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Northern California Grantmakers Re-Enters Policy Advocacy, Brings on Powerhouse Attorney Cecilia Chen

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

As seen in The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

San Francisco – The voice of philanthropy policy advocacy in the Bay Area returns as Northern California Grantmakers brings powerhouse attorney Cecilia Chen aboard as the organization’s first Manager of Public Policy to marshal the network’s collective power.

“From the dissolution of the safety net to the fear perpetrated on our communities, today’s political landscape undermines a fundamental tenet of philanthropy – to make life better for others,” said Ellen LaPointe, NCG President and CEO. “It is incumbent upon philanthropy, as a crucial part of the region’s ecosystem, to bring its voice, power, and resources to the table. Already many of our members have taken a stand in support of equity, justice, and communities across Northern California. Cecilia’s expertise, passion, and experience will help us guide Bay Area philanthropy in our critical role of protecting our most vulnerable communities in Northern California that have come under threat.”

As Manager of Public Policy, Chen will play a leading role in maximizing the collective voice of NCG’s 180 members to advance policy solutions to the region’s complex social issues. With deep experience in advocacy, coalition building, and policy development, Chen also brings a breadth of knowledge in substantive issues including childhood trauma, criminal justice reform, and education. She will work closely with NCG members to build a robust policy agenda rooted in the organization’s commitment to community, collaboration, equity, and social justice, as guided by the following three goals:

  • Address barriers to equity and social justice that result in disparities of access to opportunity.
  • Preserve and strengthen the philanthropic sector as a vehicle for impact.
  • Sustain the vital infrastructure that forms the backbone and character of our region.

Chen comes to NCG with policy experience in both the nonprofit and public sectors. Most recently as a Deputy Attorney General with the California Attorney General’s Office, she advanced statewide efforts to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect. Chen has also led multi-sector coalitions to address the far-reaching impacts of childhood trauma, built and advanced multi-year policy agendas, and served as the community lawyer for a nationally-reported youth-led anti-discrimination campaign.   

“It is an honor to be a part of an organization that so deeply understands the need for public policy advocacy in advancing positive social change,” said Chen. “While so many of our communities in Northern California and across the state are under attack, philanthropy has a unique opportunity to come together to protect the values that we cherish. With the support of this strong team, I am energized and ready to drive NCG’s re-entry into the public policy realm.”   

Northern California Grantmakers’ entry into public policy is an opportunity to enhance the existing and emerging efforts of its members – to represent a unified philanthropic sector in the fight to protect the rights and well-being of Northern California’s most deeply impacted communities. With the expansion of the public policy team, it has the opportunity to think bigger, be bolder, and become stronger – to push the envelope in re-imagining philanthropy’s role in the policy discourse. 

Through Chen’s appointment, Northern California Grantmakers also looks to deepen its work as part of Philanthropy California, a partnership with sister associations Southern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers, to bring together the three networks as a powerful force for change. With a team of policy experts across the state’s regional associations, Northern California Grantmakers is ready to seize the opportunity to advocate on critical issues for its members, the nonprofits they support, and the communities they serve.

About Northern California Grantmakers

NCG is an association of great people doing great work. We bring together foundations with nonprofit organizations, government and business to tackle our region’s most pressing social issues. Find out more on the website and on Twitter @NorCalGrant