ABOUT US

Established in 2016, the Pop Culture Collaborative is a philanthropic resource and funder learning community that uses grantmaking, convening, narrative strategy, and research to transform the narrative landscape around people of color, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and Native people—especially those who are women, queer, transgender, and/or disabled. The Collaborative believes there is an opportunity—and that philanthropy has a responsibility—to build a field capable of shaping popular culture to reflect the complexity of the American people and make a just and pluralistic future feel real, desirable, and inevitable. Through partnerships between the social justice sector and the pop culture industries, the Collaborative believes activists, artists, and philanthropists can encourage mass audiences to reckon with the past and rewrite the story of our nation’s future.

Founded by a Managing Partner network of social justice funders and led by a team of culture-change thought leaders, the Collaborative pursues narrative change through four interlinking strategies:

  • Strategic grantmaking to build the needed infrastructure, pipelines, experiments, and expertise to create change at this scale;
  • Research, knowledge exchange, and relationship building to seed collaboration between the social change and pop culture sectors;
  • Design of a pop culture narrative system that can activate millions of people with a vision of our nation’s pluralist future; and
  • Funder Education to increase investment in the pop culture for social change field.

The Pop Culture Collaborative is a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

THE SQUAD
  • Bridgit Antoinette Evans

    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Bridgit Antoinette Evans 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. Fifteen years of work at the intersection of pop culture storytelling and social change has evolved into a vision for a new, hybrid culture change field in which creative and social justice leaders work together to create and popularize stories that shape the narratives, values, beliefs and behaviors that define American culture. In 2016, Bridgit was a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, piloting Culture Changes Us, a coordinated learning system designed to accelerate the social justice sectors’ understanding and use of culture change strategy. For Unbound Philanthropy and Ford Foundation, she has led multi-year culture change research and strategy design projects aimed at unearthing breakthrough narrative and engagement strategies for the immigrant rights and gender justice movements.

    In 2008, Bridgit founded Fuel | We Power Change, a culture change strategy studio in New York City, as the home for her collaborations with leading social change innovators. Through this work she designed long-term culture change strategies for social movements that used transportive story experiences, often in the pop culture realm, to shift the thoughts and feelings of mass audiences. Strategy design commissions include the NYCLU/ACLU Policing Project, Make It Work campaign, National Domestic Workers Alliance’s #BeTheHelp strategy featuring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Cicely Tyson, Amy Poehler and other artists; Breakthrough’s #ImHere for Immigrant Women strategy; GEMS’ Girls Are Not for Sale strategy featuring Beyonce, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Sinead O’Connor, Mary J Blige and more; and Save Darfur’s “Live for Darfur” campaign chaired by Don Cheadle and Djimon Hounsou. Drawing insights from these commissions, Bridgit has traveled by invitation to the UK, France, Austria, Croatia, Brazil, South Africa and throughout the U.S. to present talks, lectures and workshops for some of the world’s most innovative movement leaders and artists. She often points to her roots as a professional Off Broadway actor and devised theater producer as the source of her deep passion for culture change strategy. She received her MFA from Columbia University and BA from Stanford University.

    Fifteen years of work at the intersection of pop culture storytelling and social change has evolved into a vision for a new, hybrid culture change field in which creative and social justice leaders work together to create and popularize stories that shape the narratives, values, beliefs and behaviors that define American culture.

  • Tracy Van Slyke

    STRATEGY DIRECTOR

    Through her work at the intersection of media and movement building for the last 17 years, Tracy has worked with a cross-sector of content producers, social justice organizers and philanthropic leaders to help them develop the profound storytelling and experiences that can catalyze mass audiences for social change.

    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. Its signature Cultural Pulse program focuses on helping organizers and advocates hook into the energy of popular culture: to learn from audiences and fans, work with artists and pop content, and experiment with smart, timely community engagement and organizing strategies.

    As a fellow at the Opportunity Agenda, she authored the groundbreaking 2014 report “Spoiler Alert: How Progressives Will Break Through With Pop Culture.” Before founding the Culture Lab, she was the co-director of the New Bottom Line, a national alignment of economic justice grassroots organizations; director of The Media Consortium, a network of the leading independent media outlets in the country working to increase their collective impact; and publisher of In These Times, a national award winning political magazine.  She is the co-author of the book Beyond The Echo Chamber (New Press, 2010) and her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Politico, Medium and more.  She has been on the boards of National People’s Action and served as president for Free Speech TV and Women, Action and the Media.

  • Marisol Ramos

    PROGRAM ASSOCIATE

    Marisol Ramos has extensive experience in youth organizing, movement building, philanthropy and research in immigration and higher education policy.

    Previously, Marisol worked at the Community College Research Center conducting research on improving educational pathways for low income, first generation and undocumented students. Before joining CCRC, Ramos worked at the Michigan Department of Education and the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. Marisol has also worked as a Program Associate at the New World Foundation in New York managing the Phoenix Fund for Workers and Communities, which provides organizational and philanthropic support to grantee immigrant rights organizations in the United States and Mexico. Ramos’s advocacy work includes co-founding the national United We Dream Network and New York State Youth Leadership Council.

    Marisol has been featured in the New York Times, Latina Magazine, Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, PBS, El Diario/LaPrensa for her work with undocumented youth. Marisol graduated from the dual masters program in public policy and higher education at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and at the School of Education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Ramos previously earned a BA in English literature and Women Studies with honors from Hunter College, City University of New York.

  • Katrina Olson

    Executive Coordinator

    Katrina Olson joins the Collaborative team following a decade-long career as a theater stage manager working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, International & National Tours as well as Regional Theater productions.

    The idea of changing the pop culture narrative to better represent unheard voices is at the heart of much of the work Katrina has collaborated on including the world premiere productions of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size and Wig Out!. Other favorite collaborations include the world premiere Soho Rep production of An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Ruined by Lynn Nottage, and Seed by Radha Blank (at the 10th Annual DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival and featuring Bridgit Antoinette Evans).

    Katrina also worked on the PBS broadcast of From Mao to the Met. In this live one-man show, Metropolitan Opera basso Hao Jiang Tian weaves song and story into a compelling tale of his childhood in China, to surviving the Cultural Revolution, to finding his voice and building his life and career in the U.S.

    In addition to her theater projects Katrina has worked for many years as the Ideas Program Manager for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. The Festival’s mission is unique in that it works to bring together diverse and distinct communities through arts and ideas. The Ideas Series brings together a wide variety of speakers and thinkers that delve into pressing topics that explore the role art has in increasing diversity and examines the hot topics of America and beyond.

    Katrina has a MFA in Stage Management from the Yale School of Drama and a BA from the University of North Texas. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

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