Nov 13, 2023 · 2 min read

Lessons for the Narrative Curious: CZI’s Emergent Approach to Narrative Investments

A reflection on the learnings, ideas and questions surrounding CZI’s resourcing narrative work.

Graphic image of apartment building against a solid green and blue background.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Housing Affordability program is dedicated to improving housing affordability and access so people from all backgrounds and income levels can live, work, and thrive in California. Shifting the narrative — how people view, think and talk about housing — is a critical aspect of this work.

Read the Brief

CZI’s Housing Narrative Partner Program supports 10 organizations across California to engage in this narrative work. Collectively, our partners represent over 100 local organizations, lead 25 coalitions, and participate in an additional 19 coalitions throughout the state. These organizations represent the breadth, vision and leadership needed to shift our statewide housing narrative to one in which Californians believe everyone should have access to a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home.

CZI is just one of a handful of funders invested in the work of narrative change in California — we recognize that moving the needle forward will require an all-in, collaborative approach.

Today, we launched, “Lessons for the Narrative Curious,” which details our evolving approach to resourcing narrative work to build public support for housing reform in California. In this brief, we offer our early reflections, learnings, and questions as a stepping stone for fellow funders at various stages of their own narrative change efforts.

“Investing in narrative research and infrastructure is an important part of our housing affordability work at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” says Rob Avruch, senior manager for housing affordability, who leads this narrative portfolio. “We hope that our early reflections here guide and inspire other funders propelling narrative change in their communities and ecosystems, and those who are eager to learn and collaborate more.”

By building narrative power with, within, and on behalf of communities impacted by California’s housing affordability crisis, we hope to create a shift in what is possible and make a meaningful and material impact in the lives of those currently or at risk of experiencing housing insecurity.


About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our communities. Through collaboration, providing resources and building technology, our mission is to help build a more inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit

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