Center for Popular Democracy

In Brief:

Builds organizing power in order to transform local and state policy landscapes through long-term partnerships with the leading community-based organizing groups nationwide. By generating momentum from the local level up CPD promotes the values of equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy and helps communities understand and address the structural barriers to advancing workers’ rights, immigration, racial and economic justice.


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.

CPD is a high-impact national organization that builds organizing power to transform the local and state policy landscape through deep, long-term partnerships with leading community-based organizing groups nationwide.

Collectively, their staff brings decades of experience to bear, merging technical and legal expertise with deep organizing experience to support our partners in winning, sustaining, expanding and replicating victories across the country. CPD not only helps partners win organizing campaigns and further innovative policy agendas, but also supports them to build strong organizational infrastructure and political muscle.

CPD generates momentum from the local level up to ensure that the values of equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy become national priorities. The work is not simply about making policy change. It is about working with communities to understand the root causes of the challenges we confront, building consensus around transformative solutions, and working in sustained partnership to accomplish shared goals. CPD aims to do work in a way that builds trust, enhances collective capacity, and ultimately broadens and strengthens the progressive movement.


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.

The merged organization has 45 excellent staff people, offices in New York City, Washington, DC, and Oakland, CA, and staff in Minnesota, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Chicago. Importantly, the expanded Center for Popular Democracy has a remarkably strong cohort of 11 national partners and 43 state partner organizations in 28 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.

The Resistance

In addition to community organizing through local affiliates and providing leadership in the state-based civic engagement work, Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) launched new initiatives in response to the assault on democratic norms and values. Its “fightback” program has mobilized hundreds of thousands of grassroots activists and allies and to date with a focus on defending the Affordable Care Act, stopping the GOP tax scam, saving safety net programs, and combating anti-immigrant policies. CPD also organized a broad network of independent activists (the “bird-dog nation”) to take rapid-response action, and the “Be A Hero” campaign to drive home the personal consequences of Congressional votes on health care, taxes, and the U.S. Supreme Court.