s nowhere near the beach
  • The Square has 5 sides
  • And the statue in Washington Square is of Ben Franklin, not George Washington!
  • CURIOUS!

#2. San Francisco has garnered many nicknames over the years, most famously

  • Baghdad by the bay
  • “The city that knows how”

To that I say, use your imagination!

And #1. There is much speculation about how San Francisco got its current name but it’s commonly agreed that its original name was Yerba Buena, which is Spanish for Good Herb or Good Weed... I’m just sayin...

And on top of all that, San Francisco is a sanctuary city.

NCG is proud to work with our members and their grantee partners to protect and defend the rights of our most vulnerable and marginalized populations.

We bring together foundations, non-profit organizations, government and businesses. We pool resources, share information and learn from each other, making our collective impact far greater than if we were going it alone. For that reason, NCG is a proud, longtime member of the Forum.

None of us can achieve the impact we seek on our own, so regional and national infrastructure organizations like the Forum and NCG extend our networks and broaden our reach.

I’m pleased to see the Forum’s expansion to bring together both regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations. Here in California, the three regional associations have come together to collaborate more closely through our Philanthropy California initiative.

We’re seeing the value of stronger collaboration at the state level and I’m glad to see this happening in a serious way at the national level through the Forum. We’re more powerful and more effective when we’re working together.

Have a fantastic conference, enjoy San Francisco and it’s now my pleasure to introduce NCG’s fabulous President and CEO, Ellen LaPointe!