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Community Building

WIN Leaders Grab Headlines With Press Conference and Reactions to President’s Photo Stunt

Angela Wilson-Turnbull, WIN Strategy Team member, St. Augustine Catholic Church

In recent weeks, Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), its member institutions, and its leaders have appeared in local and national press in response to police violence, the national uprisings that have followed, and the use of force against protesters outside of the White House last week.
On Friday, June 5th, WIN leaders held a press conference outside the historical Metropolitan AME Church to stand in solidarity with Black families and communities that have lost loved ones to police violence, and with protesters in D.C. and around the country. WIN leaders made clear that racist policing is but one of many manifestations of systemic racism in our city and country's political and economic landscape.

WIN Strategy Team member and pastor of Metropolitan AME Church William H. Lamar IV

The same systems that enabled and encouraged the violent removal of Black protesters from space outside of the White House are those that have enabled and encouraged the violent displacement of over 20,000 Black Washingtonians from their homes over the past 20 years. As Rev. William H. Lamar IV of Metropolitan AME Church said last Friday, "Any flourishing people is inextricable from an understanding of the people’s relationship to the land. For far too long this country has resisted the right of Black and Brown people to live peaceably upon the land." At our press conference, we publicly claimed the 250 acres at Reservation 13 and RFK stadium to create a cornerstone development that will provide space for affordable homes, living wage jobs, and community-owned businesses.
WIN has strove for racial and economic justice since its inception in 1996. To build power behind our demands, WIN is embarking on a Reimagine DC campaign with the goal of building a base of 25,000 people within a year behind a bold agenda that confronts systemic racism in D.C.’s budget and allocation of land, jobs, and housing.
Read more about our press conference and WIN leaders in the media below:

BUILD exceeds turnout quota of 100 to test 111 for soft launch of COVID-19 testing in partnership with University of Maryland

BUILD leaders leveraged relationships with University of Maryland and The Johns Hopkins Hospital to offer community-based testing in Baltimore City hotspots. When it became apparent that residents were unable to easily access the 3 sites and the city health department did not have the capacity to provide community-based testing, we rallied leaders in our member institutions to choose a neighborhood site. Rev Phyllis Felton of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church on the west side of the City volunteered her church, which is near a busy intersection, next to another BUILD church, and beside senior living apartments that were built by the church. Along with four other BUILD member churches, 2 BUILD affiliated schools, and other community organizations connected to BUILD members, we made a turnout commitment of 100.

University of Maryland staff, from medical directors to nurses to IT staff quickly set up the registration equipment, testing tents, and distancing measures. When the line became too long, the IT staff developed the capability for additional registration laptops. Rev Felton provided volunteers, water, juices, and information sheets. The University of Maryland gave a bag with masks, hand sanitizer and an information sheet to each person who had been tested. Results are expected in 48 hours.




BUILD’s Food Delivery Increases to 730 families

As a result of BUILD’s relationship with The Johns Hopkins University and strong member organizations Koinonia Baptist Church, ReBUILD Johnston Square Neighborhood Organization, Mt Sinai Baptist Church, Zion Baptist Church, ReBUILD Metro, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, BUILD began delivering food to 550 families in East Baltimore on April 29 for 16 weeks. Organizing for more funding has allowed us to increase the delivery to 730 families and includes PPE.

Two local food distribution services provide fresh food each Wednesday and a local produce co-op provides fresh produce every other Thursday. Our drivers and site coordinators are paid a stipend for their time, and volunteers contact each family prior to every delivery to make sure they are still and need and will be home to receive the food.

Working Together, BUILD and Johns Hopkins University leveraged over $650k to Support a Large Scale Food Delivery System to Feed over 2,000 Residents in East Baltimore

 leadership huddled as soon as the corona virus started appearing in our state. We committ to pivoting to doing everything we could to save lives while building a stronger Baltimore through this pandemic. After weeks of initial listening, BUILD leaders from Zion Baptist, Koinonia Baptist, Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, ReBUILD Johnston Square, ReBUILD Metro, and Turn Around Tuesday kicked off phase one of BUILD's public health initiative. 

On April 29th, 21 drivers were dispatched across East Baltimore delivering essential fresh food to the doorsteps of 550 families. Through donations, our drivers, many of whom have lost employment in the last several weeks, received a living hourly wage and have essential PPE while they work. In partnership with John Hopkins and City Seeds (Humanium), this food delivery will operate for the next 4 months. 

