Our Work

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.

The system

An inequitable distribution of power has exacerbated systems of oppression and their resulting impacts. Our communities, our society and our planet are facing an unprecedented array of social, economic & ecological crises. We exist to change this.

Our Approach

This is our strategy to support the long-term change necessary to restore the human dignity and wellbeing of our people. Through intensive investment in power-building and leadership development, we focus on aligning and mobilizing support for social justice movements.

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

Why us

Benefits of partnering with Common Counsel Foundation

We are trusted by movement leaders

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We benefit from deep connection and trust with community leaders who share insights and priorities about the work and context on the ground. As philanthropic advisors, we can connect what we learn from movement partners with the families and people who entrust us to advise their giving.

We have been engaged in social movement work for 33 years

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In recent years, we’ve seen uprisings and social movements pushing for systemic change. As many foundations join the work to support movement, CCF has more than three decades of  experience in this work to offer guidance and best practices to support grassroots and movement partners. We promote strategic social justice philanthropy and our granting criteria distinguish the differences between charity and transformation.

We work with a range of stakeholders to achieve our mission

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We advise family foundations on their giving, advise donors with funds that are held at CCF, provide fiscal sponsorships and build operational capacity for movement organizations, and are home to multi-funder collaborative initiatives. We welcome more partners to join us.

The depth of expertise and experience of our team

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The collective experience of our team combines on-the-ground work in community organizations with philanthropic expertise. Our staff and board have extensive professional knowledge and the nuance of lived experience with the issues that we engage in. We bring deep commitment and personal connection to the work, providing a richer analysis and context to our advising.

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.

Abelard Foundation Trustee
Lincoln, MA

Impact

Native Voices Rising Grants $2 Million to Community Organizing and Advocacy Efforts Led by Indigenous Communities
Native Voices Rising, is honored to announce the granting of $2 million to 88 Indigenous and Native-led advocacy and organizing groups.
New report shares insights from three years of partnership for housing justice
We are excited to share insights from our journey listening and learning alongside community leaders in California at the forefront of housing justice.
Partnering to Support Values-Forward Philanthropy
Common Counsel Foundation partners with families and individual donors to expand philanthropic resources for progressive social movements. We are excited to welcome these new partners to the Common Counsel Foundation community.
Haiti faces disasters and chaos. Its people are most likely to be denied U.S. asylum
NPR reports on personal stories of people seeking asylum at the Texas border, sharing history of U.S. interference and interview with the Executive Director of UndocuBlack.
Op-Ed: Let’s Liberate Our Hair at Work
National Black Worker Center Executive Director writes for Newsweek about the ties between white supremacy and oppressive hair standards for Black women.
Innovative Organizing in California’s Inland Region
The Inland Region has a powerful history of innovative organizing, in this session we heard from racial, economic and housing justice organizers.
On the Louisiana Coast, an Indigenous Community Loses Homes to Climate Change
Documentary shared stories from the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw people, an Indigenous tribe that has lived on Isle de Jean Charles for more than two centuries, and at a crossroads with increasing massive flooding.
The Climate Crisis Demands a National Black Climate Agenda
Op-Ed by Colette Pichon Battle in The Hill announcing the Red, Black and Green New Deal, a climate agenda
One Struggle, Many Fronts with Alex Tom
In the face of racist attacks on Asian communities, Alicia Garza talks with CCF board chair and executive director of Center for Empowered Politics, Alex Tom about racial solidarity, organizing and more.
Lawmakers have bodily autonomy; so should constituents
Bold Futures NM’s Kat Sánchez writes for the La Cruces Sun News about the importance of bodily autonomy.
CCF’s Grantmaking for Social Justice in 2020
2020 was an expansive year for Common Counsel Foundation. Our community is growing, welcoming new donors, movement and funder partnerships, and staff.
Native Voices Rising Supports COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery by Awarding $1.5 Million to Native-led Nonprofits
We are pleased to announce $1.5M of grant awards to 89 Native-led groups, with nearly half of funds going to new grant partners.

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