Neighborhood Development

Thu May 22, 2014

Sydney Alliance celebrated the news delivered by the Minister of Transport that Arcliffe would get the elevator for the commuter station that elderly, wheelchair bound and stroller-pushing residents had fought for as part of a larger campaign for public transportation system improvements.  More here.

Wed Sep 11, 2013

Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) leaders applauded the decision of the Mayor and City Council to finalize $957,000 for demolition of condemned houses and $25,000 to support job training in the 2014 Budget...  More here.

Thu Nov 29, 2012

Leaders “celebrated the completion of the new water distribution system by El Paso Water Utilities. The celebration took place at San Patricio Catholic Church in Canutillo.  More than 240 homes in the Mayfair and NuWay communities are now connected to the water system, and 60 more residences in the Schuman Estates will have running water in the next few days.

The community fought for years to get reliable water service, said the Rev. Pablo Mata, a member of the community group Border Interfaith….’At the end, the people got it done,’ Mata said.”

[Photo Credit: Aileen Flores, El Paso Times]

Hundreds in Far West El Paso Receive Water ServiceEl Paso Times

Sat Oct 20, 2012

“The roar of a bulldozer will prompt a celebration in an Alief neighborhood whose residents have waged a four-year battle to get rid of an abandoned, burned-out condominium complex….The Metropolitan Organization of Houston, along with determined neighbors, thought the disintegrating structure was so dangerous that the city of Houston should spend money to bulldoze the darn thing, but legal and budgetary impediments precluded quick action….. The machinery, which will demolish the public nuisance known as the Winfield I, represents a triumph…”

Civic Activists Win Fight Over Eyesore CondosHouston Chronicle

Tue Aug 16, 2011

WIN created a $450 million Community Benefits Fund and a $100 Neighborhood Investment Fund to ensure that the investment in downtown development is matched by an equivalent investment in DC’s neighborhoods.  Revenue from the funds is dedicated to affordable housing, neighborhood retail, libraries, other public facilities, infrastructure repairs and upgrades in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, including the The new Washington Highlands Library.

Thu Sep 2, 2010

In response to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s proposal to close half of the recreation centers, BUILD led the fight at City Hall to keep them open. After turning out hundreds of youth, parents, and residents throughout the City budget hearings, BUILD joined the Mayor and City Council members to support passing a 2 cent bottle tax to fund the recreation centers and keep them open.

Mon Aug 16, 2010

In 2009 WIN launched a youth organizing initiative named DC Youth Power Network (YPN).  YPN’s youth leaders successfully won significant upgrades to Parkview Recreation Center and creation of the new $2 million Bruce-Monroe Community Park.  Additionally, WIN led the fight for public investment in new recreation centers at Benning Terrace, Watts Branch, and Fort Stanton, the new library in Washington Highlands, and $21.5 million invested in for renovation of athletic facilities at six DC public high schools.  WIN leader Ebenezer Osanyingbemi leads a tour of the renovated Parkview Recreation Center.

Tue Mar 17, 2009
AIM congregations organized for $30 million in county funds to renovate four neglected community centers in historically African-American neighborhoods.  This will impact the 3,500 families who are within walking distance of these community centers, particularly the seniors and low-income, at-risk youth who mostly utilize these centers.

In the News

Bucks, Scott Walker, Wisconsin IAF, Community Organizing in Milwaukee

Bucks’ Owners Win, at Wisconsin’s Expense

Friday, August 14, 2015
New York Times

Not all Milwaukeeans gave the new owners a hug. Last year, Southeastern Wisconsin Common Ground — a fine coalition of churches, synagogues, mosques and community groups — surveyed the city’s pitted fields and dilapidated recreation centers and proposed that an arena bond issue should include money for Milwaukee’s playing fields. The group also pushed for a public referendum.

