To the NCG Community, March 31st will be my final day at NCG. It has been a remarkable 10 years filled with endless stories, laughter, joy, some tears, and enormous growth. Later this spring, I will be joining NPAG, a national talent search firm focused on leadership in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. It has been a true gift to be a part of this community and to have the opportunity to work with all of you. As I reflect back on my time, I’ve considered some key life and career lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Rising sea levels due to climate change have put people, the natural and built environment at severe
risk not only on the California coast, but throughout the state. Flooding affects housing and
transportation infrastructure and rising groundwater releases buried toxics, with disproportionately
impacting low-income communities of color bearing the greatest burden. The price tag to mitigate
these dangers to community and economic wellbeing are staggering, with over $110 Billion projected
for the Bay Area alone.
If we have learned anything about effective community-based response to the health and economic consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that coordination between governments, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations is critical to addressing the needs of people with the fewest resources who bear the greatest impact of the pandemic.
Philanthropy California (Philanthropy CA) is an initiative of Northern California Grantmakers (NCG), SoCal Grantmakers, and Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties. Our combined membership represents more than 600 foundations, corporate funders, philanthropic individuals and families, giving circles, and government agencies investing billions every year to support communities across the state, the country, and worldwide. Learn more about our alliance.
According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, philanthropy invests most of its dollars immediately following a disaster, when media attention is at its peak. However, less than 10% of our philanthropic dollars go toward reducing hazard risk and preparing our communities for disasters.
As we consider our roles, it is important to remember that justice is defined not by our own definitions but by the communities directly experiencing injustice. It is also important to keep in sight how our roles align with, support and uplift the existing work of community organizers who have long advocated for restorative and healing justice as common practice, rather than forms of justice defined by the same systems and institutions that uphold structural racism.
Our criminal justice system is broken. It disproportionately impacts and targets communities of color and poor communities, and costs California taxpayers billions a year, money that could otherwise be directed towards more fruitful investments in community development, drug treatment, mental health services, education, and jobs. Our system of mass incarceration does not increase public safety, reduce crime, or bring adequate relief to crime survivors