Pop Culture Collaborative Announces New Leadership Team

The Pop Culture Collaborative leverages the power of entertainment, advertising and media to shift how people understand the past, make sense of the present and imagine the future of American society. A first-of-its-kind philanthropic resource, the Collaborative will work to popularize authentic, just narratives about people of color, immigrants, refugees and Muslims that together tell the story of how we all belong in America.
The Collaborative’s formation represents a critical step forward in advancing the combined power of the entertainment, philanthropic and social justice sectors to use pop culture strategies to create transformative change in the world. Programming will include strategic grantmaking, cross-sector convenings and relationship-building, funder learning and partnerships, and the commissioning of new research and insights.

Over the last few years, philanthropy, movement leaders, cultural strategists and artists have actively investigated this space as a core strategic area for investment. The 2016 #PopJustice report series, supported by Unbound Philanthropy and Nathan Cummings Foundation and produced by Liz Manne Strategies, made the case for a multi-year fund to grow this emerging field.

Throughout 2016, the Collaborative’s founding partners, including Unbound Philanthropy, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation and General Service Foundation, have come together to launch the five-year, $25 million fund. During this time, they engaged a talented team of thought leaders—including entertainment executives and artists, social justice leaders and culture change experts—to envision the purpose and shape of the Collaborative and identify a leadership team to advance this critical initiative.

Today, we are incredibly excited to announce the exceptional leadership team who will drive the Pop Culture Collaborative’s game-changing work:

Bridgit is widely recognized as one of the foremost thought leaders in the culture change strategy field. A professional artist and strategist, she has dedicated her career to the relentless investigation of the potential of artists to drive cultural change in society, most recently as founder and President of Fuel | We Power Change and as a fellow at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Learn more here.

TRACY VAN SLYKE, Strategy Director
Tracy has worked at the intersection of media and movement building for the last 17 years. Most recently, she was the director of the Culture Lab, which through rapid prototyping methodology, built programs and products to help social justice leaders quickly adopt and advance their ability to use pop culture strategies and storytelling to create a just and equitable world. Learn more here.

JESSE MOORE, Communications Lead
Jesse is the founder of Common Thread Strategies and an established thought leader at the intersection of entertainment, activism and community empowerment. He has served as White House Speechwriter and Associate Director for Public Engagement as President Obama’s chief liaison to artists, celebrities and entertainment industry leaders working to advance social justice. Learn more here.

On the role of the Pop Culture Collaborative, Taryn Higashi, Executive Director of Unbound Philanthropy shares, “We are excited for the Collaborative to support pop culture strategies that popularize complex and authentic narratives about the communities and cultures that make our country strong and beautiful. The Collaborative’s work will catalyze new narratives that reach mass audiences and support field building resources that strengthen our collective commitment to social justice.”

“In this ripe cultural moment when artists are creating potent work that’s changing how communities are seen and heard, the Pop Culture Collaborative is poised to make a real impact,” added Sharon Alpert, president of the Nathan Cummings Foundation. “We are thrilled that Bridgit and Tracy will be leading this work, as both have been valued foundation partners; during her NCF fellowship, Bridgit brought together inspiring leaders to use pop culture for social change. She is a true visionary who will make a big impact from this new perch.”

2017 is an important year for the Pop Culture Collaborative as it takes full shape with new leadership. In January, the Collaborative launched its ongoing rapid response grantmaking with support for HARNESS, a convening hosted by America Ferrera, Ryan Williams and Wilmer Valderrama, that brought entertainment industry professionals together with social justice activists to catalyze partnerships and learning.

In the spring, the Collaborative will formally launch its major grantmaking program which will include one-year and multi-year grants for organizations and individuals working across the pop culture and social change landscape. It will also create and support in-person and online spaces for learning, sharing and strategy building among philanthropists, social justice and pop culture leaders.

Watch this space! You’ll be hearing from Bridgit, Tracy and Jesse more over the coming months about how to collaborate, contribute and grow this critical work. In the meantime, we would love to hear from you about your interest and ideas for the Collaborative—this work invites and requires all of our brilliance and vision. Please share your ideas here.


Pop Culture Collaborative
Unbound Philanthropy, Ford Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, General Services Foundation, The JPB Foundation

The Pop Culture Collaborative is fiscally sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), a nonprofit organization that currently advises on and manages more than $200 million in annual giving by individuals, families, corporations, and major foundations. Continuing the Rockefeller family’s legacy of thoughtful, effective philanthropy, RPA remains at the forefront of philanthropic growth and innovation, with a diverse team led by experienced grantmakers with significant depth of knowledge across the spectrum of issue areas. Founded in 2002, RPA has grown into one of the world’s largest philanthropic service organizations and, as a whole, has facilitated more than $3 billion in grantmaking to nearly 70 countries. RPA also serves as a fiscal sponsor for more than 40 projects, providing governance, management and operational infrastructure to support their charitable purposes. For more information, please visit www.rockpa.org.

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The Collaborative seeks to raise $25 million over 5 years. Join Unbound Philanthropy, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, JPB Foundation, General Service Foundation + others.

For more information, contact
Diane Espaldon, Project Lead:

INQUIRE + ENGAGE. Contact Diane Espaldon, Project Lead: diane@popculturecollaborative.org

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