Bucks stadium, Foreclosure Prevention, Parks, Nationstar-Mortgage

Common Ground Calls Bucks Owner 'Billionaire Bully'

Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Sentinel Journal

About 100 members of Common Ground met in the City Hall lobby Wednesday, calling the owners of the Milwaukee Bucks "billionaire bullies" who neither need nor deserve public money to build a new downtown sports arena.

"I will call on all my neighbors, friends, church members and ask them to urge their elected officials to vote 'no,' " Common Ground member Jennifer O'Hare said.

Texas IAF, Community Organizing in the Rio Grande Valley, Socorro Perales

Valley Interfaith Shakes Up Pharr Election; Parks & Libraries at Stake

Monday, May 18, 2015
Rio Grande Guardian & Brownsville Herald

"In the recent Pharr City Commission election, Valley Interfaith leaders knew the races were likely to be close. They calculated that if they turned out their supporters and members, particularly in south Pharr, they could impact the election and thus have leverage on which policies get implemented.”

Nationstar CEO, Parks, Playgrounds, Stadiums

Nationstar Mortgage CEO to Meet with Common Ground

Thursday, May 14, 2015
Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee

Nationstar Mortgage CEO Jay Bray agreed on Thursday to come to Milwaukee and meet with representatives of Common Ground, a community group pressing the company to address blighted housing here.

Common Ground associate organizer Kathleen Patron said Bray made the commitment at the company's shareholders' meeting in Irving, Texas. A Nationstar Mortgage spokesman confirmed Bray would come to Milwaukee, but said details needed to be worked out.

Baltimore, Rebellion, Jobs, Public Safety, Training, Pastors

Baltimore Unrest Highlights City's Deprivation

Friday, May 1, 2015
Financial Times

After the global financial crisis hit in 2007, the small business that Mr Bey set up after his final jail stint ran into trouble. “I found myself falling backwards very quickly [and] drugs came back into my life.”

His situation remained bleak until he came across BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development), a group that helps people improve their housing, economic and schools environment. He started attending “Turnaround Tuesdays” meetings where Build taught him the skills and confidence to get a job.


Arena, Community Organizing in Milwaukee, stadium, Economic Development

Bucks Arena Financing Faces Tight Timetable... and Common Ground

Monday, April 13, 2015
Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee

....Then there is Common Ground, a community group that is opposed to the use of public money for the new arena. The group wants public money for improved playgrounds and recreational spaces in Milwaukee County.

Recently, Edens has been singled out. His Fortress Investment Group in New York largely owns Nationstar Mortgage, a mortgage-servicing company, and Common Ground said the firm is responsible for an undetermined number of blighted properties in the city. The group has demanded that Nationstar donate $25 million to the city to help rehabilitate foreclosed properties.

"We're taking the Nationstar issue very seriously," Curley said. "We hope to keep making progress with Nationstar."

Valley Interfaith, Organizing in the RGV, Texas IAF, Streets, Infrastructure, Fr. Atangana

Valley Interfaith Celebrates Their (Newly Paved) Streets

Sunday, March 29, 2015
Rio Grande Guardian & El Manana

When Valley Interfaith leader Monse Martinez first moved into Las Milpas he noticed the roads were in very bad conditions.  Says Martinez: “The potholes were destroying our vehicles.  But we started to get organized…talking about it in church, holding house meetings and demanding these roads get fixed.”

Wisconsin IAF, Community Organizing in Milwaukee, stadium, Foreclosures, mortgage serving Bucks stadium

Momentum for Bucks Arena Slows as Common Ground Steps Up

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Journal Sentinel

"The owners of the Bucks have never proven to anyone that they need public money. Nor do they deserve public money," said a statement by Jennifer O'Hear and Lloyd Johnson, who co-chair Common Ground's Fair Play campaign.

The nonpartisan community organization has been especially critical of Edens, whose Fortress Investment Group largely owns Nationstar, a nationwide mortgage-servicing company that the Common Ground says is responsible for hundreds of troubled and blighted properties in Milwaukee.

