About Us

Mission

The Center for Popular Democracy works to create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions. CPD strengthens our collective capacity to envision and win an innovative pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.

Our Theory of Change

CPD builds the power of communities to ensure the country embodies our vision of an inclusive, equitable society -- where people of color, immigrants, working families, women, and LGBTQ communities thrive together, supported by a resilient economy and political institutions that reflect our priorities.  CPD’s role is especially important at a time when our communities are being threatened and the institutions that sustain us are under attack.    

In order to accomplish this broad vision, CPD:

  • Builds and strengthens powerful, democratic people’s organizations that give voice to those facing structural barriers to realizing their aspirations – communities of color, immigrants, working families, youth, women, and the LGBTQ community. We believe that whole people have intersectional identities and need powerful institutions that fight on many fronts simultaneously.  Through organization, we create lasting vehicles for sustaining community and to build and wield power in the broader democracy. The CPD network builds not only stronger organizations, but also trains and supports organizational leaders, staff, and members to be the true owners and drivers of those organizations and our broader movement. Collectively, our network is committed to building a mass base of people for action, engaging them and developing their leadership and militancy over time, and thus always increasing the scale and impact of our collective work.
     
  • Takes bold action together. We take on fights to advance our transformative vision of a more just, healthy, joyful world, while delivering significant victories that tangibly improve the lives of members of our communities in the near term. Our campaigns seek to confront deep structural problems that challenge our ability to achieve our vision (e.g., white supremacy, corporate power), and our actions resonate beyond those directly involved. We evaluate our work – whether it is succeeding in building real strength, changing the balance of power in our country, and meeting the real needs of our communities – in order to correct course in real time and work more effectively in the future.
     
  • Nurtures meaningful and diverse alliances with politically aligned partners that increase our collective power to move an agenda, and are committed to building authentic relationships grounded in real work. We build these relationships to advance our immediate term campaigns, and to build a strong infrastructure for a sustainable and growing movement for justice that our communities so deeply need.  

History

Established in 2012, the Center for Popular Democracy merged with the Leadership Center for the Common Good on January 1, 2014 to create a newly powerful, Center for Popular Democracy. The organizations' sister 501c4 organizations, Action for the Common Good and Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund also merged to create a new stronger CPD Action. 

CPD now has 83 staff, offices in New York City and Washington, DC, and staff in California, Chicago, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico. We work with a remarkably strong cohort of 50 affiliates and partners in 126 cities and 34 states. 

CPD’s model for change draws from the successful base-building and policy advocacy of partner organizations such as Make the Road New York (MRNY), CASA de Maryland, and PCUN in Oregon, as well as New York Communities for Change (NYCC), Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Action Now in Illinois, among many others. Around the country, base-building organizations are demonstrating that it is possible to grow to scale, with strong institutional infrastructure and innovative organizing models, and leverage that strength to win cutting-edge policy victories at the federal, state and local levels. CPD grows out of this experience, to bring a range of additional capacities to the field to help base-building organizations scale up even further, to deepen and grow the progressive movement infrastructure, and to advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice policy agenda nationwide.

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Not all views expressed by CPD reflect the views held by all CPD affiliates.