Centering Communities for Racial & Climate Justice

Building power across Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and low-wealth communities.
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We have the opportunity to put communities first — to uplift the best community leaders and ideas — and give them the investment needed to turn possibility into reality.

Our democracy has systematically incentivized underinvestment and disinvestment in low-wealth and Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities.

Throughout our nation’s history, communities of color have survived violence and discrimination, financial exploitation and disinvestment, and toxic dumping and environmental degradation, making a way from no way. 

Communities of color are not only the most impacted: They are experts in understanding the problems and creating collective solutions to address them.

Robust government investment in communities must facilitate health, well-being, education, social connections, and economic opportunity for everyone. Instead, racial inequity invisibilizes communities living on the margins of society and excludes millions from opportunities for community leadership and economic justice.
Our democracy has systematically incentivized underinvestment and disinvestment in Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and low-wealth communities. The path towards healing and justice must start with building power across low-wealth and Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities first.

It’s time to adopt, respect, and resource community-led vision and plans. It’s time to put communities first to repair past harms, reshape the present, and move with conviction toward a just and well world for generations to come. It’s time for us to ask ourselves, in whatever role we hold: Do we commit to centering community leadership, innovation, and priorities in everything we do?

Communities First is all of us, coming together with trust and vision, to bring forth just, sustainable, and vibrant futures for Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities.

We are led by principles, people, and partners.


Communities First is guided by a core set of principles that include: 
- Invest in People
- Proactive Collaboration
- Center Community Wisdom
- Honor Self-Determination
- Practice Responsiveness & Accountability
- Bridge Integrative Pathways
- Repair Past Harm


Our team embodies a unique combination of relationships and expertise in communities, in federal government policy, regulations, and grantmaking, and in philanthropy.

Helen Chin

President, Communities First Fund

Stephanie Jenkins

Vice President of Strategy, Communities First Fund

Communities First is a portal to possibility, a pathway for co-creation.

Whatever your role, Communities First  invites you to:


Shared Principles to Guide Thought and Action.

Curated from decades of movement leadership and practice, Communities First offers a set of principles that communities, government, philanthropy, and capacity builders can apply in advocacy, decision-making, and action to put communities first.
See Principles

Space for Trust-Based Relationships.

Communities First serves as a hub for powerful and innovation collaboration between communities, government, philanthropy, capacity builders, and investors. Our work includes the Communities First Alliance, direct community relationships, convenings, and storytelling.
The Alliance

Opportunities for Collective Change.

Communities First grows opportunities for the policy and system changes needed to put communities first. Communities First shapes advocacy pathways for every role.