Origin Story

The Pop Culture Collaborative was founded in October 2016 by a network of philanthropic leaders—primarily women of color—led by Unbound Philanthropy, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, who dared to imagine what might be possible if they expanded the impact of their investments by pooling their resources, strategic thinking, and leadership influence to dramatically increase philanthropic investment in the pop culture for social change field.

These funders, along with other philanthropic leaders, were early and steadfast supporters of such culture change efforts as films, music videos, web series, TV storyline integrations, or creative campaigns. They recognized that while often innovative and timely, due to a lack of infrastructure, networks, and financial support, these initiatives seldom reached the scale needed to create palpable and enduring change in the beliefs and behaviors of millions of people.

Building on recommendations provided by the groundbreaking report “Pop Justice,” produced by former entertainment executive Liz Manne, the Pop Culture Collaborative launched in the summer of 2017 as a multiyear, multimillion dollar philanthropic fund and funder learning community. With the intention of acting as a “Google Labs” for the pop culture for social change field, the Collaborative was designed to create the immersive, creative, learning, and experimental environments that enables both funders and field leaders to collaborate and collectively understand how to more reliably achieve culture and narrative change goals at mass audience scale.

Through an intensive learning and research process, the Collaborative’s staff and Managing Partners have come to understand that the cultural change we seek can most reliably be achieved when an audience is immersed over time in a narrative environment powered by stories and other cultural experiences that express diverse and complex perspectives, while also sharing a common goal to advance a vision for a more humane way of life.

The Pop Culture Collaborative was founded in October 2016 by a network of philanthropic leaders—primarily women of color—led by Unbound Philanthropy, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, who dared to imagine what might be possible if they expanded the impact of their investments by pooling their resources, strategic thinking, and leadership influence to dramatically increase philanthropic investment in the pop culture for social change field.

These funders, along with other philanthropic leaders, were early and steadfast supporters of such culture change efforts as films, music videos, web series, TV storyline integrations, or creative campaigns. They recognized that while often innovative and timely, due to a lack of infrastructure, networks, and financial support, these initiatives seldom reached the scale needed to create palpable and enduring change in the beliefs and behaviors of millions of people.

Building on recommendations provided by the groundbreaking report “Pop Justice,” produced by former entertainment executive Liz Manne, the Pop Culture Collaborative launched in the summer of 2017 as a multiyear, multimillion dollar philanthropic fund and funder learning community. With the intention of acting as a “Google Labs” for the pop culture for social change field, the Collaborative was designed to create the immersive, creative, learning, and experimental environments that enables both funders and field leaders to collaborate and collectively understand how to more reliably achieve culture and narrative change goals at mass audience scale.

Through an intensive learning and research process, the Collaborative’s staff and Managing Partners have come to understand that the cultural change we seek can most reliably be achieved when an audience is immersed over time in a narrative environment powered by stories and other cultural experiences that express diverse and complex perspectives, while also sharing a common goal to advance a vision for a more humane way of life.

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