This is more than food. This strategy helps households with senior citizens and the immunocompromised shelter-in-place and reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19, eliminating the need to stand in long cues at crowded and overstretched food distribution sites. With food in your cupboards, you have more ability to financially survive, putting your income towards other crucial needs.

This is also about dignity.  As the drivers left to make their deliveries, Father Bruce Lewandowski at Sacred Heart of Jesus shared, “I remember the photos during the Great Depression of bread lines and I remember the stories my grandparents would tell me about the humiliation they felt having to wait there to feed their family. This strategy helps folks hold their heads up a little higher, even when in need.”

We build power through relationships.  At a time when people feel cut-off and isolated, when we deliver food door to door, people see a friendly and familiar face. From a safe distance, they are called by their name and asked if they're okay. We are rekindling and reinforcing church and community ties that weeks of social distancing threaten to erode. Congregations are meeting new people and deepening relationships in the communities' greatest time of need. It shows that institutions are not simply houses of worship, but a place of transformation, even when our doors are closed.

This is the first outbreak in this global pandemic, not the last. If we continue to grow our relationships, strengthen our institutions, and expand our power, we will not only help people weather this crisis, but create a new Baltimore in the recovery. BUILD will be ready.

Greater Cleveland Congregations Continues Progress on Criminal Justice Reform

In April GCC received its first significant financial commitment from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley to fund professional consultants to begin the planning stages for creating two new Mental Health Crisis Centers in Cleveland. In other cities, these centers have proven highly effective at diverting large numbers of citizens suffering from mental health and addiction away from the criminal justice system and into treatment and support, as well as saving municipalities millions of tax dollars.

Metro IAF Victories Update 2015

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(22 Organizations in MA, CT, NY, NJ, MD, DC, VA, NC, OH, IL, WI)


Greater Cleveland Congregations Demand Police Accountability and Juvenile Justice Reform
  •  GCC WORKS WITH US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO HOLD CLEVELAND POLICE ACCOUNTABLE: Following an investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which found major foundational flaws in the Cleveland Department of Police, Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) worked to shape the consent decree, a legally binding agreement to incorporate changes into the city’s police department. In January, GCC held teach-ins to educate its leaders on the findings of the DOJ investigation, and then researched best practices found in other cities’ consent decrees. In February with over 1,000 people, GCC presented its recommendations for the consent decree to Cleveland Mayor Frank G Jackson, US Attorney Steve Dettelbach, and a representative from the US Department of Justice. Recommendations included: Constitutional Policing, Internal Accountability, Community Engagement, and Financial Sustainability. The day after the Consent Decree was finalized (which included most of GCC’s recommendations), over 600 GCC clergy and leaders marched to the Justice Center and City Hall, chanting “We Can’t Wait,” in a call for a long-term, comprehensive plan to transform the criminal justice system in Cuyahoga County. Click for Press.                  


 BUILD Leaders March to Baltimore’s Police Headquarters to Challenge the Police Commissioner to Meet with Sandtown-Winchester Residents
  • BUILD: BALTIMORE’S UNREST: ORGANIZING FOR CHANGE BY LISTENING & RELATING TO HUNDREDS OF NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENTS.  During the unrest in Baltimore, everyone was talking and no one was listening to the very residents most affected. BUILD acted immediately and launched a campaign to listen to hundreds of residents on their stoops, street corners, and sanctuaries. Overwhelmingly, they shared that throughout the unrest they had not been heard. Using the pressure of 150 people in a City Council meeting, followed by an action in front of a roped off City Police Headquarters, BUILD demanded meetings with Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and then-Police Commissioner Anthony Batts to meet with residents and listen. They met within two weeks. Through listening, residents began to shape BUILD’s long-term response to Baltimore’s unrest and violence.  Read Baltimore Sun Story.


