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Southern California Grantmakers

Vice President, Public Policy & Government Relations

Employment type
4 months ago
Los Angeles

About Southern California Grantmakers and Philanthropy California

Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) is a regional association for philanthropists and grantmakers working to make a difference. We believe that a strong and informed giving community is essential to improving the quality of life for all Southern Californians. SCG connects grantmakers through sector-wide conferences, trainings, networking opportunities and funder convenings—providing space for collaboration and coordinated action on critical issues. SCG currently serves 330 members who, together, represent the spectrum of philanthropy, including corporate foundations and giving programs, family foundations, private independent foundations, community foundations, public foundations, individual philanthropists and government grantmakers.

Philanthropy California is an initiative of Northern California Grantmakers (NCG), Southern California Grantmakers (SCG), and San Diego Grantmakers (SDG). Our combined membership represents more than 600 foundations, corporate funders, philanthropic individuals and families, giving circles, and government agencies who invest billions every year to support communities across the state, the country, and worldwide.

Over the past several years, SCG’s size and scope have grown dramatically. We have reorganized and expanded so we can deepen and strengthen our impact in the ways that our members and partners are seeking: more intersectional issue-based programming and professional development that helps funders take bold action for equitable and just impacts in communities; robust, nimble action on policy and advocacy; convening and facilitating collaborations and partnerships; and investing in our own sustainability and capacity to lead as an organization with equity at the center.

Reports to:        Chief Operating Officer

Under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer, and in close collaboration with the President & CEO, the Vice-President, Public Policy & Government Relations will provide strategic leadership in the development, enhancement and implementation of the organizations’ policy advocacy and legislative agendas to ensure that policy goals are achieved. In addition to the position’s regional work, this role also leads the public policy and government affairs portfolio of Philanthropy California, the statewide alliance of Northern California, San Diego, and Southern California Grantmakers.  


Essential duties and responsibilities:

Strategy and leadership:

  • Leads the Public Policy and Government Relations team for both SCG and Philanthropy CA.
  • Serves as a member of the organization’s management team.
  • In collaboration with the management team and other key staff, ensure organization-wide implementation of SCG’s mission, vision, and values.  
  • Ensures a strong, positive team and organizational culture that values empowering and developing all members of the diverse SCG team, fosters cross-organization teamwork and embraces equity (especially racial equity) in our internal and external work. 
  • Works strategically across the organizational structure to ensure that all staff is aware of the public policy and government relations work.
  • Represent SCG externally at conferences, seminars, and other civic and philanthropic events to strategically build our relationships and elevate our thought leadership, and frequently speaks on the role of philanthropy, public policy, and civil society. 
  • Attend Board of Directors meetings and strategic planning retreats as requested.
  • Serves as the liaison, supports and advises the Public Policy Committee of SCG. 
  • The position drives the creation and refinement of a strategic policy agenda for key issue areas and oversees the execution of innovative and high-impact policy advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels. 
  • Develops and sustains strong relationships with legislative partners, including the League of California Community Foundations, United Philanthropy Forum, Philanthropy Roundtable, Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, and other State and National organizations.


Public Policy and Government Relations:

  • Develops and maintains working relationships with members of the State legislature, staff, committees, executive branch representatives, and other partner organizations. 
  • Develops and maintains working relationships with City and County government officials and their staff located in SCG’s region.
  • Drafts position letters, legislative language, and testimonies; and represents SCG and Philanthropy CA at various hearings and meetings.
  • Develops and manages advocacy strategies, policy development, and public affairs, as well as oversee stakeholder mapping, ally development, and coalition building.
  • Identifies critical opportunities and challenges in the government policy environment.
  • Builds and nurtures effective multi-organizational coalitions and alliances.
  • Works with other organizations to gain support and/or opposition on issues important to philanthropy.
  • Monitors and testifies in legislative and budget hearings on assigned issues approved by the SCG’s Public Policy Committee and/or Philanthropy CA.
  • Builds and nurtures effective multi-organizational coalitions and alliances.
  • Tracks the progress of legislative agendas and policy campaigns and coordinates with the Knowledge and Communications Department to promote the organization’s policy developments and outcomes with key stakeholders. 
  • Advises senior leadership on issues key to the organization; work closely with CEO to manage important media-related and internal messaging issues
  • Manages and ensures participation in Foundations on the Hill and Philanthropy in the State Capitol events on an annual basis.
  • Co-develops content for SCG’s premier Public Policy Conference in partnership with the VP, Programs & Conferences, which brings together the region’s philanthropists and policymakers to advance public-private sector collaboration to address challenges facing California’s communities.


Qualifications and Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree required.  Master’s degree in public policy preferred. 
  • 5+ years of California legislative and/or advocacy experience required. 
  • Sincere and demonstrated commitment to advancing social, economic, and/or racial justice. 
  • Well-versed in government relations, policy development, and issue management and ability to develop and implement a comprehensive, proactive government affairs strategy that advances and amplifies the mission and vision of SCG and the sector as a whole.
  • Ability to create and present effective and persuasive presentations on controversial or complex topics to staff, members, governmental leaders, or partner organizations promptly, often on short notice.
  • Demonstrated success in delivering high-quality work product on a consistent, reliable basis in a fast-paced work environment with ambitious goals.
  • Experience leading, developing, and retaining a high-performing team.
  • Must have an intuitive ability to recognize and appropriately convey the sensitive nature of any situation and the ability to keep all matters appropriately confidential.
  • Experience in philanthropy, nonprofit, or government and/or strong, existing relationships and experience with public officials in any of the SCG’s regions a plus.
  • Ability to balance varying points of view with previous experience working in a membership organization a plus.
  • Enthusiasm for the practice of organized philanthropy and knowledge of the region and sector, exceptional interpersonal skills including a keen ability to work effectively and respectfully with politically, ideologically, culturally, and geographically diverse people and communities.  
  • Strong analytical and technical skills and ability to translate complex subjects into approachable concepts, solid organizational and project management skills, strong attention to detail, and effective oral, written and online communication skills. 
  • Ability to travel throughout the region, and ability to work both independently and collaboratively as a part of a team.
  • Willingness to work with a “can-do” attitude in a flexible, collaborative and proactive manner.
  • Clear passion for driving change on crucial challenges and opportunities affecting the communities that philanthropy serves, comfortable, and experienced in working with diverse communities. 
  • Energetic appetite for working in a fast-paced, mission-focused, non-hierarchical environment of cross-functional teams with shared leadership at all levels where everybody wears multiple hats, and everybody is both a leader and a do-er in their areas.
  • Very comfortable with technology, including Microsoft Office, database (SalesForce database experience strongly preferred). 
  • Proficiency in social media, online communication, and webinar technologies is preferred.
To apply

Please submit your letter of interest and resume to:  [email protected]