With a Power-Building Approach to Housing in California, a Pooled Fund Evolves and Expands

Inside Philanthropy covers new grants, new strategies, and co-led governance structure at the helm of the next phase of the Fund for an Inclusive California.

Photo credit: North Bay Organizing Project

The affordable housing crisis in California requires many approaches, at the center of the work for Common Counsel Foundation, and the Fund for an Inclusive California, is supporting the power of communities of color to determine what works best for their communities.

In January 2024, Inside Philanthropy spoke with Jazmin Segura, Director of the Fund for an Inclusive California, as well as Community Advisors and funder partners to learn more about the community-driven strategies and new co-led governance structure that is the next stage in advancing power sharing with community partners.

“Despite new legislation and continued promises of action, a full 28% of all people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. live in California. For years, the proposed solution has been to build more housing, but one pooled fund is taking a different approach. 

The Fund for an Inclusive California, which officially launched in 2018, is a trust-based collaborative fund that works to address the state’s housing crisis by supporting power-building and community-led organizing efforts in the state. Originally meant to sunset in 2020, the fund has announced a new round of grants totaling $1.7 million as part of its five-year, $25 million second phase. 

The fund, which is an initiative of the Common Counsel Foundation’s Housing Justice Initiative and remains housed there, has retained many of its original funders, including The California Endowment, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the James Irvine Foundation, the Weingart Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation. The fund raised $13 million in its first phase.” 

“We see that shifting political power from the few to the many is a critical element of what this fund is trying to do to ensure that communities that have been disproportionately impacted by housing inequality and housing insecurity, those who have been most in danger of displacement, land grabs, climate crisis, that they have a powerful voice and that they get to have the opportunity to influence and inform the decisions and solutions.”

Jazmin Segura, Director of the Fund for an Inclusive California at Common Counsel Foundation

The fund is also prioritizing organizing other funders and educating them on housing justice. The fund allows for funders to break out of their silos and find ways to fund the different strategies needed to address an issue as big as housing inequality. Collaboration, Segura said, is necessary to make a significant impact.”