Penney Family Fund - Common Counsel Foundation

Formed in 1999, the Penney Family Fund supports organizations based in Oregon and California that work to advance human rights, community social, political, and economic empowerment, government accountability, and environmental sustainability.

The Penney Family Fund is a family foundation formed after the James C. Penney Foundation restructured in early 1999. The Penney Family Fund is not affiliated with the J.C. Penney Company, Inc., or its corporate giving program.

Penney Family Fund Mission Statement

The Penney Family Fund was established to promote and support a society that honors the dignity of the individual. We believe that by working together people can make a difference in achieving basic human rights and a secure future.

Grantmaking Areas

In 2009, the Penney Family Fund completed ten years of grantmaking in the areas of community economic development & workforce policy; money & influence in politics; state & local fiscal analysis; strengthening youth & families; and sustainable & livable communities. During this time, the foundation supported 282 organizations for a total of $5,770,010.
In the fall of 2009, after welcoming two new trustees to the board and completing a planning process, the Penney Family Fund trustees decided to focus their grantmaking on the following two areas.


Green Pathways Out of Poverty

With the increasing need and awareness to reduce carbon emissions, the renewable energy economy is poised to grow enormously. New workforce and economic development opportunities have the potential to address historic social inequities and generate vital income for communities that have long suffered high rates of poverty and unemployment. The emerging green economy should protect the environment while ensuring the economic well-being for individuals, families and communities. The Penney Family Fund is interested in supporting broad community engagement and new policies to ensure that disenfranchised communities actively participate in and benefit from this new sector. Proposals are by invitation only.

Youth Organizing & Leadership Development

Young people are deeply involved in the fight for social and economic justice. They are today’s organizers, decision-makers and leaders. A true democracy necessitates the active participation of all members of our communities, including young people. To see that this happens, Penney Family Fund seeks to support the leadership development and political education of young people to create their own solutions to problems as identified by them. The Penney Family Fund wishes to support young people in becoming agents of social change for a lifetime. Proposals are by invitation only.