Introducing the Inaugural Common Future Accelerator 2023 Cohort
It’s no secret that our economic systems are broken. Aside from the numerous cases we’ve highlighted, there’s one statistic we keep going back to: Economic inequality has already cost the U.S. $23T over the past 30 years, and will continue to grow if we do nothing. And in many ways, doing nothing looks like keeping the systems in place, in which the same rich, white actors continue to overlook the ideas, dreams and needs of marginalized communities of color. At Common Future, we believe that in communities impacted by lack of wealth, independence, and power, the solutions to these problems will come from thinkers, doers, and builders closest to the problem—but that for their ideas to flourish, they need space, support, and investment.
Last October, we announced that we were offering $500,000 in unrestricted grants to 10 BIPOC-led organizations working to solve the racial wealth gap in a one-of-a-kind accelerator—a first from Common Future. Our three-month accelerator aims to support organizations developing models to close the racial wealth gap and support them by removing social, financial, and political barriers that stand in the way of transformative change.
After receiving over 264 applications from across the country, and a rigorous 10 week selection, we found 10 organizations led by BIPOC women who we truly believe are here to change those very systems in order to help close our country’s racial wealth gap. What’s more, our brilliant cohort represents organizations who truly lead with community—centering impacted communities at the forefront of what they do—with community members in decision-making positions, partnership, and leadership, with diversity in leadership and staff. Or on a more human level, we mean people like our cohort’s single moms, or our Native and Black women working within those very communities. The ten selected organizations are closing racial wealth gaps in the U.S. through education, housing, Co-operatives, equitable food systems and non-traditional funds. To close the racial wealth gap, we must work across industries and sectors, which is why we are proud of the diverse incorporation of our cohort—50% of the organizations being non-profits, 20% fiscally sponsored, 10% hybrid, 20% For-profit/B-corp.
Today, we are so excited to introduce you all to the Inaugural Common Future Accelerator—2023 Cohort.
African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs
Amber Bond, Executive VP & COO / BRF Director and Janice Dsouza, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Black-led CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions) face challenges, similar to the underrepresented entrepreneurs they serve, in growing their asset bases so that they can provide sufficient capital and services to their BIPOC markets. The Alliance supports and empowers Black-led CDFI CEOs as they lead and grow their institutional operations and social impact toward eliminating racial economic injustice through its programs and services—through programs such as the Black Renaissance Fund, which raises, grants and lends capital to its members.
Tuba City, Arizona
Participants: Jessica Stago, Co-Founder and Heather Fleming, Executive Director
For Native American entrepreneurs doing business on sovereign Native land, there are significant barriers to obtaining capital due to the lack of local financial institutions, a lack of credit and collateral to prove eligibility, and a lack of investment in entrepreneurship. Change Labs is a Native-led organization providing workspace, tools, and resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs, including a new initiative to deploy capital to Navajo startup and growth companies.
San Diego, California
Participants: Roya Bagheri, Executive Director
Food industry labor—either as unpaid labor, informal business, or underpaid back-of-house staff—has been historically undervalued, and shouldered almost exclusively by low-income women and by people-of-color. The COOK Alliance has led the charge to pass the country’s first law allowing people to sell cooked meals from their homes, creating an innovative form of culinary entrepreneurship accessible to all, and particularly empowering for homemakers, caretakers, women, people of color, and immigrants.
Center for Cooperative Development and Solidarity – CCDS
East Boston, Massachusetts
Participant: Luz Zambrano, General Coordinator
East Boston is one of the city’s fastest gentrifying neighborhoods. Yet, the pre-pandemic poverty rate was as high as 19%, with undocumented and English-limited immigrants experiencing greater discrimination. The Cooperative Center for Development and Solidarity – CCDS is a non-profit organization that helps build and create worker-owned cooperatives by empowering immigrant and women residents to take control of their lives.
Southern Paiute Land; Las Vegas, Nevada
Onawa Haynes, CEO and Founder
Native women earn $.60 for every dollar earned by white men which will cost them nearly $1M over a 40-year career. According to census data, “close to 27% of Native Americans live in poverty. That’s significantly more than the rest of the country, which averages close to 15%.”This community is among the lowest labor force participation (less than 60% in 2018) compared with any other major racial group in the United States, resulting in cycles of generational poverty and poorer health and economic outcomes. The Hozhonigo Institute is working to create a world where all Native women have access to the workforce and entrepreneurship.They seek to remove barriers through their community driven programs that will provide Native women with training and skills that can provide economic security for the long term.
New York, New York
Gabriela Ariana Campoverde, Founder and CEO
For financial institutions , serving the bottom 40% of Americans is a regulatory requirement and a difficult necessity. To meet these requirements, financial institutions use Miren to monitor their investments in low to moderate income communities for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and CDFI Fund re-certification exams. Their mission is to facilitate the flow of capital into underserved communities through products like home mortgages, small business loans, and affordable housing development.
National Black Food & Justice Alliance
Kenya Crumel, Director of Black Land & Power
A long history of racial discrimination and extractive lending practices has resulted in land loss and limited access to land for Black people. Since 1910, Black-owned land acreage decreased from 16 Million acres to just 4.7 Million with the total loss over the past 100 years estimated to be worth approximately $326 Billion. Through the work of the Resource Commons, the National Black Food & Justice Alliance, a coalition of Black-led food justice organizations and farmers working collectively towards Black food sovereignty and land justice, is providing land and non-extractive capital to Black farmers.
SEED—Sustainable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development
Los Angeles, California
Sabrina Williams, CEO and Andraleia, Chief Brand Officer
There are some 23 Million underserved urban farmers of color in the U.S., and that number includes 72,000 smallholders on plots 3.5 to five acres. They don’t have access to the same equipment, nor encouragement, to undertake climate-smart practices that large, commercial farms do—and they’re losing financial ground and resilience to climate change. SEED has developed a handheld soil carbon sensor, a first-of-its-kind for urban and underserved smallholder farmers to democratize access to climate-smart Innovation and the carbon credit market.
The Community Empowerment Fund
Durham and Orange Counties, North Carolina
Donna Carrington, Executive Director and ari rosenberg, Director of Development and Finance
Homeownership is an important wealth-building tool that can be passed down over generations, and Black families have been systematically discriminated against throughout the home-buying process for generations, preventing them from utilizing this wealth-building tool. Community Empowerment Fund is working to end the racial wealth gap by supporting over 3,000 Members annually, in reaching their employment, housing, and finance goals in Durham and Orange Counties, North Carolina. Their approach combines person-centered support with advocacy and financial services that pursue equity.
The Tender Foundation
East Point, Georgia
Jaycina Almond, Founder and Chaniece Davis, Business Operations Manager
In Georgia, Black women earn only $0.63 on the dollar to white men, and children born into poverty in ATL only have a four percent chance of making it out of poverty. Tender Foundation is providing a safety net for single mamas living on the margins in Atlanta by providing $500 a month through a re-imagined Universal Basic Income model.
If you are interested in funding, mentoring or advising these organizations, please reach out firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our interest form to learn more.