"We are morally outraged at the condition of Mr. Edens' properties," O'Hear and Johnson said. "Nationstar should be contributing money to the City of Milwaukee for the rehabilitation of deteriorating foreclosed properties."

Community Organizing in Bushwick, Metro IAF, New York IAF, Parks

700 EBC Leaders Rally for Neighborhood Park Upgrades

Monday, March 23, 2015
Bushwick Daily

No one can say Bushwick backs down without a fight. On Sunday afternoon, March 22, a crowd of 700 members of the community packed into the beautiful St. Barbara’s RC Church with a small but urgent list of demands that carry big consequences for our neighborhood, particularly for kids. I attended to see what was up.

Here’s the gist. The City is neglecting two public spaces in Bushwick...

TMO, Texas IAF, organizing in Houston, Public Transport, Metro Bus

TMO Leaders Push for Metro Bus System Overhaul

Friday, February 27, 2015
Houston Chronicle

Julia Ramirez, a regular Metro Bus system user, thinks there are four things that would make public transport more rider-friendly.  She teamed up with TMO leaders Franklin Olson and Rev. Kevin Collins to break it down. 

Food Desert, Kroger Grocery Closing, South Jackson, Mississippi IAF

Senators, Sheriff Join Working Together Jackson Re: Kroger Closing

Monday, February 16, 2015
Clarion Ledger

People from across the City of Jackson, including State Senators John Hohrn, David Blount and Solly Norwood, and Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis, joined Working Together Jackson‘s “We Care for South Jackson” Saturday morning rally... 

Development, school funding, Community Organizing in Baltimore, Maryland IAF

Developing Baltimore at the Expense of its Children

Friday, February 13, 2015
Baltimore Sun

Concerning the funding of Baltimore City schools, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's statement to Dan Rodricks last week on WYPR that "any TIFs and PILOTs have no impact on the wealth calculator" that helps determine state school funding is simply wrong. It defies most of the studies that have been done on this topic and the Baltimore Sun's recent investigative report.

Bucks, Tax Giveaway, Fair Play, Governor Walker, Common Ground, Milwaukee

Common Ground Calls Bucks Co-Owner Edens a "Slumlord"

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Journal Sentinel

Calling Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens a slumlord, leaders of the community organization Common Ground on Thursday demanded a meeting with him to discuss what to do about crumbling and deteriorating properties the group says he controls through a company largely owned by his investment firm.

Transit, Sales Tax, Infrastructure, Community Organizing in Vancouver

Metro Vancouver Alliance Fights for Improved Transit

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
News 1130

Metro Vancouver Alliance leaders piled into a church gym to develop a strategy to convince voters to pass a half cent sales tax that would pay fo needed improvements in local transit...

COPS / Metro Alliance, Andy Sarabia, Economic Incentives, Infrastructure, Flooding

At 40, COPS Still Standing Up for Residents

Sunday, December 7, 2014
San Antonio Express News

"COPS was founded by taxpaying citizens angry at the intentional neglect of our communities. We realized the answer to the power of money was the organized power of people. Our agenda focused on quality-of-life issues such as: health, education, jobs, wages and benefits, and neighborhood improvements..."

Durham CAN, North Carolina IAF, Community organizing in North Carolina

Durham CAN Celebrates Progress

Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Triangle Tribune

Kingdom Harvest Ministries Pastor Herbert R. Davis said CAN is here so that Durham can have a safer community, affordable places to call home, equal access to the transit system, and access to jobs and a livable wage.

“We are here because we recognize the power of collective people working for a united purpose,” he said. “So what you are about to see today is the process and the effort of a mediating institution that has negotiated with government and businesses in order to ensure that Durham becomes a better place, not just for those who are already at the table, but for those who don’t even know a table exists....”

Public Spending, Community Development, Economic Development, Parks

Common Ground Draws Line In The Sand Over Arena Spending vs. Parks

Sunday, October 19, 2014
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Members of the community group Common Ground on Sunday formally drew a line in the sand in opposition to the use of public money to finance a new, multipurpose arena in downtown Milwaukee.

