CFON is proud to announce the launch of NEON, a cohort of community foundations from across the U.S. who will work together to dismantle structural and systemic racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility in their communities.

NEON logo

We find ourselves at a pivotal moment of reconnecting, repairing, and moving forward together, but this desire for unity and reconciliation must be based on a truthful reckoning of what our communities have experienced – and specifically the opportunities people of color have lost or been denied for far longer. If we do not take meaningful steps to weave new social fabric, we are likely to revert to entrenched structures and systems that reinforce racial inequity.

The robust and open network architecture of NEON is designed to operate at a meaningful scale and provide real-time examples and new models for other community foundations. NEON, itself, is co-designed by the participating foundations and embraces distributed leadership, collaborative work, and reporting of results gained through collective action.

The inaugural cohort began in January 2021 and will work throughout the year to build out and test the concept of an aligned action network by committing to common outcomes and metrics that focus on the systems and strategies for advancing Income & Wealth and Power & Leadership.  The cohort’s focus builds on the research and findings of the US Partnership for Mobility from Poverty. The work will continue in 2022 and beyond, designed to scale to include more community foundations and possible additional focus areas.

Read more about this concept in two articles published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Community Foundations Band Together to Fight Structural Racism (PDF)

Network of Community Foundations Hopes to Attract Big Bet Money From Foundations (PDF)

Please follow this page to learn along with us as the cohort tracks its work and impact.

The Inaugural Cohort

There are seven cohort members who have agreed to test and refine this concept:

NEON is grateful for the advice and guidance of our Advisory Council and consultants.

Visit our Cohort Advisor page

Cohort Communities


Cohort Communities Map


More Information

Learn more about the Systems, Levers, and Metrics the cohort will be focusing on.

Visit Systems, Levers & Metrics page