About Us

We envision communities where working class people historically bearing the brunt of social inequity are decision-makers over how their neighborhoods, land, and homes are owned, developed, and stewarded.  

Photo credit: ELACC

We believe

Gentrification and displacement are not an inevitable byproduct of community development. To meet the needs of communities most affected by housing injustice, we provide:


in community-led organizations to build power for housing justice

Strategic coordination

across community organizations and across funders


and funding to share best practices and strategies across grassroots efforts

Best practices

in supporting community-driven solutions that are accountable to communities

Committed for the long run

The Fund for an Inclusive California was designed as a three-year initiative.

In that time we have developed deep relationships that have allowed us to learn immeasurably about what it takes for philanthropy to support grassroots power building.

It also made it clear that three years was just the beginning. Click the timeline to learn more. 

Codesigning with community vision at the center

We began with a call to action to mobilize resources for communities’ vision for equitable development across California.

At the very beginning, Common Counsel Foundation and funding partners knew that we needed to begin building partnerships with community leaders to ensure our resources were driven by their experiences and vision.

We had to start somewhere, and so we began with the knowledge that was in the room, connected with nonprofits to get their input on which organizations and coalitions were critical to include in a power-building fund focused on housing justice.

Organizers pivoting to meet the moment

The pandemic revealed and accelerated what organizers already knew.

The pandemic sharpened the inequities communities have been organizing around for years.

The call for housing justice, and recognition of housing as a human right in the face of the environmental, health and economic toll of this time could not be clearer. Organizations pivoted and expanded their roles for the survival and well being of their communities.

A bold and unapologetic vision for housing justice

We launched a collaborative process that centered local leaders to develop a bold vision for the next phase of work.

We continued our relationships and commitment to power-building strategies as key drivers for housing justice and equitable development, and are preparing for the the next phase of the fund. During the planning phase, we continued to align our collective efforts and amplify the leadership of Community Advisors – the Black, Indigenous and people of color movement leaders – who have guided the strategy of the Fund for an Inclusive California since its inception.

Community-Designed Strategy

Nine community partners design the strategy for the next phase.

This past August, we were thrilled to bring together community and foundation partners to celebrate what this model and partnership, supported by community organizations, has been able to achieve in the last four years, and to preview the strategies and opportunities that are shaping the next phase of the Fund. The convening powerfully advanced the strategic planning conversation, with Strategy Working Group members leading the charge.

Community organizing is a means of building power. Without community organizing there may be more housing built or there may be some changes around the policy related to housing elements or planning policies, but there will not be a true and more transformative change around decommodifying housing and ultimately no substantial wins.


Having a strong public foundation partner that is so deeply aligned with our values around racial justice and power building is unique, because it’s an opportunity to partner on not just issue areas but to fund in a way that sometimes we can’t fund it, or to experiment in ways that we often are not able to experiment in our own foundation. 


There is a growing consensus among groups large and small in California around pushing for social housing. We’ve all long asked the questions connected to scale, but it’s not just about land trusts, it’s about getting people to realize there’s a different way to look at ownership. And there are paths to decommodifying housing.

I think that’s just going to be a very exciting area of work in the coming years.


Things that we thought would take years to do are happening in a matter of months. The pressure we built in the first few years really got traction and came to a head during COVID. We were able to really move the needle in these four years. 


Together we are shifting the current paradigm of housing

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.