Community Building

Community Building

Thu Sep 29, 2016

Just days before Congress adjourns for October recess, the word among lobbyists was that a proposal for flood recovery funding for Louisiana would not even get a vote for inclusion in the continuing resolution (short term budget).  It was the last opportunity to secure funding for flood recovery before the lame duck session.

Then, according to Together Baton Rouge (TBR), sister IAF organizations across the country began contacting their congressional representatives and senators urging them to support the funding package — across partisan lines.  Together Baton Rouge posted a video that, in less than one day, was viewed 55,000 times as leaders quickly spread its message urging people to contact their congressional representatives.

48 hours after the funding was declared dead on arrival, the Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, threw his full support behind the funding and announced it would receive a vote.

At stake was tens of thousands of homes and potential foreclosures.

After more days of posturing, haggling and deal cutting, the Senate voted (72-26) in support of the Resolution and the House voted (342-85) in support.  TBR additionally credited the Louisiana Governor and congressional delegation for “working tirelessly across party lines to make the case for flood recovery.”  They also credited high-ranking House and Senate Democrat and Republic leaders for the win (see right).

How a Bill REALLY Becomes a LawTogether Baton Rouge

Congress Clears Bill to Prevent ShutdownPolitico

Congress Averts Shutdown with $500M Flood Aid Plan, Billed as ‘Down Payment’ for LouisianaThe Advocate

U.S. Senate Leaders Propose $500M ‘Down Payment’ on Louisiana Flood ReliefThe Advocate

Great Flood of 2016 and What We Need to RebuildTogether Baton Rouge


Fri Feb 6, 2015

In addition to securing half a million dollars to upgrade the Ruben Estrella Park in the Montana Vista colonia, leaders of EPISO went on to leverage an additional $4.5 Million to begin construction to extend Edgemere Boulevard from the City of El Paso into the unincorporated community.  The road will better allow residents from Montana Vista to better access the City of El Paso; Montana Vista is currently accessible by only one road.


Wed Mar 19, 2014

With 650 people in attendance and 40 institutions represented in the roll call, Metro Vancouver Alliance launched a brand new organization in Canada.  The assembly included senior political and religious leaders including the Catholic Archbishop and the newly invested Anglican Bishop. in addition to a plethora of younger people and diverse faces in the crowd.

Metro Vancouver Alliance Founding AssemblyDiocese of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada


Fri Jun 21, 2013

“An enthusiastic crowd of about 1,500 people filled a Vallejo high school gym Sunday afternoon to welcome a new multi-county organization to the community.

Common Ground was introduced at the convention, which was attended by members of its 15 member institutions, and Napa and Solano counties and state elected officials.  The broad-based organization is made of religious and non-profit organizations from Vallejo, Benicia, Fairfield, American Canyon and Napa, who ‘have the capacity to act on the issues in our community,’ said co-chairman Todd Bertani, of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Fairfield.”

Common Ground Kicks Off to Serve CommunitiesTimes Herald (Printable Version)

Common Ground Kicks Off with Energetic ConvictionDaily Republic (Printable Version)

Diverse Solano, Napa Agencies to Seek ‘Common Ground’Times Herald

New Organization Unites Faith Communities, Other Agencies, Daily Republic


Sun Apr 22, 2012

On November 16, 2011, over 250 community leaders from throughout Westchester County joined together to launch Westchester United – a new power base for positive social change. This is the culmination of two years of organizing with the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, an organizing network which helps build independent organizations that have initiated far-reaching strategies on housing, health care, education and other concerns.

Drawing on the proven power of person-to-person organizing, these communities have engaged hundreds of Westchester residents as part of a process that is uncovering public concerns.

Reporting on what was learned, speakers told stories of families unable to afford outrageous mortgage payments, of barriers to educational opportunities, and of a series of specific concerns surrounding safety and mobility – for seniors and others. The next steps for this new organization is to do in depth research about the dynamics surrounding these struggles so as to prepare for effective and meaningful responses.  Learn more at Westchester-United.org.


Thu Aug 11, 2011

Over 2000 people from 40 Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular congregations and organizations packed out the Masonic Auditorium in downtown Cleveland for the founding assembly of Greater Cleveland Congregations, the newest afiliate of Metro IAF.  GCC priority issues are Education, Jobs, Health Care, Criminal Justice, and Sustainable Foods.


