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Center for Community Change

Grantee:        Center for Community Change
Ranking:       13th highest grantee, 2005 — 2009
Received:     $5,828,251
Type:             Activist Development, Grassroots Mobilizing, Coalition Building Foundation
Issue:             Immigrant Rights, Youth Voting, Mortgage/Foreclosure Activism

About:  Center for Community Change is a Washington DC based non-profit, established in 1968 with the self-described mission of building the “power and capacity” of low-income people to “change their communities and public policies for the better.”  Over the years, its mission has moved from organizing primarily in black communities to increase access to mortgages (in coalition with ACORN) to serving as a coalition-building hub for Mexican immigrant activism, including youth voting outreach (Generation Change).

Having played a central role in creating the subprime banking crisis, the CCC is now lobbying for mortgage bailouts for the poor, while moving into the leadership of the illegal immigrants rights movement.

CCC trainers help grassroots groups “mobilize,” and “enhance their leadership, voice and power.”  In addition to “community organizing” with individual groups, the CCC holds trainings and conferences designed to build nationwide coalitions.  According to their website, the CCC “bring[s] together the most creative thinkers from the grassroots to the ivory tower to develop innovative solutions and a vision for an America where we’re all in it together.”

In 2000, the CCC launched FIRM, the Fair Immigrant Reform Movement, an organizing committee with 30 member groups (mostly state-level coalitions of smaller groups) in 20 states.  They coordinate protests, petitions and lobbying to oppose enforcement of immigration laws and advocation for “comprehensive reform” of immigration policies.  Movement activists are concentrated in cities including Los Angeles and Oakland, California; however, their reach in nationwide.  In 2010, the CCC spent nearly $4 million on directed programming for FAIR and an unknown amount of  their nearly $3.8 million general organizing budget on immigration issues.

Mission Statement: The mission of the Center for Community Change is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to have a significant impact in improving their communities and the policies and institutions that affect their lives.  The Center for Community Change strengthens, connects and mobilizes grassroots groups to enhance their leadership, voice and power. We believe that vibrant community-based organizations, led by the people most affected by social and economic injustice, are key to putting an end to the failed “on your own” mentality of the right and building a new politics based on community values.  Founded in 1968 to honor the life and values of Robert F. Kennedy, the Center is one of the longest-standing champions for low-income people and communities of color. Together, our expert staff and dynamic partners confront the vital issues of today and build the social movements of tomorrow. 

Soros Funding:  In 2006, George Soros began to direct more money to CCC and specifically to voter and immigrant rights projects through the Fair Immigration Reform Movement Network. This transition to channeling more money to issues of illegal immigration and discrimination against legal immigrants illustrates an important shift in his giving patterns at this time.


  • Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director, former director National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support; legislative director for ACORN; advisory boards OSI, Center for Law and Social Policy, center for Policy Alternatives; editorial board of The Nation.
  • Kate Kahan, Legislative Director, formerly with National Partnership for Women and Families
  • Mary Lassen, Managing Director
  • Gary Sandusky, Senior Field Organizer

Board members:

  • Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President AFL-CIO
  • Jeff Berman, Partner Clifford Chance US LLP
  • *Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director Center for Community Change
  • Heather Booth, President of the Saul Alinski-inspired Midwest Academy
  • Kelly Brown, Consultant Viewpoint Consulting
  • Peter Colavito, Director of Govt. Relations Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Quinn Delaney, President Akonadi Foundation Oakland, CA
  • *Bill Dempsey, Director, Capital Stewardship Program United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, CLC
  • Diane Feeney, President Fact Services for French American Charitable Trust
  • *Jane Fox-Johnson Washington, DC
  • Sam Fulwood III Senior Fellow at Soros-funded Center for American Progress
  • Ana Guerrero, Chief of Staff LA Council President Eric Garcetti
  • Pronita Gupta, Director of Programs Women Donors Network
  • *Jonathan Heller, Director & Co-Founder Human Impact Partners
  • Kierra Johnson, Executive Director Choice USA
  • *Paulette Meyer, President Faultline Foundation
  • Torie Osborn, Senior Advisor California Calls, former leader of the Marxist New American Movement, former senior policy advisor to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaragosa
  • Manuel Pastor Jr., Professor American Studies & Ethnicity; Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity Director: Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California
  • *Lenora Bush Reese Consultant
  • Justin Ruben, Executive Director
  • Frank I. Sanchez, Senior Program Officer The Needmor Fund
  • Dorian T. Warren, Assistant Professor  Political Science & Public Affairs Columbia University

*executive committee members

Former Officers and Board Members:

    • Allen Fishbein, former General Counsel, former Senior Advisor to HUD for Government Sponsored Enterprises Oversight; former member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council, the Fannie Mae Housing Impact Advisory Council, and the Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Council.


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