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Cristina Diaz Borda and Joi Edwards - 01/31/2024

Common Future has a vision for an economy where Black, Indigenous, and other people of color thrive—where the systemic barriers that have shaped economic inequality have been corrected, and where we all have what we need to experience abundance, opportunity, and belonging.

Amidst growing backlash against racial equity work, we spent 2023 building power from within across our leadership, programming, content, and more. We’re grateful for the partnerships and community that helped power this work.

Join us as we reflect on the past year and build toward the future.


We Transitioned to A Co-CEO Model.

Common Future’s biggest news of 2023 was our transition to shared leadership. In the midst of backlash against progress and equity, we believe that organizations like ours must prioritize sustainability and internal power. Through our shared leadership model, we are practicing the values of shared power and collective care—and more importantly, we are able to reflect the communities we serve at all levels of our organization.

In June, former Chief Strategy Officer Jess Feingold, Managing Director of Community Credit Lab and Common Future Investments Sandhya Nakhasi, and Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Njuguna took the helm as co-CEOs. Our friend and former CEO Rodney Foxworth stepped down after six years of transformative leadership to begin work on his next venture, Worthmore.

In the six months of their combined leadership, our co-CEO team has navigated a tumultuous time in our sector by redefining not only who is at the decision-making table, but how we make those decisions, and why. From influencing organizations to reimagine the future of work to building the infrastructure we need to use our power as a collective, our co-CEOs have helped Common Future become an enterprise that has generated more opportunities to make our vision for an equitable economy possible.

We Celebrated Our First Full Year with Community Credit Lab.

In September 2022, Common Future acquired Community Credit Lab (CCL), an organization with deep expertise in mobilizing capital and influence to build economic power and self-determination in excluded communities. Our combined teams hit the ground running in 2023. 


Community Credit Lab Logo.png


Last summer, co-CEO Sandhya Nakhasi shared, “When I think about this transition, amidst the backdrop of what is happening in our society today, to our planet, and in our communities, I feel that more than ever, joining forces together Common Future and CCL was the right decision. What we can do together as organizations is stronger than trying to build independently, and the ability for us to intermediate a wide range of solutions to tackle our inequitable economic systems is increased.”

With capital from our 2021 Character-Based Lending pilot, in 2023 our partners Native Women Lead, ConnectUP! Institute, and MORTAR deployed over $800,000 in loans using their iteration of relationship-based underwriting methods—and all loans are now beginning to repay.

We also provided $500,000 in catalytic capital investments to two emerging funds, Community Investment Corporation and Startup Tucson in Tucson, Arizona, and WEPOWER in St. Louis, all designed to provide patient and flexible capital in the form of revenue-based loans to entrepreneurs in their communities.

Over the past year, we’ve partnered with 5 BIPOC community-owned real estate developers to identify the barriers to investment and the types of capital that are needed to invest in community-owned and governed real estate projects and funds. In September, we announced that we had invested $1 million from our CCL investment fund to support the trailblazing work of the Kensington Corridor Trust (KCT) and Jane Place (JP), community-owned real estate and affordable rental initiatives based in Philadelphia and New Orleans, respectively.  

179 people directly supported

286 people indirectly supported (household/family members/employees)

27 small businesses directly supported

$10,058 avg estimated savings per borrower for consumer loans*

$40,717 avg estimated savings per borrower for commercial loans of $50,000 or less.*

*Based on an average U.S. credit card APR of 27.84% (December 2023) during the term of the loan.

We Invested in Organizations, Narratives, and Solutions.

This year also saw us expanding the organizations we could invest in, allowing us to provide critical funding to pilots we believe will grow the economic power of BIPOC folks. 

"[My vision] is one where we actually close the racial wealth gap in our lifetimes. Today, for us, for our generations, and the immediate ones ahead of us, we infuse a sense of repair and community into the world."

-Jennifer Njuguna,
Common Future, Co-CEO


We supported Just Futures—a people of color-owned and gender diverse investment firm, incorporated as a public benefit corporation. This financial platform connects nonprofits and their workers with investments that are increasingly aligned with the needs of people, communities, and our one planet. To date, they have committed 30% non-dilutable ownership shares to social movement organizations that are creating a just transition to a regenerative economy.

We also made a $250,000 equity investment in the media outlet ImpactAlpha to help bring the voices of our community partners into mainstream conversations around impact investing.

Our investments in projects like the Library of Economic Possibility, a public repository designed to simplify systems change and seed economic innovation, and the reparations narrative work of Liberation Ventures to build narrative power and increase public support for reparations in the US, compel us to remember that the future we’re fighting for is even closer than we think.


We Created Programs and Pilots That Built Power for BIPOC Communities.

Common Future creates spaces for Black, Indigenous, and other leaders of color who represent community-rooted organizations to think imaginatively about how solutions are implemented in their own communities. 

We make an equitable economy possible by investing in solutions that advance racial equity.

Last year, we partnered with 10 BIPOC women-led organizations in an accelerator that connected participants to financial advising, mental health services, and leadership coaching resources that aligned with the challenges they faced as owners. We then provided each organization with $50,000 in unrestricted funding. Accelerator participants were able to connect to a powerful network of social capital, opening up doors to receive additional funding and fundraising support.

Program Highlights

Change Labs was able to launch their coworking space in Navajo Nation

Tender funded their Bridge Program to provide single Black Moms $500/month for 12 months

Seed was able to push their product development forward by several months

CCDS was able to grow its team by bringing in some key hires to support with their work



In partnership with the World Education Services (WES) Mariam Assefa Fund—with 16 leaders from 8 participating institutions—we launched a year-long initiative to learn about, experiment, and apply participatory strategies and principles through a collaborative fund. We launched a Toolkit to support wealth-holders to bring these practices to their organizations. 

