Connecting the Dots: Advocacy, Policy & Impact

On March 29th, the Orange County Funders Roundtable had the pleasure of hosting a policy discussion with the Alliance for Healthy Orange County. The Alliance is a county-wide collaborative of healthcare organizations, community-based organizations and universities whose mission is to champion policy strategies and leverage funding opportunities that result in enhanced health outcomes and reduced health disparities for Orange County residents. This year, as the OC Funders Roundtable focuses on our enhanced mission and objectives, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with other community organizations in order to bring discussion and learning to our members and the nonprofit community.

The Olin Group served as the facilitator for the morning, guiding attendees through a discussion on current local policy wins and efforts, challenges faced by the funder and nonprofit community dealing with system change work and recommendations and strategies that have enabled policy change to happen. Many of the challenges were expected: board hesitancy, negative perceptions, the need for more resources and the need to develop long-term plans vs focusing on year to year activity. The recommendations and successes shared however are what the Orange County Funders Roundtable will continue to incorporate into our learning and activities.  Policy work demands changing the narrative and understanding the root cause behind issues. It asks for long-term funding, supported by data but not expecting immediate results. And it calls for champions at all levels, those individuals who are willing to dedicate a strong communication and messaging plan to getting the message out across many platforms.

In preparation for the policy convening participants were asked to complete a survey sharing their own work, collaborations and challenges. The Olin Group will compile this information into an infographic and white paper to be shared in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we encourage those who are already engaged in policy, or those who would like to become active in the discussion, to think about one thing their organization could use to support the work. We look forward to continuing the discussion.


#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season of giving. 

This year,  OC Funders members celebrated #GivingTuesday by sharing what philanthropy means to them, and why they give. 

Cox California: #GivingTuesday Philanthropy is more than a buzzword it’s a mission & an opportunity to use our time, talent & technology in ways that strengthen cities, businesses & future generations. #OCFRGives #TeamCox
OCFR Vice Chair Sarah Middleton: "I give because I’m head over heels for #socialimpact and #socialinnovation. That and because we’re surrounded by some absolutely incredible and game-changing #nonprofits." #GivingTuesday
OCFR member Shari Battle: "We have 2 hands,~one to help yourself~one to help others. @BankofAmerica improving communities =responsive growth #GivingTuesday "
Edwards Lifesciences: As part of Orange County Funders Roundtable, we're proud to give to give back to our communities, including our support of the children and families of Washington Elementary School. #GivingTuesday #OCFRgives
Sisters of St. Joseph: "Nonprofits in Orange County, across California, in the United States and around the world foster unity that is not uniformity and diversity that is not divisive. The Sisters of St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation believes in one human family whatever our differences may be. We encourage you to participate in #GivingTuesday, contributing to the nonprofit(s) that embrace and support our oneness. Together we foster unity."

Why We Give: Cox Communications

With one week to #GivingTuesday, OCFR member Cox Communications shares why they give: 

For Cox, philanthropy is more than a buzzword – it’s a mission and an opportunity to use our time, talent and technology in ways that strengthen cities, businesses and future generations. Our passions for the communities that we live in guide our diligence in supporting the locally pressing needs. We love the position we hold as a contributing member of the community – our business, our employees and our customers; the place we all call home. This membership, along with our concerned interest, compels us to provide support with monetary, media and premium gift contributions. We strive to develop and support initiatives that utilize our products to enhance education through innovation and technology, bridge the digital divide, and encourage environmental responsibility.
- Jodi Duva, Vice President, Cox Business

OC Forum: Ending Homelessness - Proven Strategies from Other Communities

The OC Funders Roundtable attended the OC Forum Wednesday, November 15 to take part in the initial dialogue around ending homelessness in Orange County. Hosted by OCFR member Orange County United Way, the forum featured a conversation between Keith Morrison, NBC Dateline correspondent, and Andrae Bailey, CEO of Lead Homelessness Initiative. 

Recently, Orange County United Way, in partnership with Jamboree Housing and the University of California, Irvine, developed a Real Cost Study on Homelessness in Orange County. This report, which can be viewed here, found that among other things, it costs twice as much to care for someone on the streets vs. housing them. Costs are highest in Orange County's health care service sector. 

Andrae Bailey encouraged the business, philanthropic, faith-based and government community to come together to combat homelessness, starting with humanizing the homeless and learning their stories. People need help rebuilding their lives and those with underlying challenges such as job loss, family trauma and health and substance abuse often are not able to do it on their own. Every community across America struggles with homelessness, and those that have figured out how to address the challenge have all done it by utilizing data, facts and caring for the people most impacted. 

The OC Funders Roundtable is pleased to partner around this important issue and looks forward to continuing dialogue and discussion.

The OC Funders Roundtable is a community of philanthropists committed to improving outcomes for Orange County and beyond. Our mission is to advance social impact by supporting, strengthening, and building adaptive leadership across our nonprofit and philanthropic community. 

Why We Give

I wouldn’t be the first to say that the events of this year have tested humanity. We are seeing alarming levels of racism and intolerance; we are watching the expanding plight of refugees from war-torn countries; we are witness to terrorism, an ever-increasing climate crisis, and a widening disparity between rich and poor. But I would say we are hopeful. At PIMCO, we firmly believe in the transformative effects of volunteering and philanthropy. We know we can use our skills, expertise, talents and resources to make a dent in the world’s biggest social issues. And so that is why we give. We give to make the hurts of the world hurt less, and to support innovative and awe-inspiring nonprofits right here in Orange County – and around the globe – creating real and sustainable change.

---Sarah Middleton, Executive Director, The PIMCO Foundation