Open Collective Foundation: 2021 in Review

Open Collective Foundation: 2021 in Review

In 2021, over 13,100 unique donors financially contributed to hundreds of initiatives hosted by OCF, from mutual aid to climate action to tech for good. We are very proud of the amazing things our community has accomplished! The real story is all of your stories.

OCF Updates We Love—January 2021
From community fridges to scholarships, Open Collective Foundation initiatives are making an impact.The Love Fridges - Chicago🌟 The Love Fridge partnered with a local restaurant to stock their fridges with 240 free meals for neighbors in Chicago, IL. 🌟 Possibilities for Women has raised enough mon…
OCF Updates We Love — March 2021
Check out these inspirational updates from some of the initiatives hosted by Open Collective Foundation:Love Wins Food Pantry - Moving together as a community.🌟 Love Wins Food Pantry provides food every Friday - even in freezing temperatures- to their neighbors in Queens, NY 🌟 The Possibility Proj…
OCF Updates we Love! Spring/Summer 2021 Edition
Check out the latest updates from some of the initiatives hosted by Open Collective Foundation.
OCF Updates We Love — Autumn 2021
Check out these inspirational updates from initiatives hosted by Open Collective Foundation:🌟 Rogers Parks Free Store has distributed over 14,000 necessary items within their community in Chicago. 🌟 Study-into-Action shares their next steps following the completion of their cohort to progress the…

OCF itself continues to grow at an incredible rate. After multiplying 16x in 2020 we get another 2.5x in 2021.

🏆 2021 Leaderboard

Top financial contributors

Top initiatives by number of contributors

Top initiatives by amount raised

Most Updates

Most Expenses Paid

Events Star


Most Grants

ATX Mental Health Fund

Most Projects

ParentPreneur Foundation

Largest Stock Donation

Sustainable Progress and Equality (SPEC)

Largest Single Contribution

$605,000 from Sloan to Digital Infrastructure

Strategic clarity

The rapid growth of 2020 left us little time to consider a long-term vision for Open Collective Foundation, as we scrambled to meet the needs of communities all over the US during the first year of the pandemic. In 2021, we were able to take time to think more deeply about where Open Collective Foundation fits within the Open Collective ecosystem and the wider world.

The beginning of the year saw our refreshed mission and values. Then we engaged in a strategy setting process resulting in our commitment to ”Solidarity as our Guiding Principle” and a strategic plan for how to do it.

Solidarity as our Guiding Principle
Open Collective Foundation is creating a legal, financial, and technical commons for the solidarity economyOCF has a unique role to play as steward of a legal, financial, and technical commons—a piece of shared infrastructure—that is resonating deeply with the solidarity economy movement. We can bui…
OCF’s Strategic Plan: Solidarity in Action
Here’s what we’re up to—we want your feedback!Not long ago, OCF announced our strategy focused on solidarity. Now we want to share a more concrete plan to put it into action. Here’s a rundown of what the OCF team is currently doing, what we plan to get started

We formed and deepened partnerships and collaborations with organizations in the sector, including the Sustainable Economies Law Center, SeedCommons, Ford Foundation, Luminate, and the New Economy Coalition.

Developing our team

During 2021, our team increased from five to ten employees (6 FTE), enabling not only better service to our initiatives but a whole host of new programs. We also engaged Lauren Ruffin, the former Co-CEO of large US fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas, in a consulting relationship.

OCF joined Social Impact Commons and the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors to further connect and educate our team. We are currently also participating in the Ford Foundation's BUILDing for Growth program for grantee organizations experiencing rapid scaling, and have received support from Luminate  to resource coaching for our leadership team.

Services & programs

In response to our initiatives sharing with us what they want to do in their communities, we've developed policies and procedures to support that, including a grantmaking program, virtual debit cards, cash assistance, stock donations, liability insurance, and employment with benefits.

We focused improving the onboarding process, began hosting a growing monthly Community Forum, and completely revamped our documentation. We also went through an audit process for the first time, which led to improvements in our compliance systems.

Beginning in January 2021, Open Collective Foundation engaged with the Ford, Sloan, Open Society, Mozilla, and Omidyar foundations to distribute $1.2M toward digital infrastructure research. Later in the year, we hosted Study Into Action, which brought together major arts grantmakers to consider the future of arts philanthropy in the solidarity economy movement.

Telling (y)our story

The latter part of 2021 saw greater efforts on communications and storytelling, through the OC platform, social media, and traditional media. We were featured on PBS in December.

Recent hires have been a communications organizer Bobby Joe Smith III, and four Artist-Organizer Fellows: Niki Franco, Nia Hunter, Ebony Gustave, and Robin Bean Crane We are currently looking for a 5th Artist-Organizer Fellow who creates data visualizations (let is know if it might be you!).

We also produced an animated explainer video about OCF:

You can now connect with us on Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook. Watch as these channels grow over the next months and years!

Looking forward

The coming year promises continued growth and enrichment of the OCF community, with exciting opportunities for real world impact and solidarity.

Some key questions now emerging are How Might We....

  • Facilitate a multifaceted peer learning community, a solidarity school?
  • Deepen relationships and communication to knit us together?
  • Spread our story to reach and support many more aligned initiatives?
  • Prioritize tech development to meet our community’s needs?
  • More effectively support translations, inclusion, diversity and accessibility?
  • Develop new services and programs to better serve our community?
  • Secure more outside grants to help fund programming and improvements?
  • Politically empower our initiatives within the bounds of a 501(c)(3)?
  • Support meaningful collective governance of OCF itself as a commons?
  • Fit into the international Open Collective network and its E2C plans?
  • Collaborate more with the broader solidarity economy movement?

Whatever questions and answers may emerge, we will keep our focus on being of service to solidarity movements, and providing the best possible experience for initiatives.

We invite you, as always, to connect with us! We want your feedback, at monthly Community Forums, on social media and slack, or by email.