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Public Policy

Northern California Grantmakers members are grappling with complex issues in a diverse and rapidly-changing region. We recognize that policy is a powerful tool to advance significant and sustained change and improve outcomes. We believe we have a mandate to advocate for policy-based approaches to achieve shared goals.

NCG's Policy Committee (listed right) advocates for smart, effective policies to advance shared impact goals. The committee will tap NCG staff, collaborators, and expert advisors to educate policy makers and thought leaders about the value of philanthropy, and catalyze engagement and collaboration between NCG members, public officials, foundations, and community stakeholders to advance policy-based approaches to achieving the change we seek in the world.

Through our policy work, NCG seeks to:

  • Amplify community-based efforts that advance opportunity, racial equity and social justice for Black, Indigenous and other communities of color.
  • Equip our member community with tools, information, and skills to strengthen advocacy and policy capacity and engagement within their own philanthropic institutions and in the nonprofit organizations they support.
  • Build enduring relationships of trust between philanthropy and policymakers.
  • Support policy-based efforts to strengthen and protect the philanthropic sector.
  • Collaborate with members, local community partners, and statewide collaborators to advance policy initiatives that address targeted local and state issues.
  • Respond effectively and collectively to proposed policies that are contrary to shared values, principles, and goals.

The following goals guide us in our policy work:

  • Ensure the laws and policies governing the philanthropic ecosystem maximize the delivery of social good.
  • Expand economic security for individuals, families, and communities across Northern California.
  • Advance and promote the rights of historically marginalized communities in Northern California, including communities of color, low-income communities, and immigrants and refugees.
  • Leverage collective efforts to advance a statewide policy agenda as part of Philanthropy California. 

Philanthropic Impact

Philanthropy has an opportunity to not only respond to the crises at hand but to also take a long view for a stronger and more equitable California. Northern California Grantmakers invites you to join us in pursuing a better, more just California. In doing so, philanthropy can make a significant difference by engaging on the policy issues that shape the conditions for communities across our region. We must protect our democracy so that every eligible vote can be counted, we must continue to support a full and accurate census count, and we must ensure our redistricting processes reflect the diversity of California’s communities. And, beyond the election, we must lift up policy opportunities that undo systemic racism and discrimination.

The magnitude of the current social context requires us to recalibrate and accelerate change. NCG has assembled an array of opportunities for philanthropy to make the most of its influence:

  • Listen to grassroots movement leaders whose proximity allows a clear pulse of the communities they represent;
  • Connect with movement leaders in trust-based relationships and also learn from one another, explore innovative approaches for philanthropy to show up at its highest level;
  • Speak up alongside the communities we serve.  As leaders, we must be prepared to harness our full arsenal, including our influence. Our voices matter, and they signal to the communities we serve where we stand in moments of crisis and beyond.
  • Fund grassroots efforts to build power in Black, Indigenous, and People-of-Color communities. As we each figure out how we can get involved, it is critical to channel funding resources where they are needed most and trust those dollars will be put to good use.

Northern California Grantmakers is committed to continue providing its members with fresh programming, accessible resources, tailored learning opportunities, and trusted partnership, so collectively, philanthropy can meaningfully address the multiples crises we have faced this year and also plan for the long-haul as change takes time. Want to know more about how we engage in policy? Learn More > 

2022 Mid-Term Elections

Midterm elections provide voters the opportunity to assess and signal if the current presidential administration, federal elected officials, and local elected leaders are meeting their needs. This November, California voters will have the opportunity to cast their votes and determine the make-up of the Senate and House through the next presidential election in 2024. All eligible California voters will receive an election guide and a mail-in ballot. Vote-by-mail ballots can be filled out and mailed or can be taken to a local dropbox. For voters that prefer to vote in-person, they can drop their completed ballot or complete the ballot in-person at polling stations found in communities across California.

As we approach the midterm elections, NCG is committed to:

  1. Sharing factual, non-partisan information about what is included on the ballot;
  2. Analyzing and lifting up policies that advance racial equity and social justice;
  3. Using data-driven narratives to counter mis- and dis-information intended to suppress voting rights for marginalized communities including Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color; 
  4. Amplifying the voices and priorities of grassroots, power-building movement leaders; and,
  5. Providing members with learning opportunities to identify high-impact investment opportunities

Ballot Analysis

CA Proposition 1: Constitutional Right to Reproductive Freedom

Voters have a role to strengthen California’s infrastructure as a reproductive freedom state for all. Below you'll find general information, NCG's equity analysis, Yes/No vote breakdown, and resources.

Learn More about CA Prop 1


Oakland Measure W: Fair Elections Oakland

Oakland voters have a role in supporting efforts to democratize campaign dollars for all residents. Below you'll find curated information from NCG's Public Policy Director Crispin Delgado, our equity analysis, Yes/No vote breakdown, and resources.

(Click to Zoom)

Learn More about Oakland Measure W

Upcoming Policy programming coming soon.
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

NCG and our Philanthropy California colleagues are delighted to share with you the following report detailing the efforts and impacts of Philanthropy California’s Fair Representation Fund. This pooled fund harnessed $2.5 million in direct philanthropic donations and guided additional resources. Ultimately, these investments helped to ensure that the 2020 state and local redistricting processes would reflect the perspectives of California communities that are too often left out of decision-making.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Here in Northern California, we may believe that we are isolated and immune from this on-going assault on our freedom to vote and our power to elect and hold our leaders accountable. But while the symptoms may be more severe elsewhere, the rise of white supremacy and growing peril of political violence threatens every California resident, whether you live in Palo Alto or Petaluma, Oakland or Orinda. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Listening to and taking the lead from Black women, femmes, girls, and gender-expansive folks is vital to how California fortifies itself as a bastion of reproductive justice organizing. But that trailblazing has not translated into dollars in the field. Even without the material resources, Black women create solutions to better their environment and communities, practice effective leadership, and foster a sense of safety and belonging. While there is more cultural recognition that Black women have always been central to the struggle for freedom and equality, it’s time to turn that recognition into real dollars.  

Thursday, August 18, 2022

NCG's public policy work has had some extra support this summer. We welcomed Arnold Dimas (he/him) a second-year Master of Public Health student at UCLA, to the team as a policy intern. Learn more about Arnold and his impact here.

Committee Members

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  • Dimple Abichandani, Executive Director, General Service Foundation 
  • Ophelia Basgal, Visiting Scholar, Terner Center for Housing Innovation, UC Berkeley 
  • Judith Bell, Chief Impact Officer, San Francisco Foundation
  • Matt Cervantes, Director of Health Programs, Sierra Health Foundation
  • Gina Dalma, Special Adviser to the CEO and Vice President of Government Relations, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • Allison Magee, Executive Director, The Zellerbach Family Foundation 
  • Holly Potter, Chief Communications Officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Jose Santos, Program Officer, Grove Foundation
  • Lateefah Simon, President, Akonadi Foundation
  • Doua Thor, Senior Program Officer, Sobrato Family Foundation

Join Us

Northern California Grantmakers members are grappling with complex issues in a diverse and rapidly-changing region. We recognize that policy is a powerful tool to advance significant and sustained change and improve outcomes. To get policy news, events, resources, updates, and information on how to get involved, sign up below.