The Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) is a California-based non-profit corporation that funds California artists to support left-leaning political causes. Many of its grants focus on LGBT activism, immigrant advocacy, and left-of-center social policy. Grants in 2018 included support for a documentary film about the history of protests against police violence, a book about the immigrant experience in the U.S., and a “Storybank for the Resistance”  to serve as a repository of rapid-response anecdotes “to influence political decision-makers.” 
Founded in 2001, CCI started as a financial and management support center for self-employed artists.  However, since 2016 it has expanded its definition of who qualifies as an artist while refocusing on activism, including creating “opportunities for all” and supporting “diversity of cultural expression in the U.S.” This new focus involves prioritizing its grants and financial support to “those who have been traditionally marginalized.” 
CCI’s grants are endowed by several private foundations with a history of financing liberal and progressive causes, such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.  It also receives financial support from California municipal offices such as the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. 
According to archived versions of its website, CCI in its early years focused on providing formalized courses, entrepreneurial training, and investment support for independent artists. It referred to participating artists as “clients,” and connected them to CCI-approved microlenders for loans up to $25,000, as well as larger loans through a CCI Loan Guarantee Program. 
By 2008, in addition to its workshops and investment support, Center for Cultural Innovation offered project incubation and its first grant program, “Investing in Artists.”  The Investing in Artists program, which is still in operation, issues maximum grants of $15,000 and is funded by the James Irvine Foundation, a left-of-center foundation focused on California. 
In 2014, Mirikitani departed CCI to become president and CEO of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP).  At the time of her departure, CCI reported having served 22,000 artists and facilitated the investment of approximately $3.6 million. 
Angie Kim, who has a background in philanthropic work and was previously a donor to CCI, initially became interim president and CEO and announced in 2015 that she would remain in the role indefinitely. 
In 2015, under Kim’s leadership, Center for Cultural Innovation announced that it was conducting a research project to better understand the modern needs of U.S. artists in the technology economy. The research lasted two years and was conducted in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. It was funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna Foundation, both of which regularly issue grants to performing arts and left-of-center environmental organizations. 
The report, titled Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists, was released in September 2016. In addition to conclusions on the impact of technology on art, the report’s findings touched on a variety of larger political themes, claiming that the arts ecosystem mirrored “structural inequities” in society more broadly, such as income inequality and “race-, gender-, and ability-based disparities.” 
According to CCI’s website, the organization changed in important ways in response to the report’s findings, including by prioritizing its grants and financial support to “those who have been traditionally marginalized” so as to accelerate their impact on society. 
Even before the study was completed, Kim had vowed to reorient Center for Cultural Innovation toward “promoting support for individual artists as they directly contribute to producing cultural meaning and catalyzing change.”  These changes took the form of new grant programs aimed at left-of-center social and economic issues.
One of CCI’s new programs, called “Ambitious,” is aimed at promoting left-wing economic organization to amass ownership and power among those who CCI claims have been disadvantaged by the current non-profit ecosystem, as well as all those who “share the challenges of” short-term contractual work.
Another new grant program, “Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grants,” aim to help younger generations of arts leaders “advance equality, inclusion, equity, and financial sustainability across generations and other industry sectors.” 
Center for Cultural Innovation’s “Creative Economic Development Fund” supports creative social enterprises in Los Angeles. Examples of grantees from 2018 include Rational Dress Society, a counter-fashion collective that created an “ungendered monogarment to replace all clothes,” and POT, a pottery studio that “prioritizes inclusive accessibility for both people of color and LGBTQ communities in Los Angeles.”
This focus on left-of-center political ideals and the breadth of focus beyond the traditional fields of the arts reflects CCI’s broader shift under Kim. She described it in her 2018 President’s Letter:
“Since I took the helm of CCI three years ago, we have shifted our framework to support artists not just as producers of art but to address their human needs for better living and working conditions. We also expanded our scope to attend to any type of individual in the arts—artists, arts workers, artisans, makers, cultural producers, and creative entrepreneurs—i.e., the creative workforce.” 
Center for Cultural Innovation print and online materials regularly acknowledge its primary funders, which include several notable private foundations. CCI receives significant support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which is known for awarding grants to a variety of liberal and progressive causes, including Planned Parenthood, the Center for American Progress, and the Sierra Club Foundation. Its contributions to CCI totaled $450,000 in 2017. 
CCI’s longest running grant program, Investing in Artists, was started with an initial grant by the James Irvine Foundation, a liberal private foundation.  As of 2018, the Investing in Artists program had awarded $2.23 million to California artists. 
The Roy and Patricia Disney Foundation, which funds a variety of left-of-center causes, granted $150,000 to CCI in 2016 for its Creative Economic Development Fund.  Bloomberg Philanthropies is listed as a financial supporter on CCI’s website and in several of its annual reports.  The Kenneth Rainin Foundation donated $70,000 to CCI in 2017 for its Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grants. 
In addition to private foundations, CCI also receives funding from various state and municipal agencies and commissions, including the California Arts Council, the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs. The San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.