Socialize With Us

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. 

Policy Engagement

Want to know more about how we engage in policy? Learn More > 

NCG's 2020 Ballot Racial Equity Slate

While it’s no replacement for government, philanthropy has an opportunity to wield great influence. One theorist, calls philanthropy to: "Bring people together, and stimulate the human spirit; Champion, support, and strengthen nonprofit organizations; Raise crucial concerns, such as equity, that might get overlooked; and, Help fortify and rebuild communities." Philanthropy’s voice holds special power in the ecosystem of societal change, even when the pace of change is daunting.

The unprecedented events of this year have changed the course for many in Northern California. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 200,000 lives in the U.S., the highest death toll in the world. Many families, fighting to survive the economic downturn caused by the pandemic response, struggle to pay rent, put food on the table, and support their children’s virtual learning. And, on top of it all, many communities grapple with assaults and murders of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement. We cannot turn away; we cannot unsee the injustices.

These multiple pandemics show clear racial disparities in communities across our region. There have been too many preventable COVID-19 deaths, far too many Black lives lost, and too little action from the government to mitigate death and suffering in Black, Indigenous, and People-of-Color communities. Today, we also find our democracy under threat and expect protests and violence regardless of the election results in November — take a look at our 2020 Election Guide to find out what you can do. 

Learn more about our Slate and NCG's support for each below. 

Proposition 15      Proposition 16      Proposition 17


Opportunities for Influence

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.

Upcoming Policy programming coming soon.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

California Governor Gavin Newsom was elected in 2018 with 62% of the votes, a victory margin not seen in nearly seven decades. On September 14, 2021, California’s voters will be asked to weigh in on whether or not he should be recalled. The special election will take place on September 14, 2021 with vote-by-mail ballots being sent out starting on August 16, 2021. It is critically important that all California voters engage in this election.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

No matter our color, background, zip code or political views, our democracy should work for everyone. Democracy in the United States is premised on the notion that every voter should have the freedom to cast their vote. Through the act of voting we make our voices heard elect representatives who govern in our name and enact our priorities.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Niki Martinez, who was sentenced to 45 years in prison, was recently granted early parole, however, she still faces the stigma of being implicated with the criminal justice system. Despite her leadership in building community within the prison system and, when released, being a community advocate for alternatives to incarceration and simultaneously juggling four jobs, she still has no right to vote. Through Proposition 17, California’s practice of extending punishment for people have completed their sentences can end, and instead, focus resources

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The places we call home, their streets, smells, sounds, and sights, shape our opportunity for a fair shot at a long and healthy life. I grew up in the shadows of greatness, in the city of pride and purpose, Richmond, California. During WWII, it was a busy port between San Francisco and Sacramento, home to the Kaiser shipyards. It was also home of Rosie the Riveter, the female empowerment icon.

This brief on COVID-19 testing is designed to support philanthropic discussion and aid in the coordination of the sector’s response.

On March 19, 2020, Senate Majority Leader McConnell proposed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. The United States Senate will likely consider voting on this bill in the next 24 hours, depending on negotiations with the House of Representatives and the President. NCG, in coordination with our Philanthropy California colleagues, sent letters to Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris to respectfully request that the CARES Act include support for the nonprofit sector.

On July 2, 2019, Philanthropy California submitted a public comment opposing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule to prohibit “mixed-status” families, or families who consist of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who may have a member that is ineligible for housing assistance due to their immigration status, from accessing public or subsidized housing. 

Committee Members

Committee members must log in to access meeting details. Log In > 

  • 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.