Organizing NetworksMany ELCA congregations involved in organizing collaborate with other faith groups to form local affiliates of national or regional organizing networks. Six such networks are listed below.
The Direct Action and Training Center
Established in 1982, The Direct Action and Training Center has affiliates in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia. The organization is committed to building powerful, diverse, congregation-based and democratically run organizations capable of winning justice on issues facing the community. As people of faith, God requires us to "do justice," but individual congregations lack the power to challenge and redeem the economic, political and social systems that create and perpetuate injustice. This organization’s mission is to bring congregations together, building faith-based community organizations that have the power to pursue and win justice. Learn more about them at their website: www.thedartcenter.org.
Established in 1986, the Gamaliel Foundation has affiliates in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and South Africa. The mission of the Gamaliel Foundation is to assist local community leaders to create, maintain and expand independent, grassroots and powerful faith-based community organizations so that ordinary people can impact the political, social, economic and environmental decisions that affect their lives. Gamaliel provides these organizations with leadership training programs, consultation, research and analysis on social justice issues. Learn more at www.gamaliel.org.
Founded by Saul Alinsky in the 1940s, the Industrial Areas Foundation was re-established in 1972 in its current congregation-based form. The foundation has affiliates in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. The foundation builds a political base within society's rich and complex third sector – that of voluntary institutions, including religious congregations, labor locals, homeowner groups, recovery groups, parent associations, settlement houses, immigrant societies, schools, seminaries, religious orders of men and women and others. Foundation leaders and organizers build organizations whose primary purpose is power – the ability to act – and whose chief product is social change. Learn more at www.industrialareasfoundation.org.
Inter Valley Project
Begun in 1983 when the first Inter Valley Project group was organized, several groups formalized their working relationship in 1997 with the hiring of an executive director. Inter Valley Project has affiliates in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The organizations unite low- to moderate-income families and their allies across lines of religion, race, ethnicity, class and age, helping them build power for participation in civil and economic life. Where it makes sense, Inter Valley Project groups use democratic economic development strategies as well. These have led to the creation of worker-owned firms, community land trusts and resident-owned housing developments. Learn more at www.intervalleyproject.org.
National Peoples Action
Founded in 1972, National Peoples Action has affiliates in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island. Through National Peoples Action, everyday people work together to gain power and win change by organizing their communities and their country. The group builds grassroots leadership to achieve its core purpose of developing the ideas, talent and organizations that will help reclaim our democracy and advance racial and economic justice. Learn more at www.npa-us.org.
People Improving Communities through Organizing
Established in 1972, People Improving Communities through Organizing has affiliate organizations in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Central America and Rwanda. At the center of the organization’s model of faith-based community organizing is a belief in the potential for transformation – of people, institutions and our larger culture. This belief stems directly from the organization’s rootedness in faith communities, and radiates throughout the organization, influencing the way they relate to public officials, to community members, and to one another. Learn more at www.piconetwork.org.