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BUILD POWER to change the country from the ground up working with ordinary people. ORGANIZE WITH THE INDUSTRIAL AREAS FOUNDATION

To learn more about how the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) thinks about organizing and our work read:
Also read these three articles:


The Industrial Areas Foundation is seeking to recruit, train, and develop a new generation of organizers to work in one of the groups that already exist and to assist in new strategies and targeted campaigns. The Industrial Areas Foundation is recruiting organizers to work across the US in its 70+ affiliate organizations   IAF is seeking women and men from colleges, graduate programs, seminaries, business and law schools, the military, political campaigns, and other professions who are interested in exploring careers in organizing.  IAF is the oldest and largest broad-based citizens organizing network in the US. IAF, founded by Saul Alinsky, won the first universal health care law in Massachusetts that became the blue print for ObamaCare, conceived and won the first living wage law in Baltimore that became a national movement, and secured more than $1 Trillion in infrastructure, housing, schools investment to revitalize poor rural and urban communities across the US.  IAF has trained hundreds of thousands of citizen leaders and organizers, including Ceasar Chavez and Barack Obama.

Here are some of the qualities IAF looks for in a successful organizer:

1).  NATIVE INTELLIGENCE – not necessarily degrees, but the ability to think, reflect, communicate, challenge the conventional wisdom, make judgments in complicated situations, and show flexibility.

2).  ANGER AND EDGE – not temper, not ideological fervor, not an abstract commitment to “the people,” but a clear sense of what’s wrong, impatience in the face of that wrong, and a drive to address it.

3).  A WILLINGNESS TO CROSS RACE AND CULTURE – to be willing to work with people unlike oneself, people of other races, classes, orientations, faiths.

4). A TRACK RECORD – some evidence, in high school, college, the local community or the workplace of attempting to relate to people and to respond to situations that seemed to demand responses; and some success in whatever field or career or endeavor has occupied the individual’s time.

5).  A DRIVE TO BE ON THE GROUND IN COMMUNITIES DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY INJUSTICE TO BUILD POWER & TAKE ACTION FROM THE BOTTOM UP — some evidence that you are committed to people and place and embrace the organizing tradition pioneered by A. Philip Randolph, Fannie Lou Hammer, Ceasar Chavez, and others.



NINETY-DAY PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER TRY-OUTS (year-round): IAF offers paid, 90-day try-outs to interested men and women at one of its 70+ organizations across the US any time of the year. Organizer candidates are assigned to a sponsoring IAF organization, are given an organizing assignment to test their capacity, and receive extensive training and supervision from a senior IAF organizer. These try-outs are offered after a process that includes:

  • An expression of interest by an individual that would include a letter of introduction, a resume, and some references;

    An individual meeting, or series of individual meetings, held with the candidate;

  • Some contact with the individual in the context of local training/organizing or some mutually agreed-upon voluntary experience that gives the individual a better view and feel for IAF organizing and the local IAF organizer a better sense of the individual;

  • Then the 90-day try-out itself.  Upon successful completion of a 90 day try-out, candidates may be offered a 1 year contract

  • We are actively looking for candidates that speak Spanish, French, Amharic.

    All IAF affiliates are proud Equal Opportunity Employers.  Women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ are strongly encouraged to apply.


    Please send your resume and a one-page cover letter that includes a story about a time when YOU acted to create change. Please include in the story how you used the qualities listed above.

    Send cover letter, resume to


Photo Credits:
Top Photo - Alisa Glassman
Middle Photo - David F Choy

Bottom Photo - Donald Tsusaki