Common Counsel is on the Move

We’ve increased our partnerships by bringing in six new clients and partners, and managed or advised the disbursal of nearly $3 million in grants in 2015.

Dear members, friends and partners,

I’m happy to provide this update on several significant events here at Common Counsel. After years of focused networking and outreach, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve increased our foundation and donor advised partnerships by bringing in six new clients and partners, and managed or advised the disbursal of nearly $3 million in grants in 2015. It has been a long-term strategy to grow our impact while continuing to provide Common Counsel’s customized, high quality grant making and donor advising services to a diverse set of members.

Additionally, we’re announcing the hire of a new Program Officer, Allistair Mallillin,who will help us meet our growing client service needs. We’re also welcoming Carly Hare as Common Counsel’s new Board Chair and adding two new board members, Vanessa Daniel and Alex Tom. And—we’ve moved our offices to 1624 Franklin Street, Suite #1022 Oakland, CA 94612.

Lots of positive changes are afoot—and I’d like to extend my gratitude to our current member funds and programs…and the wonderful Common Counsel staff and board who’ve helped bring us to this point. Please read on to learn more about our stronger impact and our new partners, staff, board, and offices.

Wishing you a Happy Spring…and sending very warm regards, Laura Livoti, CEO

We’re pleased to announce six new grant making partners that joined the Common Counsel’s consortium of funds in 2015 and 2016, including:
- The Oscar G. & Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation, which focuses on early childhood services to ensure pre-kindergarten readiness in at-risk populations;
- Social Justice Infrastructure Funders, a grant making initiative in collaboration with the Neighborhood Funders Group; and
- Four new Donor Advised Funds, including:
 - The DBEK Fund, which focuses on immigrant rights
 - The Linked Fate Fund for Justice, which focuses on women’s rights, racial justice and campaign finance
 - The Perry Family Fund
 - The Sagner Family Fund for quality public education


Please join us in welcoming Allistair Mallillin to the Common Counsel team! Allistair starts on April 18th after relocating from Boston. He most recently served as Associate Director of Programs and Services at Associated Grant Makers, where he coordinated funder affinity groups (including funder education programs on early childhood education) and leveraged relationships to bridge the nonprofit and funding community. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director for Asian American Resource Workshop, where he tripled the organization’s budget during his tenure. Additionally, Allistair brings additional experience in early childhood education through his former position at United South End Settlements, a multi-service nonprofit in the heart of Boston.

Allistair has served on various grant making boards, including Access Strategies Fund, Haymarket People's Fund, and the New England Foundation for the Arts. He is also active both in supporting local community organizing efforts and developing the next generation of community leaders. He is a trainer for a leadership development program for Asian Americans (Activist Training Institute), serves on the Steering Committee for Saffron Circle and Resilient Cities-Boston, and is a board member of Chinatown Cultural Center. He originally hails from Towson, MD, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and Biology from Tufts University.

Allistair is new to Oakland—so please welcome him to the Bay, and share your tips on great local organizations and resources when you meet!

Along with our growing client roster and grant making programs, Common Counsel has a new and diverse set of Board members. Vanessa Daniel and Alex Tom started their tenures in 2016 (see bios below), joining four relative newcomers who started in 2015: Carly Hare (see bio below), Garrett Collins (third-generation trustee of the Abelard Foundation); China Ching (Program Officer for Indigenous Rights and Representation, and the Bay Area for the Christensen Fund); and Dennis Quirin (President, Neighborhood Funders Group). New Board members are supported by our longstanding trustees Ron Rowell, Dan Ringer-Barwick and Michelle Rodriguez. Common Counsel’s Executive Committee now includes Carly Hare (Chair), Dan Ringer-Barwick (Treasurer), and Michelle Rodriguez (Secretary). Please join us in welcoming this stellar new team of leaders—we are lucky to have them.

Carly Hare (Pawnee/Yankton) strives to live a commitment to advancing equity and community engagement through her professional and personal life. She recently stepped into the role of the National Director/Coalition Catalyst (JAG) for CHANGE Philanthropy (formerly Joint Affinity Groups) after fours years on the steering committee. CHANGE Philanthropy is a coalition of philanthropic networks working together to strengthen bridges across funders and communities. Founded in 1993, CHANGE Philanthropy engages over 20,000 professionals, who are committed to equity and social justice including Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Association of Black Foundation Executives, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Hispanics in Philanthropy, Native Americans in Philanthropy, and the Women’s Funding Network. Carly served as Native Americans in Philanthropy’s Executive Director from 2010-2015. Prior to this, she was Director of Development for the Native American Rights Fund and Director of Programs for The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. She is a proud daughter, sister, auntie, ally, friend and equity advocate. Carly’s Pawnee name is <i kita u hoo <i ]a hiks which translates into “kind leader of men.”

Vanessa Daniel has 20 years of experience working in social justice movements as a union and community organizer, researcher, freelance journalist, and social justice grant maker. She is Executive Director of the Groundswell Fund that, under her leadership, has mobilized more than $20 million to the Reproductive Justice Movement, with 90 percent of its grantees led by women of color. Prior to this, Vanessa supported LGBT rights, economic and environmental justice grant making at Tides Foundation; organized homecare workers with SEIU; helped win a landmark living wage law with the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE); and conducted research to support the organizing efforts of welfare mothers with the Applied Research Center (now Race Forward). In addition to serving on the board of the Common Counsel Foundation, Vanessa serves on the steering committee for the Health and Environmental Funder’s Network. Vanessa has a B.A. in American Ethnic Studies from Smith College and is a graduate of the Center for Third World Organizing’s Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program.

Alex T. Tom is Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). With over fifteen years of experience organizing for social and economic justice, Alex has played a leadership role in building CPA’s service, organizing, and civic engagement programs. In this role, Alex helped launch CPA’s new project, Seeding Change, a center for Asian American Movement Building that is building a national pipeline for the next generation of AAPI organizers. Prior to this, Alex served as CPA’s Campaign Coordinator where he built the CPA Worker Organizing Center and led campaigns to organize workers in the garment and restaurant industries, winning over a million dollars in back wages. Alex serves on the Coordinating Committee of the San Francisco Rising Alliance; the Executive Committee of Jobs with Justice in San Francisco; the Board of Directors of the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL); and the Coordinating Committee of Grassroots APIs Risings, a new national initiative for grassroots AAPI organizations. Alex is also the proud new father of a beautiful baby boy named Colin.