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The Center for Cultural Power

Oakland, California

The Center for Cultural Power was awarded $1,926,000 between 2012 and 2021, including 8 grants in Journalism & Media, Digital Media & Learning and Strengthening American Democracy.


2021 • 2 years • Journalism & Media

The Center for Cultural Power (the Center, formerly CEL Education Fund) harnesses the imagination of artists from non-dominant communities to contribute to creating new national narratives that lead to greater inclusion and equity. The Center is using grant funds to build the power of its network of artist-activists through fellowships and trainings; to activate and inspire those artist-activists to engage in storytelling in collaboration with social justice non-profit and movement communicators; and to build the cultural strategy field through research, convenings and network events. The Center’s goal is to build an ecosystem of artists and social justice advocates able to elevate the voices of those from non-dominant communities in public debate, especially on policies and issues that disproportionately affect them, from climate change to police and immigration reform.


2019 • 1 month • Journalism & Media

The Center for Cultural Power (formerly Citizen Engagement Lab Education Fund (CEL) provides support to the social change sector to take advantage of the power and reach of popular culture, art and media to influence national narratives and shape norms and values to better reflect the democratic ideals of pluralism and tolerance. It is partnering with HARNESS, a new effort launched by actor America Fererra that is focused on shifting current dominant narratives about social issues through collaborations between grassroots leaders and popular culture influencers, to convene more than 100 social justice leaders and culture makers December 13-15 in Scotts Valley, CA. The convening is designed to enable the nascent and growing community of advocates and artists working at the intersection of social justice and popular culture in an effort influence social norms and values to learn from each other and develop a shared agenda for 2020.


2019 • 2 years • Journalism & Media

Citizen Engagement Lab Education Fund (CEL) was created in 2008 as a home for social entrepreneurs developing new projects and organizations that leverage the power of media and digital technologies for social good. Since then, CEL has worked with dozens of startups, entrepreneurs, and philanthropic partners to expand the impact and reach of people powered change. Building on the knowledge and experience it gathered in its first decade, CEL is now refocusing its efforts on helping the social change sector take advantage of the power and reach of popular culture, art and media to influence national narratives and shape norms and values that better reflect the democratic ideals of pluralism and tolerance. This general operating support grant supports CEL as it builds the infrastructure for and coalesces a community of artists, activists, media makers, and others leveraging popular culture and entertainment media to amplify – and bring into the mainstream – the perspectives and lived experiences of under-represented groups.


2018 • 1 month • Journalism & Media

CEL Education Fund invests in new leaders, tools, and strategies that help individuals and organizations harness the power of modern communications technologies to shift culture and transform society. This grant supports CEL Education Fund to participate in a national convening of participatory civic media organizations supported through MacArthur’s Journalism and Media program. The meeting is designed to help coalesce the emerging field of participatory civic media, of which CEL Education Fund is part, by facilitating new connections and collaborations and building a shared sense of identity among a new breed of media and culture organizations using participatory media to amplify historically marginalized voices and strengthen American democracy.


2016 • 2 years 5 months • Journalism & Media

CEL Education Fund (CELEF) provides incubation and acceleration services to social entrepreneurs and nonprofit start-ups seeking to leverage the power of social media and digital technologies for social change. Since launching in 2008, CELEF has supported 33 social change start-ups with more than $50 million in funding raised from 162 philanthropic donors. It also has launched its new Kairos fellowship program to expand the pool of talented digital organizers of color, and hosts two issue-specific field-building projectss: one designed to strengthen the organizing and communications landscape on U.S. climate change and another to help change makers leverage culture as means of advancing social change. CELEF is using this general operating support grant to expand its pool of social change leaders, provide opportunities and resources for those leaders to test new ideas, and build out CELEF networks to facilitate learning and impact. 


2013 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

The CEL Education Fund will produce the documentary Voting Wars directed by Ian Inaba. Voting Wars uses footage from CEL’s Video the Vote electoral watchdog project generated over the last 6 national elections, to examine the challenges facing the voting system in the U.S. The film will take an in-depth look at the ways in which the political system has affected voting since 2000 and explore attempts to modernize the voting system and expand the electorate.


2013 • 1 year • Digital Media & Learning

The Citizen Engagement Laboratory (CEL) is a non-profit organization that provides support for collaboration, communication, and social media outreach to non-profit organizations. With this grant, CEL will provide communications, collaboration, and social media support to the Foundation’s digital media and learning grantees to coordinate messaging and other public outreach efforts as they engage an increasingly-larger audience of educators and youth in Connected Learning activities.


2012 • 1 year • Strengthening American Democracy

Video the Vote is a participatory video project designed to document, investigate, and help address barriers encountered by eligible voters on Election Day as part of the Election Protection coalition. As voter issues and polling place problems are reported to the Election Protection coalition’s 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline, Video the Vote’s volunteer network of more than 3,500 citizen journalists, filmmakers, and media professionals are dispatched to document these problems as they unfold. It then distributes this content to the media and the public at large. After Election Day, its work is used to support better elections administration policies and processes.
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