In the News


stadium, Quicken Loans, Detroit, investor meeting, Cleveland

GCC Fighting to Create a Community Equity Fund

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Metro IAF

GCC loaded three busloads of leaders and held a 175-person action outside the corporate headquarters of Quicken Loans in Detroit.

Together with ally organization, Detroit Regional Interfaith Voice for Equity (DRIVE), GCC pressed Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert, to bring fairness to the proposed deal to spend $160 million in public funding to build a new glass atrium on the outside of Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavs play. GCC is fighting to create a Community Equity Fund to provide a dollar-for-dollar match of all public money in the deal and direct it towards areas of critical importance in Cleveland.


leadership development, Civic Engagement, Muslim

VOICE Trains 100 Muslim Leaders in Northern Virginia

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Metro IAF

In the last 3 weeks, VOICE trained 325+ leaders including 125 from eight Northern VA mosques and schools. (As of 2017, one-third of the people who attend VOICE member & discerning member institutions are Muslim, 60,000 Muslims.)  VOICE leaders took commitments to “twin” with an institution near them that has a community different than them (politically, racially, ethnically, religiously, etc.). VOICE leaders will do listening sessions with their “twinning” partner throughout 2017 to build closer bonds and figure out how we may want to act together locally and at the state level when VA will be one of only two states that will hold a state-wide election.


Tax Subsidies, Industrial Tax Exemption Program, 'Together Louisiana'

Together Louisiana Reins In Backdoor Corporate Subsidies

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Advocate & More

Eight months after their victory in reforming the state Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), leaders of Together Louisiana noticed that industrial tax exemptions spiked 441% in its last year (2016), with the majority of tax exemptions granted after the reforms passed.  They additionally noticed that the Commerce and Industry Board reversed the wording of the measure to undermine the reform that would have limited exemptions to proposals that had secured the approval of the local municipalities sacrificing the revenue.

Unsatisfied with the explanation that the 2016 reforms were not to touch applications already in the works, 100 faith and community leaders of Together Louisiana organized a press conference before the Board of Commerce and Industry’s meeting and then sat in on the meeting itself — demonstrating a rare presence of citizen oversight of a committee that distributed $4.9 billion in tax exemptions last year....

 

Stadiums, Taxpayer Dollars, Cuyahoga County, Tax Subsidies

Opponents, Some Supporters, of Q Renovation Plan Pack Meeting

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Cleveland.com

More than 200 people packed Cuyahoga County Council chambers Tuesday on both sides of a proposed plan to spend tax dollars to renovate Quicken Loans Arena...the largest crowd ever to attend a meeting since council formed six years ago, a resolution allowing the county to sell $140 million in bonds to expand and update the arena was introduced....

Members of Greater Cleveland Congregations, a non-partisan coalition which represents 100,000 people across 43 congregations and partner organizations in Cuyahoga County, made up the bulk of the crowd. 

Video here


Michael Gecan, Chris Hedges, Building Power, community organizing

Chris Hedges Talks with Michael Gecan About Building Organizations

Monday, January 9, 2017
Truth Dig

When asked why he told poor Brooklyn communities in 1980 to raise a quarter of a million dollars without government aid, community organizer Michael Gecan responded, “Because power is organized people and organized money.”

In the latest episode of “On Contact,” the author of “Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action” went on to tell Chris Hedges that “most activists stress organized people and forget organized money ... we stress both.”


community organizing, IAF, Institutional Organizing, Saul Alinsky

Back of the Yards: Lessons from a Community Organizer, by Mike Gecan

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Boston Review

On the Wednesday after November’s presidential election, I found myself in the Back of the Yards area of Chicago’s South Side. I was there to meet with Roman Catholic priest David Kelly. Father Kelly is executive director of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, which he runs out of a converted school building on Fifty-first and Elizabeth. He and his team feed the hungry and bring together the perpetrators and victims of gang gun violence in the community. 

The Back of the Yards neighborhood—once a sprawling, spewing, foul-smelling collection of stockyards, polluted streams, tenements, and churches—was the original industrial area of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the largest network of community-based organization in the United States, of which I am co-director. 


Public Financing of Privately-Held Stadium, Adelson, Taxes, Robert Hoo

NCG Fights Funding of Adelson-Backed Stadium in Las Vegas

Thursday, October 6, 2016
Las Vegas Tribune

Naming “seven hidden risks” that public funding of a new Adelson-backed Raiders’ stadium would bring to taxpayers, leaders of Nevadans for the Common Good publicly voiced their opposition to the plan with a well-attended press conference.


