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Building Power: Southern California Funders Fueling Activism in 2020

2020 is full of pivotal civic engagement opportunities in California, such as the census, an enhanced role for California in the Presidential election, ballot measures, a receptive California governor and legislature, and the beginning of redistricting efforts. With a keen eye toward the role that funders and nonprofits can play in these areas and more, Alliance for Justice’s Southern California office was thrilled to start the year off with an invigorating event.

On January 13, AFJ joined with the California Community Foundation and Southern California Grantmakers to kick off this critical year of advocacy by hosting “Building Power: Fueling Activism in 2020” – a luncheon for grantmakers and nonprofit leaders at CCF’s Joan Palevsky Center in Los Angeles. Seventy people gathered to explore how they could take their support for advocacy work to the next level. The highlight of the event was AFJ’s President, Nan Aron, interviewing Antonia Hernandez, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Community Foundation. Attendees came not only from LA County, but from San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Kern, and Orange Counties, and included 3 AFJ board members, 5 AFJ member organizations (Southern California Grantmakers, California Women’s Law Center, Advancement Project, United Farm Workers Foundation, and MAZON), and several members of AFJ’s Southern California Advisory Board.

Hernandez inspired the audience with her vision for systemic change and her personal passion for promoting CCF’s work among government decisionmakers who control funding for critical programs. “It’s my job to have access to people who make the rules,” she affirmed. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be effective.” Funders in attendance were also heartened to hear about how Hernandez has worked with her board and donors to make them comfortable with the advocacy work that CCF has championed under her leadership. Her declaration that hunger, housing, and other issues CCF works on are not partisan was an important reminder of our collective responsibility to address these challenges.

Nona Randois, California Director of AFJ’s Bolder Advocacy program, kicked off the event and moderated audience Q&A that covered topics such as racial equity, working with neighboring regions, and innovations in philanthropy. The conversation was a wonderful opportunity for foundation and nonprofit staff and board members to make new connections and get energized for the year that lies ahead.

If you are a funder with questions about how you can enhance your support for or engagement in advocacy, we’d be happy to help you think it through! Contact our technical assistance line at 866-NP LOBBY [866-675-6229] or [email protected] or by using our webform.

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