Appreciating A Decade of Service

Join me in recognizing the tremendous contribution of Senior Program Officer, Luke Newton, as he winds down a decade of service at Common Counsel Foundation

Dear Common Counsel Foundation Community,
I hope you will join me in recognizing the tremendous contribution of Senior Program Officer, Luke Newton, as he winds down a decade of service at Common Counsel Foundation. It is with deep appreciation of Luke’s dedication to supporting community-driven social change, with good wishes for his bright future, the expectation of continued collegial engagement and no small amount of sadness that we announce that Senior Program Officer Luke Newton will be leaving the organization at the end of 2016.

As a key member of the team, Luke has helped its CEOs guide the Foundation’s growth and development. He played a key role in helping the organization to clearly articulate its core purpose and establish the framework that defines and integrates its two principal grantmaking strategies:

During the time that Luke worked at the Foundation, Common Counsel, under the leadership of several CEO’s, grew from advising $1.3 million in grants and serving 7 partners, to $3 million in grants and serving 25 partners. The organization also developed three new lines of business while Luke was a part of the leadership team, including donor advised funds, fiscally sponsored projects and consulting for families with wealth.

Another key contribution Luke made was helping to steer CCF towards a deeper engagement with peers in social justice philanthropy at the local and national level. One mechanism by which he accomplished this was serving on the founding steering committee of the Bay Area Justice Funders Network, which has now grown into a thriving hub for thoughtful, cutting edge thinking regarding how donors and foundations can best support progressive social change.

Luke will be deeply missed at CCF. We wish him well on his journey and know that his commitment and talents will continue to benefit the field in the future. Please also take a moment to read Luke’s reflections below.

Laura Livoti
Dear Colleagues, Trustees, Coworkers, Grassroots Leaders and Friends:

It has been a deep honor to serve Common Counsel Foundation over the past decade, and in doing so to work in service of the growing movements that hold the key to creating a more just and sustainable future. As I share some of my appreciations, I must start by appreciating the brilliant organizers and community leaders all across the country that have dedicated themselves to the beautiful and immensely challenging work of advancing real freedom, equality and sustainability for their communities and for the world. From California to South Dakota and from Arizona to Washington state, I have had the honor of listening to, learning from, being inspired by and supporting a profoundly diverse range of community organizations; organizations that have taken the immigrant rights movement to new heights, organizations that have helped bring racial justice back to the center of the national discourse for the first time in a half century, organizations that are turning the tide on historic economic inequality and exclusion, organizations that are asserting Indigenous rights in new ways, organizations that put the “justice” in climate and environmental justice, and organizations that are demonstrating time and time again that real and enduring change comes from the bottom up.

Understanding that enduring change comes from powerful, community-driven movements, I believe that philanthropy at its best is a strategic and conscientious act of solidarity, and my core purpose has been to help foundations and donors put that principle into practice. I want to thank the Common Counsel Foundation staff, board and our affiliated family foundations and trustees for their dedication and for helping me to learn, grow my leadership and strengthen my capacity to build bridges between philanthropy and communities working for social change. In my view, Common Counsel Foundation is one of those bridges and, as such, is playing a key role in the sector. As I move on from CCF, which has been my base for ten years and look to grow my work in new ways, I will continue to be a big booster of Common Counsel and I encourage our broader community to do the same to support CCF’s continued growth and ability to take its work to the next level.

Lastly, I want to recognize that social justice philanthropy has grown in visibility over the last decade and I want to thank many of our colleagues, too many to name, for your dedicated work that has helped make this happen. I have learned so much from you all and while I am still reflecting on what my next steps will be, I look forward to collaborating in new ways to help philanthropy better support real change. In light of the deeply troubling outcome of the general election, our collective work to transform philanthropy in support of equity and justice is needed now more than ever.

Luke Newton, Senior Program Officer

PS. Moving forward I can be reached directly at [email protected]