Rev. Paul Buckwalter, PCIC Co-Founder, Episcopal Minister, AIN

PCIC Co-Founder Remembered for Confronting Those in Power

Friday, February 19, 2016
Arizona Daily Star

The Rev. Paul W. Buckwalter came to Tucson to broaden one church’s community involvement.

In doing so, he changed Tucson....


Huffington Post, Interfaith Relations, Muslim, Christian, Jewish

HuffPost Quotes DAI: Working Together Builds Interfaith Relations

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Huffington Post

To those concerned about anti-Muslim sentiment in the country, Huffington Post writer Carol Kuruvilla recommends, “Get involved with your local interfaith network.”  She cites Dallas Area Interfaith organizer Josephine Lopez-Paul....


Organization victories in Metro IAF area, Affordable Housing, Criminal Justice, Public Safety

Metro IAF Victories Update 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015
Metro IAF
Highlights:

Syrian refugees, Immigration, cities in decline, Detroit

Let Refugees Revive American Cities: Admit 250K In This Decade

Thursday, September 17, 2015
NY Daily News

The White House announcement that the United States should prepare to take in just 10,000 Syrian migrants in the next year is an embarrassingly tepid response to the largest movement of refugees since the end of World War II.

We should do much more — not only increasing the numbers of refugees we accept, but aggressively settling them in American cities, where they can help spark broad economic revivals.

Whether America takes a leadership role or not, conflicts in the Middle East and depressionlike conditions in the Balkans will do what such conditions have always done: trigger the movement of millions of people seeking safety and economic opportunity wherever they can be found.


Boston Review, Mike Gecan, Anxieties of Democracy, Katznelson

IAF Co-Director Mike Gecan Addresses "Anxieties of Democracy"

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Boston Review

"As an avid reader and admirer of Ira Katznelson’s work, I am both puzzled and disappointed by his essay.

I am puzzled as to why he defines the crisis of democratic decline so narrowly, as a loss of faith in representative institutions and parliamentary governments. He quotes John Locke asserting that “the establishing of the legislative power” is the “first and fundamental positive law” of a good political regime, as well as James Mill, who nearly hyperventilated describing 'the system of representation' as the “grand discovery of modern times.” Really?"


Organizing in Vancouver, Canada IAF, Deborah Littman

Metro Vancouver Alliance Builds Bridges and Makes Things Happen

Monday, June 29, 2015
Vancouver Sun

The new Metro Vancouver Alliance is devoted to bringing people of different faiths and beliefs together for the sake of the “common good.”

And it recently marked a significant success when Alliance-affiliated churches and synagogues played a role in helping the mostly Filipino staff at Inglewood Care Centre in West Vancouver get through a contentious contract dispute.


Better Together, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, St. George

'Better Together' Beats Back Separatists in Baton Rouge

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
The Advocate & Better Together

Leaders of ‘Better Together’ successfully undermined a suburban incorporation effort (in the St. George area) by convincing voters who had signed onto the original petition to withdraw their signatures.

A small minority of St. George residents needed 17,859 signatures to call a vote for incorporation, an essential first step in separating the suburb 


Ed Chambers, Memorial Service, IAF

Memorial Service for Ed Chambers Announced

Thursday, June 18, 2015
Industrial Areas Foundation

A memorial service for Edward (Ed) Chambers has been scheduled for:  

8:30am, Wednesday, July 1st 
American Jewish University 
15600 Mulholland Drive
Los Angeles, CA  90077

The service will be open to IAF organizers and others, and will precede the IAF International meeting scheduled that same day. 



Reflections on Chamber's life and legacy below:



Recognizing Ed Chambers by Dick Harmon

Ed Chambers, Leader of Community Organising in the US Inspired Creation of Citizens UK by Neil Jameson

Edward Chambers, Community Organizing’s Unforgiving HeroNew Yorker

Lessons From a Great Community Organizer,Council of Philanthropy


Ed Chambers, Obituary, Citizens UK, Neil Jameson

Ed Chambers: Leader of Community Organising in the US Inspired Creation of Citizens UK

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
The Tablet

Ed Chambers was born in the Midwest of the United States, the son of Thomas and Hazella Chambers, Irish Catholics who had emigrated to America from the west Cork town of Skibbereen, where Chambers was to retire in 2010.  Chambers started to train...


