Our Values - Common Counsel Foundation

Founded in 1988, Common Counsel Foundation partners with families and individual donors to expand philanthropic resources for progressive social movements. Through our strategic philanthropic services, we prioritize support for community-based organizations building the leadership of low-income people, women, youth, people of color and others working for justice, equity, and a healthy, sustainable environment.

What Drives Our Work

We believe that social justice movements are the drivers of progressive social change. These movements are rooted in democratic principles that every person should have a say in the systems and structures that affect their lives.

In this vision social movements have the power and resources for transformative change that unravels systems of oppression and sets the course for community-driven liberation and reimagined systems that serve the people.

We envision a role for philanthropy that resets the traditional funder power dynamic. We agitate for social justice by working in allegiance to social movements, the true drivers of transformative change.


How We Partner for Social Justice

Common Counsel Foundation partners to expand philanthropic resources for progressive social movements.

We provide guidance for family foundations on their giving, are thought partners to donors with funds that are held at Common Counsel Foundation, provide fiscal sponsorships and build operational capacity for movement organizations, and are home to multi-funder collaborative initiatives.

Over our more than 30-year history, Common Counsel Foundation has developed a reputation for progressive community-oriented philanthropy highlighted by grantmaking that is defined not only by who we fund, but also by the principles and practices that guide our work.


Common Counsel Foundation Values

  • We believe in the power of communities and the right and ability of those communities to lead their own path to solutions to the challenges they confront.
  • We intentionally align our priorities and strategies with frontline communities and movements.
  • We engage stakeholders with transparency, accountability and candor.
  • We bring an intersectional justice-oriented lens to the work.
  • We support organizations based in and led by low income people, people of color (and are attentive to Black-led organizing specifically), women and LGBTQ people who incorporate an intersectional analysis and approach in their work.
  • We invest in structural and systemic change that will impact root causes.
  • We utilize philanthropic practices that reflect the way frontline organizations and movements are developing and growing.
  • We attempt to recognize and mitigate barriers, including power imbalances, in philanthropy for grassroots groups.
  • We are committed to racial justice, equity and sustainability.
  • We promote full and democratic participation and seek to overcome barriers for all communities to engage in civic processes.