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Common Counsel Foundation

Oakland, California

Common Counsel Foundation was awarded $1,850,000 between 2019 and 2021, including 3 grants in Journalism & Media, Equitable Recovery and Impact Investments.


2021 • 3 years 5 months • Journalism & Media

Common Counsel Foundation is a nonprofit organization that partners with donors to expand the philanthropic resources for progressive social movements. It supports 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. Common Counsel Foundation serves as the fiscal sponsor for the Color Congress Initiative, a collaborative funding and field-building initiative aimed at strengthening documentary storytelling by resourcing majority People of Color (POC) -led and -serving documentary organizations and encouraging collaborative problem-solving for the field. The Color Congress Initiative is designed to provide multi-year general operating support to 15 to 20 smaller POC-led documentary organizations across the United States, with a focus on those outside of major cities. It also convenes POC-led organizations across the documentary film field to identify shared concerns and create a participatory grantmaking fund to support collaborative projects that will address these concerns. This grant provides flexible support for the Color Congress Initiative, including re-granting, salaries, and convening costs. The intended outcomes of this work are a stronger ecosystem of POC-led documentary film organizations across the United States and greater collaboration and innovation among the field, aimed at creating greater equity.


2020 • 1 year • Equitable Recovery

Native Voices Rising (NVR) – a research, donor education, re-granting, and capacity-building project of Common Counsel Foundation (CCF) – serves as a mechanism to build broad-based philanthropic support for grassroots groups led by and for Native communities, and to amplify Native voices who are elevating Indigenous solutions to historic harms and society's most pressing issues. NVR is designed to support organizing, advocacy, and civic engagement in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. NVR provides general operating support grants that are intended to strengthen Native-led organizations that are improving the lives of their community members in the United States.


2019 • 1 year • Impact Investments

Common Counsel Foundation advances equity and environmental health through a combination of direct grant making and strategic philanthropic advising for client member funds and manages projects focused on organizational development, leadership training and sustainability, and donor education. It supports Transform Finance under a fiscal sponsorship agreement. Working with the transformative finance principles of deep engagement of communities in design, governance, and ownership; creation of more value than is extracted; and fair allocation of risks and returns among stakeholders, Transform Finance aims to turn capital into a tool for social change by working with impact investors and local communities to support deeper, community-centered approaches to impact investing. Through the Transform Finance Investor Network, it works to publish analysis and documentation via issue briefs, develop new tools, highlight investable opportunities and provide mission-driven advisory services to inform, organize, and support investors who seek to shape investment activity using a social justice lens. It counts about thirty family offices and foundations as its members, representing about $2 billion in capital aligned to a social justice frame. Transform Finance also works with activists and community leaders through activities that include education and support, place-based trainings, topical workshops, and project-specific engagements, such as supporting the development and formation of community-controlled capital funds. Grant funds support the overall activities of Transform Finance, which is a project of Common Counsel Foundation.

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