Established in 2008, the Cultural Strategies Council (CSC) is a vehicle for interdisciplinary research, collaborative learning, and justice-led systems transformation. The CSC works with civil society, social movements, government, and academia across the United States and internationally.
We believe that society’s capacity to address complex issues, from racial injustice to climate change, relies on our ability to envisage, assess, and realize alternative futures cooperatively. We view justice as a dynamic condition rather than a static goal that requires diverse partners to recalibrate how they work – in response to changing conditions and led by groups most impacted by inequities.
We’ve found that inclusive dialogue and collaborative learning can energize the equitable distribution of power, wealth, and well-being. Creative strategies support our work by shifting the atmosphere, enabling individuals to encounter difference, engage in meaningful dialogue, share truths, develop mutuality, and find common cause. This virtuous cycle generates conditions in which new relationships, ideas, and actions can emerge.
While it is increasingly understood that systems transformation requires collective action, many entities continue to work in isolation from one another and, at times, cross-purposes. The fractured landscape of social change work leads to inefficient investments, duplicative efforts, and a failure to capitalize on humanity’s collective insight. The CSC addresses that challenge by working with others to develop shared principles, processes, and architectures that enable strategic collaboration at scale. This work draws direct lessons from Nature and how vibrant ecosystems function.
Organic teams or ‘councils’ are curated for each CSC engagement as required to support your unique needs and aspirations. This agile approach allows the CSC to co-create customized strategies sensitive to the dynamic nature of today’s operating environment. Our strengths include:
- Systems Transformation
- Integrated Investments
- Collaborative Learning and Capacity Strengthening
- Equity-centered Research and Evaluation
- Participatory Policy Design
- Cross-Sector and Intercultural Cooperation
- Facilitation, Teaching and Public Speaking
Founding Director Kiley Arroyo is a respected systems transformation and philanthropy expert based in the Bay Area. She has led a diverse portfolio of engagements with a cross-section of partners from civil society, movements, government, and academia, in the United States and internationally and in urban, rural, and Indigenous contexts. Kiley has published widely on progressive philanthropy, transformational change, and current policy issues. She has lectured at universities in the US and abroad on integrated capital, cultural policy, racial equity, complex systems change, and participatory democracy.
Kiley’s career began as a teaching artist in public schools. Learning through intercultural exchange remains central to her work. In 2008, she established the Cultural Strategies Council after spending a decade working in cultural organizations, think tanks, and government entities.
Kiley has a BA in Art and Architectural History from the University of Oregon and an MA in Cultural Policy and Management from University College Dublin. She has pursued advanced training in racial justice facilitation, complexity theory, collaborative leadership, and agroecology. Kiley is a fellow with Salzburg Global and the Just Economy Institute.