The Common Good’s predecessor was the organization, Show Coalition, founded in 1987 by Patricia Duff and supported by members of the entertainment industry and political activists such as music executive Danny Goldberg, director Sidney Pollack, writer/producer Norman Lear, and activist Betsy Kenny. Show Coalition was a Los Angeles-based membership organization focused on bringing prominent members of the entertainment industry together with leading political figures from across the country.
After a hiatus, Duff reorganized Show Coalition under its new name, The Common Good, at which she currently serves as Chairman.
Originating with Show Coalition and continuing with The Common Good, The American Spirit Awards was created to honor individuals who have contributed compassionately to their communities. The American Spirit Awards honors filmmakers, community activists, writers and producers for their humane and exceptional work. Notable honorees included former President Jimmy Carter for his commitment to human rights and his humanitarian work through such projects as Habitat for Humanity International.
Starting in 2018, The Common Good began its Changemaker Scholarship initiative to recognize young leaders who have "gone above and beyond to fight for causes that affect not only them or the nation, but the world". The recipients include:
- David Hogg, Changemaker Scholarship for Citizen Activism, 2018
- Jamie Margolin, Changemaker Scholarship for Climate Change Action, 2019
- Alexandria Villaseñor, Changemaker Scholarship for Climate Change Action, 2019