Our Common Purpose Initiative
In June 2020, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Board of Trustees approved a special four-year initiative to advance the recommendations of Our Common Purpose (OCP), the final report of the American Academy of Arts and Science’s Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. Co-chaired by Danielle Allen of Harvard University, Eric Liu of Citizen University, and RBF President and CEO Stephen Heintz, the Commission was convened in 2018 to address the pervasive sense that our constitutional democracy is in crisis. Its 31 recommendations are premised on a virtuous cycle theory that a vibrant and resilient democracy depends on positive interactions among political institutions, civil society, and civic culture; improvements in any one domain are insufficient without improvements in them all.
Between 2020–2023, the RBF will make up to $14 million in select grants to advance the recommendations of the report by activating the virtuous cycle of democracy; building a cross-ideological, cross-sectoral citizens movement for democracy reform; advancing racial and gender equity through the 31 recommendations of the report; and engaging other funders.
The OCP Initiative will fund grants in three main categories:
- Civic Infrastructure: Our Common Purpose envisions a National Trust for Civic Infrastructure that will support the places, spaces, networks, and leaders who bind local communities. With support from the RBF and other foundations, the Trust will provide grants to community-driven projects that allow residents from diverse backgrounds to engage collectively in civic life.
- Coalitions and Collaborations: A second category of OCP grantmaking will focus on building connective tissue within the democracy reform community. Large, strategic grants will support coalition efforts and funder collaboratives, among other priorities.
- Champion Organizations: Finally, the Initiative will provide direct support to select champion organizations of Our Common Purpose and other groups advancing the 31 recommendations of the report. These one-time grants will help to advance specific recommendations, respond to urgent priorities, and take advantage of short-term political opportunities.
The OCP Initiative is a special initiative managed through the President’s Office. For more information, please contact us. We are unable to accept grant proposals or letters of inquiry submitted by email.