And in a message to community leaders and Milwaukee Bucks owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, the group made it clear it will fight to improve recreational facilities for children....

Sydney Alliance, Australia IAF, Community Organizing in Sydney, Transportation, Affordability

Sydney Alliance Tackles Transport and Affordability in 350-person Assembly

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Syndey Alliance

About 350 Sydney Alliance leaders packed an assembly hall in Sutherland-St George to challenge NSW Minister of Transport Gladys Berejiklian, local MPs and candidates for state office...

Queens, Community Organizing in NYC, New York IAF, Metro IAF, Flooding, Infrastructure

EQUAL Beats Back Queens Floodwaters

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
City Limits

E. Thomas Oliver, a deacon at the New Jerusalem Baptist Church and a leader of EQUAL, says that when he purchased his home on 141st Avenue in Laurelton in 1971, little did he know he was “buying waterfront property.”
But after storm waters destroyed two of his cars and he spent $4,000 to install a sump pump in his basement—he recalls once seeing a neighbor paddle down the street in a canoe—he was convinced the coastline had somehow encroached upon Laurelton.

Community Organizing in Texas, Organizing in RGV, Pharr, Las Milpas, Colonias

Valley Interfaith Organizes Colonias Residents to Get Voices Heard

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The Monitor

Valley Interfaith leader Eddie Anaya, first organized a forum in Las Milpas to identify the concerns of colonia residents of Pharr and then brought 20 local residents to a city-sponsored forum later that week to relay their priorities: a satellite library on the Southside of Pharr, public transportation, improved police response, and identifying an alternative water supply.

Storm Sewers, Flooding, Empowered Queens United in Action & Leadership

EQUAL Confronts Dangers of Storm Sewers in Queens

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Queens Chronicle

Emily Lloyd, commissioner of New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, told a group of more than 200 people on Monday night that multiple means of combatting their chronic flooding problems have been deployed successfully, and that far more are coming.

Lloyd, appointed earlier this year by Mayor de Blasio, spoke at a meeting of the group Empowered Queens United in Action & Leadership, or EQUAL, a coalition of churches and civic organizations.

Transportation, Railway Lifts, Access, Kate Fitzgerald, Community Organizing in Australia

Sydney Alliance Fights for Railway Lifts at Neighborhood Station

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
St. George Sutherland Shire Leader

The community campaign for a lift at Arncliffe railway station has stepped up a notch, with Rockdale MP John Flowers throwing his support behind the push.

Mr Flowers joined members of Rockdale Residents Unite group and St George-Sutherland District of the Sydney Alliance outside the station recently to talk to commuters about the need for a lift.

Organizing in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Anna Eng, RGV, Brownsville, Pharr, Hidalgo County

Valley Interfaith Celebrates 30th Anniversary in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The Monitor

Valley Interfaith celebrated its 30th anniversary Sunday afternoon at the Pharr Events Center, and Gurrola was among several community members who spoke to the more than 800-person audience about how the organization guided them when they needed it most.

Civic Engagement

Breaking Away

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

In the past year and a half, Baton Rouge has seen efforts to create a breakaway chamber of commerce, a breakaway school district and a breakaway city. Now, a conservative nonprofit has been created, reportedly, to challenge the one organization that is trying to bring Baton Rouge together...

Housing Demolition, Blight, Community Development, Training, Social Justice, Interfaith, Saul Alinsky, Joe Higgs, community organizing in the Midwest

OTOC Leverages Nearly $1M for Demolition & Training in Omaha

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

OTOC leader details why housing demolition is needed in Omaha.  Lead Organizer: Joe Higgs.Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) leaders applauded the decision of the Mayor and City Council to finalize $957,000 for demolition of condemned houses and $25,000 to support job training in the 2014 Budget...