Edward Chambers, IAF, Alinsky, Memorial Service, Chicago

Ed Chamber's Memorial

Sunday, June 7, 2015
Memorial Service for Ed Chambers

A memorial service for Edward Chambers, successor to Saul Alinsky, was held at St. Gertrude's in Chicago on June 7, 2015. Former Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation was remembered by friends and colleagues as a key figure in the development of worldwide network of grassroots citizens organizations.

Memorial notice here.

 

 


Edward Chambers

Lessons From a Great Community Organizer

Friday, May 15, 2015
Chronicle of Philanthropy

The death last month of Edward Chambers, one of the world’s great community organizers, serves as a strong reminder of how the power of the grass-roots can be mobilized to make a huge difference in the lives of the neediest. He was a master of building groups that could last for the long haul, a skill not enough activists possess.

For 37 years, Mr. Chambers served as the national director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a network of community-based organizations that had been founded by his mentor Saul Alinsky, the iconic champion of "power organizing."


Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Governor Baker, Mayor Walsh

1,800 GBIO Leaders Secure "Pledge to Work for Social Justice"

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Boston Globe

The governor and mayor were joined by Attorney General Maura Healey and Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo. The four made their pledges before more than 1,800 people who packed the historic Trinity Church in Copley Square for the event, hosted by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.


Ed Chambers, IAF, Saul Alinsky, Samuel Freedman

Edward Chambers, Community Organizing's Unforgiving Hero

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
New Yorker
On a June night in 1978, a community organizer named Edward Chambers drove through the shattered bricks and waist-high weeds of the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville, finding his way along streets that no longer had signs. He was expected at a nearby Lutheran church by a group of local clergy. Its members had reached out to Chambers, a disciple of Saul Alinsky, in the hope that he could help them rescue a section of New York so devastated that Boston’s mayor, on a visit, had declared it “the beginning of the end of our civilization....”

Community Organizing in Vancouver, Canada IAF, Pope Francis, Common Good

Vancouver Sun Calls Metro Vancouver Alliance a "Best Example"

Saturday, May 2, 2015
Vancouver Sun

"The Metro Vancouver Alliance might be one of the best recent examples of diverse leaders focusing on the commonweal. Vancouver Catholic Archbishop Michael Miller and Anglican Bishop Melissa Skelton are among the religious, educational and community leaders who are co-operating to work for economic justice."


Ed Chambers, Death, Obituary

Ed Chambers, Early Leader of IAF, Dies at 85

Saturday, May 2, 2015
New York Times

Edward T. Chambers, a lapsed seminarian who succeeded Saul Alinsky as leader of Mr. Alinsky’s social justice foundation, advancing his radical agenda of community organizing and grounding its progressive objectives in the Gospels, died on April 26 at a nursing home near his home in Drimoleague, Ireland. He was 85.


Community Organizing in Baltimore, Unrest, Police, Mayor, Rob English

BUILD Pushes City Leaders for Meeting with Sandtown-Winchester Residents

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Baltimore Sun

On Wednesday, BUILD led a group of neighborhood leaders and others into City Hall for the weekly Board of Estimates meeting. They stood up during the meeting and asked Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young to commit to a meeting.

"There's been a lot of talking in our city, a lot of press conferences, but the citizens from Sandtown here today do not feel like they've been listened to," said the Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, co-chairman of BUILD.


Training, Organizing in the Southwest, Colorado, Fort Worth, Zeik Saidman

Reflections on Southwest IAF Leadership Training by Zeik Saidman

Monday, March 23, 2015
Democratic Faith

Two years ago I decided to help build an IAF organization in Colorado - as a leader. I was frustrated by what wasn't happening in Colorado. I wanted to be a part of the kind of IAF power organization that I knew could make a big difference.

More important, I recalled with fresh energy the extraordinary individuals attracted to the organizing work during my IAF years. I wanted to reclaim some of that relational territory. Or at least give it a shot.

So, with a deep breath I signed up and...


community organizing in Arizona, Community Organizing in Tucson, 25th Anniversary

PCIC Celebrates 25 Years of Battles and Success in Tucson, Arizona

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Tucson News Now - FOX 11

Over 250 leaders of Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC)convened at St. Phillips in the Hills to celebrate 25 years of success. Since 1980, PCIC has leveraged upwards of $100 million in state and local funds into projects that benefit the common good including KidCo, JobPath, local parks and recreation centers across the County...


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