We also initiated a pilot in Massachusetts in partnership with Care that Works to enable home-based childcare providers to access a large-scale contract with a labor union that wants to arrange childcare benefits for its members. Additionally, we partnered with Missouri Workers Center, a 501(c)(4) organization, to enable them to bring new life to worker-organizing training by combining traditional techniques with political organizing practices and real-world power building through signature gathering for a state-wide ballot initiative.

We also funded and incubated the work of 4 action-oriented, community-minded, and equity-centered leaders with a vision for change. We catalyzed transformative policy projects and learned a lot about the role 501(c)3 actors can play in the policy development and advocacy space. Our Policy Entrepreneurs each designed 12-month action plans for their economic policy ideas at local, state, or federal levels, and the program wrapped up in August 2023. Outputs ranged from the report on narrative change, mentioned among our investments above, to building a campaign around a new land bank in Baltimore to developing learning networks across regions around wealth building and health in Southern California. We tracked our learning journey here. We’re also creating a report on the role nonprofits can play in bringing about transformative economic change, to be published in early 2024.


Lastly, Common Future, along with The Urban Institute and Dalberg Advisors, co-created the Economic Mobility Alliance—an interdisciplinary collaborative of leaders, thinkers, and doers invested in a shared vision for an inclusive economy and aligned to enact systemic change through targeted, community-led research, responsive funding, and building public will to accelerate economic systems change. We’re looking forward to announcing more details about the project, our investments, and our partners in 2024.


We Invested In Internal Equity.

In addition to our external programming, the climate of backlash and resistance to racial equity work made us increasingly aware that we needed to strengthen our foundation to enter 2024 as strong advocates for change.

As our co-CEO Jennifer Njuguna explained in 2022, one of the clearest ways an organization demonstrates how it values its employees is through compensation. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the nonprofit industry make an average of $3.36 less per hour than their counterparts in the for-profit sector. This pay gap only widens for BIPOC women—who are further disenfranchised by gender and racial pay gap, and significantly more likely to take out loans due to a lack of general wealth. 

In 2022, we began conducting an annual compensation audit process, which we implemented for the first time in 2023. Then, in late 2023, we ran a compensation roadshow to make clear to staff how compensation is calculated and how raises and promotions work.

As the world outside shied away, we knew that we had to be intentional about investing in becoming a truly Pro-Black organization that is dedicated to creating an economy that works for Black and Indigenous communities. In May, we convened as an organization and recommitted to just that goal, visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture ,and the Reginald F. Lewis in Baltimore. 

Our Equity Partners

To better support our team in creating such a culture, we named 4 main priorities for our internal equity work in 2023.

  1. Ground our shared vision of what our racial justice work leads us to and what we want to build to help us achieve it.
  2. Acknowledge and address power dynamics, anti-Black racism, and our collective areas of improvement.
  3. Establish what belonging can look like for our multi-racial organization and why being multi-racial is by strategic design.
  4. Provide additional resources on how to engage in generative conflict within a diverse and remote workplace.

All of this—paired with a technological revamp to streamline processes, reduce bias, and gather actionable data in the name of fostering a more inclusive and effective workplace—led to a hiring round in which we recruited more than 20% of current 2024 staff, and increased Indigenous representation by 10%, and Black representation by 7%.


We Built Our Influence Beyond Those Already In Our Corner.

An equitable economy is possible. Our influence work highlights the people, ideas, and solutions that are making it a reality.

Alongside our programmatic work around community wealth building, accelerating entrepreneurship, and influencing toward systemic change, we spent 2023 thinking about how to educate everyday folks on the barriers that people of color face in our current economic system, and foster hope that a better world is possible. To that end, we rebranded our Instagram account into The Futurists, a community that’s hope-full and radically imaginative.  This online community, now over 17,000 strong, represents an expansion of our work into education and mobilization.

An equitable economy is possible. Our influence work highlights the people, ideas, and solutions that are making it a reality.

We also expanded our core brand through a newly redesigned website. We partnered with Motiv—a digital innovation firm specializing in building corporate ventures—to make sure that we had a light, dynamic destination for folks to easily access information across all of our initiatives. Our new online home represents an open door for folks to explore all that we have to offer and wish to accomplish.

Now, We’re Looking Ahead To The Future.


Our community has never been more focused, and our strength comes from our clear-eyed goal: Build a future where all people—no matter their race or class—have power, ownership, and choice over the economy. In 2024, through our leadership, investments, programs, content and more, we’re growing our power to move the needle towards a future filled with abundance, opportunity and belonging.

In 2021 our co-CEO Jessica Feingold wrote that the Future Cannot Be Planned. “In these unprecedented times, by definition, we cannot know what’s ahead. There’s no blueprint. We’ve never been here before.” Three years later, as we stare at the landscape of elections, economic uncertainty, and a warming climate, those words still ring true. But as Jessica then concluded, “There are numerous Black, indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIA+, and immigrant organizations who are navigating complexity through some of the most harrowing racial justice, economic, and climatic challenges of our time. … Trust their wisdom.”

Ultimately that’s what we believe in our core: Creating an equitable economy will require collective action and multiracial solidarity. Our community has never been more focused, and our strength comes from our clear-eyed goal: Build a future where all people—no matter their race or class—have power, ownership, and choice over the economy. We invite you to come alongside us in this work, whether through investing in it, building it with us, or following along and amplifying it

Thanks for fighting with us.

With Love and Solidarity,

—Cristina, Joi, and the Common Future Team