Effective Philanthropy

Through the lens of the Orange County Equity Profile, OCG supports public policies and initiatives that lead Orange County to a more equitable future. We envision a vibrant philanthropic sector that recognizes community driven solutions and cross-sectional opportunities. OCG’s policy work leverages efforts of our individual members and our collective membership while serving as a convener of philanthropic leadership. We serve to drive collaborative efforts across sectors, partner groups, business, government, and nonprofit leaders.

The following policy principles help guide our policy agenda across our four key issue areas of Health, Housing & Homelessness, Immigration and Education & Workforce Readiness:

  1. Orange County Grantmakers will voice our leadership on key critical community issues facing Orange County, CA
  2. Orange County Grantmakers will advance public policies that support effective philanthropy and a high performing nonprofit sector
  3. Orange County Grantmakers will advocate on behalf of a vibrant, equitable and inclusive community

Orange County Grantmakers recognizes that no issue stands truly alone. We acknowledge the impact racism has on our community at large, as a public health issue and as an issue tied to systemic inequities. We stand against hate and incendiary speech, and commit to uplifting advocacy and community engagement activities across communities historically divided by race and/or culture. And we support and advocate for viable solutions that will address these root causes of racial inequity and the social determinants of health in Orange County as well as ensure an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Specifically, Orange County Grantmakers support the following public policy strategies:  

  • Health
    • o Support practices and policies that recognize the role of racism in health inequities
    • o Support practices and policies that address racism and social determinants of health, including but not limited to conditions such as socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment, social support network, access to care, etc.
    • o Support evidence-based health practices and policies that helps strengthen community health and wellness
  • Housing & Homelessness
    • o Seek the elimination of homelessness in Orange County, working towards viable and accessible options for every Orange County community member experiencing housing insecurity
    • o Support proactive policies geared toward preventing homelessness
    • o Support equitable policies that ensure vulnerable communities are provided with adequate resources and affordable housing opportunities
  • Immigration  
    • o Support policies that recognize that the integration of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants into the economic and civic life of local communities is essential to the county’s prosperity
    • o Support immigration policies that provide fair and humane treatment of all residents
    • o Recognize the need for multiracial advocacy work within the regional immigration ecosystem
  • Education & Workforce Readiness
    • o Support practices and policies that provide equitable access to post-secondary and workforce readiness opportunity for all Orange County students, recognizing the vital connection education has to future earnings and social mobility
    • o Advocate for investments in high-quality and equitable early childhood education, recognizing the long term benefits of ensuring early intervention and its connection to future success
    • o Support investments in education that ensure a diverse, inclusive and well-prepared workforce to support Orange County’s economic vitality


OCG takes a straightforward and transparent process to approving all public policy issues:

We encourage any member looking to bring an issue to the OCG Public Policy Committee review the Policy Decision Filter:

How do we build a compassionate and inclusive America in an age of distrust? WAJAHAT ALI knows from personal experience that when we come together to be the superheroes of our own stories, we can create honest social change. The beloved TED speaker has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic about our urgent issues—immigration, politics, parenthood—with boldness, hope, and humor. His memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year, follows his life as a Muslim Pakistani-American on a surprising, emotional, and challenging quest for the good life. Iconic journalist Katie Couric says that “we are all so fortunate to be on the receiving end of his intellect, his humanity, and his heart.”

Wajahat Ali

“With wit and charm, Ali delivers a masterful meditation on growing up brown in America...he gives us a clear-eyed affirmation of the country America could be.” — Mara Gay, New York Times

Wajahat Ali uses his platform to fight tirelessly for the social change we need in our country—and he isn’t afraid to get personal while doing it. The Daily Beast columnist and former New York Times writer, TED speaker, award-winning playwright, and Peabody-nominated producer of the documentary series The Secret Life of Muslims offers us his experiences of triumph over hardship as a beacon of hope and resilience in the face of life’s impossible situations. From his experiences of Islamophobia growing up as a Muslim Pakistani-American to his two-year-old daughter’s liver cancer diagnosis, Wajahat is living proof that when we share our authentic stories, we build the America we wish to live in.”

In his memoir Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American, Wajahat teaches us how to create our own superhero origin story, invest in hope for the future of America, and enact real social change. The book was called “biting and funny and full of heart” by NPR. Representative Ilhan Omar called Wajahat’s work “hilarious” and “deeply moving”, and legendary writer Dave Eggers said it was the book he’d “been hoping Wajahat Ali would write for ten years—hilarious, stylistically fearless, deeply humane.”

Wajahat is also the author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim-Americans in a post-9/11 world. He was the lead researcher and author for the Center for American Progress’s seminal report “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” and served as a national correspondent for Al Jazeera America, where he told stories about communities and individuals often marginalized or under-reported in mainstream media.

As Creative Director of Affinis Wajahat Labs, he worked to create social entrepreneurship initiatives to support and uplift marginalized communities. He also worked with the US State Department to design and implement the “Generation Change” leadership program to empower young social entrepreneurs. Wajahat initiated chapters in eight countries, including Pakistan and Singapore. For his work, he was honored as a “Generation Change Leader” by Sec. of State Clinton and recognized as an “Emerging Muslim American Artist” by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. 

He has given keynote speeches around the world such as TED, The Aspen Ideas Festival, Google, the United Nations, and The New Yorker Festival. His writing appears regularly in the New York TimesThe Atlantic, the Washington Post, and The Guardian. He’s a Senior Fellow at The Western States Center and Auburn Seminary and co-host of Al Jazeera’s The Stream.