Who We Are

From Common

“I started the Common Ground Foundation because I wanted to help. Most of all help people to help themselves. I always believed that if we started with the youth then we would be planting the seeds for our future to blossom. Give the children a sense of hope, self-esteem, and love that will better the world…I think making a difference in the lives of others is life’s greatest purpose. I walk this path with faith knowing that the Common Ground Foundation will Change the World.”- Love, COMMON

Our History

The Common Ground Foundation was founded by Academy Award Winning Artist, Actor, and Author Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. known as “Common”.

More than 10 years ago, Common committed his time and resources to help inner-city youth in his hometown of Chicago. Our work reaches high school students through mentoring and college preparation programs. Our focus areas are nutrition and healthy living, financial literacy, character development, and creative expression.

Common’s commitment to the foundation is both in spirit and deed as he donates significant time and resources to the organization. He also takes time to talk to youth across the country to keep inspiring them to dream beyond their circumstances.


Meet The Team


Leslie Pappas
Executive Director
Artra KennerlyDirector of Donor Relations
Tiffany Walker
Program Director
Linda Owens-Thompson
Director of Educational Programs: 11th & 12th
Karl Kemp
Director of Male Mentoring and Outreach
Bianca Thompson
Office Manager/Program Assistant
Toya Dodd
Director of Parent Engagement
Antavis Spells
Director of Educational Programs: 9th & 10th

Meet The Board


Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines
Lonnie R. Lynn
Marc B. Brooks
Cheryl Burton
Erika D. Patterson
Monique Rodriguez
Mark Furlong
Francois Mobasser
Erik Moore
Deborah Quazzo
Clarita Santos
Jonavan Smith
Dionne Morris