35 years of supporting social justice movements
We are a national social justice organization, not defined or contained by geographic bounds. We advise, provide fiscal sponsorships and build operational capacity for movement organizations, and are home to multi-funder collaborative initiatives.
Build trust and nurture relationships
with grassroots organizing groups and leaders on the frontlines of social justice movements, as well as individuals, families and foundations that want to make a difference.
Partner to aligning resources to support people-powered movements
for social justice. Common Counsel Foundation believes that society’s issues intersect and impact one another, and so rather than have pre-determined program areas, we align our funding priorities with movement since they are closest to the ground.
Cultivate philanthropic practices
that cede power to a strong movement ecosystem. We listen to movement partners, learn and adapt our processes and investments based on what we hear
Ultimately, we hope our efforts will:
- Increase resources going towards community organizing and other movement-aligned efforts.
- Spread innovative grantmaking practices that provide greater movement and community control over grantmaking resources.
- Support transformative social change in the form of system, policy, narrative, and other forms of social change victories.
How we partner
We work with likeminded funders and donors who keep community priorities at the forefront
We are particularly adept at advising donors interested in supporting strategic grassroots organizing for positive social and environmental change. Our team holds deep relationships and partnerships with organizations working across a spectrum of justice-focused issues. We work with individuals and families to determine where they would like to use their resources to make a difference and we design portfolios and connect them with information to learn more, and leaders and organizations.
Donor Advised Funds
Donor Advised Funds are an efficient way for you to maximize your giving by leveraging our knowledge, relationships and strategic approach to support organizations that match your particular interests. CCF staff manages the granting process, offering you the giving power of an independent foundation without the management hassle and added administrative expenses.
We are uniquely qualified to design and manage a granting program that specifically targets organizations aligned with your particular values and interests. We work to make the process both easier and more efficient than the traditional route of starting an independent foundation of your own.
Our flexible and tailored services enable you to create a specialized plan for your philanthropy that best reflects the mission of your fund, foundation, or trustees.
Each family or individual who participates in this giving program works closely with Common Counsel to develop a customized grant-making program for their funds to maximize grant dollars and minimize overhead costs.
We support trustees with program design, grant-making, administrative record keeping, and money management that emphasizes our mutual commitment to social, economic and environmental justice.
Building power in communities that have been historically marginalized by systems of oppression requires significant financial scale and collaborative efforts. Common Counsel Foundation specializes in working with a variety of stakeholders, including donors, institutional funders, and grassroots organizations to design, manage, and evaluate multi-million dollar collaborative pooled funds tackling a range of intersectional social justice issues. We have a track record of developing community- and movement-led collaborative grantmaking vehicles at scale.
Fund for an Inclusive California
Our community of grassroots leaders, nonprofits and funders are committed to pursuing transformative approaches that will achieve well-being and housing for all in California.
Through investments, strategic coordination, growing and strengthening connections within and across movement, we support communities gaining control of the land on which they live – not just for profit but for the well-being of the people that live there.
Community Ownership for Community Power Fund
Through the COCP Fund, we will grow the capacity of community ownership groups to acquire, govern, and maintain their own community spaces as well spearhead the creation of an integrated capital acquisition fund of at least $100 million, the state’s first to be governed directly by communities.
Native Voices Rising
Native Voices Rising is a research, donor education, re-granting, and capacity-building collaborative created and led by Common Counsel Foundation and Native Americans in Philanthropy. Native Voices Rising is designed to support organizing, advocacy and civic engagement in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities.
Grassroots Exchange Fund
Common Counsel’s Grassroots Exchange Fund (GXF) is a rapid response small grants program designed
to support networking and collaboration between grassroots social change organizations throughout the
GXF grants help small community-based organizations to engage in collaborative campaigns, strengthen cross-region and cross-sector movements, and participate in organizing, training and technical assistance trainings.
Still We Rise
Community-based organizations have steadfastly built the people power needed to win, and are poised to mobilize in support of democracy, resilience, and power-building efforts. In a rapidly changing social and political landscape, grassroots organizations are at the front lines, protecting and supporting vulnerable communities, such as immigrant, Black, Arab and Muslim, Native-American, women, working-class, and LGBTQ communities. Philanthropy needs to move flexible, responsive funding for equitable community priorities and needs that support democracy, resilience, and community-led power.
What makes Still We Rise unique:
Community-Informed Grantmaking – grassroots leaders inform the grantmaking process, priorities, and decisions
Responsive, Flexible Funding – grant awards can be quickly deployed to support ongoing and planned efforts, with grants reviewed and deployed on a weekly basis
Streamlined Proposal/Reporting Requirements – minimizing the proposal and reporting process to maximize the impact of funding dollars
The Still We Rise Fund is currently not accepting applications.
Incubation and Fiscal Sponsorship
Common Counsel Foundation helps build the capacity of social justice organizations. We provide fiscal sponsorship and operational support so organizations can continue to deepen and expand their organizing and movement building work.
The Color Congress
The Color Congress is a national collective of majority people of color (POC) and POC-led organizations aimed at centering and strengthening nonfiction storytelling by, for and about people of color across the United States and territories. We do this by supporting, resourcing, and connecting these organizations and building their collective power so they can be a more powerful force for change.
The Color Congress is supported by the Ford Foundation JustFilms, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Perspective Fund.
Movement For Black Lives
The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) formed in December of 2014, was created as a space for Black organizations across the country to debate and discuss the current political conditions, develop shared assessments of what political interventions were necessary in order to achieve key policy, cultural and political wins, convene organizational leadership in order to debate and co-create a shared movement wide strategy. Under the fundamental idea that we can achieve more together than we can separately.
The Movement for Black Lives is an ecosystem of over 150 organizations that provides the infrastructure for Black-led movement building across the country. M4BL works to create a shared movement-wide strategy for how to improve the lives of all Black people. M4BL’s ecosystem represents organizations that coordinate actions, messages, and campaigns across the United States. This movement is driven by leadership anchored to eight tables that help coordinate members and recommend strategy: 1) Policy, 2) Organizing & Base Building, 3) Electoral Justice, 4) Cross-Movement & Multi-Racial Solidarity, 5) Resource, 6) Abolishing Patriarchal Violence, 7) Mass Engagement, and 8) Strategy.
Benefits of partnering with Common Counsel Foundation
We are trusted by movement leaders
We have been engaged in social movement work for 33 years
We work with a range of stakeholders to achieve our mission
The depth of expertise and experience of our team
The beauty of working with Common Counsel is that the staff manages to serve the interests of all three generations of our family. They have helped us to design a grantmaking program that reflects both the common values and our unique concerns. Common Counsel connects us to each organization we fund through excellent research and first-hand reports from site visits. It also gratifies us to know that through collaboration with other members of the Foundation, we can often reach organizations that wouldn’t be possible if we stood alone.