BUILD Leaders Demand Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Fire Baltimore’s Police Chief; Pledges to Work with New Commissioner to Establish Relationships with Neighborhood Residents and Make City Safe
  • BUILD & RESIDENTS DEMAND MAYOR ACT TO RESTORE SAFETY IN BALTIMORE NEIGHBORHOODS: Following the uprising, BUILD worked with and demanded the Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts develop an emergency public plan to address the surge in violence (42% increase in murders, shootings almost doubled).  Commissioner Batts did not have a plan and he lost the confidence of his officers. BUILD was the first major organization to call for his resignation, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Commissioner Batts. BUILD is now working with the interim police commissioner, re-introducing police to neighbors to build trust, calling for foot patrols and other law enforcement resources to stop the violence in Baltimore.  See Baltimore Sun Article and ABC2 News Story.  
  •  CONECT CHALLENGES BRIDGEPORT, CT MAYOR TO IMPROVE POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS.  Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut (CONECT) packed Bethel AME Church in Bridgeport with 300 leaders to engage Mayor Finch and Police Chief Gaudett in a public dialogue about the state of the Police Department and police-community relations in Bridgeport, where just a week beforehand 9 people were shot and one killed in a late night shooting spree at a public housing development and where the Police Department is understaffed by 70 officers.  Leaders shared stories and pressed for answers about recruitment, staffing, training, department culture, and walking beats.  
  • LAKE COUNTY UNITED RESEARCHES LINK BETWEEN MENTAL ILLNESS AND INCARCERATION: Lake County United (LCU) conducted over 56 research actions around the issue of mental health with sheriffs, probation and parole departments, judges, police chiefs, states attorneys, mental health service providers, and hospital staff across Lake County in suburban Chicago. The current focus is to reduce the flow of people with mental illness from the criminal justice system and increase the stock of affordable supportive housing in Lake County. In April, LCU met with all the chiefs of police for Lake County to present the need and urgency for more Critical Intervention Training - the proven and primary way police are prepared for de-escalation tactics in dealing with a person with mental illness.  


400 Build Leaders Listen as Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels Commits to Hiring thousands of unemployed Baltimoreans
  • BUILD SECURES JOBS PARTNERSHIP WITH JOHNS HOPKINS: On June 22, 400 BUILD leaders and members filled St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Sandtown-Winchester, to address the systemic issues underlying the unrest in Baltimore by launching the BUILD One Baltimore Campaign – Making Two Cities One. President Ron Daniels of Johns Hopkins University committed to developing a large-scale employment strategy with BUILD to hire returning citizens and residents living in distressed neighborhoods.  BUILD’s jobs movement, Turnaround Tuesday, serves primarily ex-offenders with job readiness training and connections to employment. Read Baltimore Sun and Business Journal articles.
 DC Mayor Muriel Bowser Declares before 900 WIN Leaders that DC Water Will Deliver DC Jobs for DC Residents
  • WIN DELIVERS JOBS AGREEMENT; NATIONAL MODEL FOR EPA WASTE WATER CLEAN-UPS: Washington Interfaith Network won a Memorandum of Agreement between DC Water, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to invest $90 million for Green Infrastructure and local hiring of DC residents on its massive $2 billion EPA-mandated storm water clean up project.  Using a mix of green and gray infrastructure will create 190+ additional jobs.  The 51% local DC residents hire agreement affects thousands of jobs annually on all DC Water work--both green, gray and regular maintenance jobs.  WIN is working with the Laborers Union to create a national model green infrastructure worker certification program and a centralized worker certification and hiring center, creating opportunities for organizing, wages and benefits, and contractor monitoring. 
  • VICTORY OF REGIONAL AND NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE: DC Water is one of the earliest and most advanced EPA mandated storm water consent decrees.  A strong labor- citizen alliance is organizing and winning to make sure that new work is created, the new jobs are living wage jobs, and to make sure the poorest communities in DC, including returning citizens, unlock the opportunities in this emerging industry.  If WIN is successful in organizing the DC Water green infrastructure work- it has a path to organizing both the public utility and the private industry green infrastructure work in the region.  As one of the first EPA consent decrees with a jobs mandate, DC Mayor Bowser and DC Water GM Hawkinsare  strongly promoting the jobs agreement as a national model; the DC work – if we continue to organize and win- will have national impact on this new industry.   
Path Co-Chair Rev. Paige Getty, County Executive Allan Kittleman, and State Senator Guy Guzzone water the rain garden at Beth Shalom Congregation with Crew Members from the READY Program.
  •  PATH LEADS ON ENVIRONMENTAL JOBS FOR YOUTH TO CLEAN UP CHESAPEAKE BAY: People Acting Together In Howard (PATH) won over $500,000 to fund and to expand the Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth (READY) program to hire for 45 full-time summer positions and a year-round crew of six young adults. This remediation is mandated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address pollution to the Chesapeake Bay.  Over the last three years, PATH through READY has secured over $2 Million in storm water infrastructure funding to create 166 full-time summer job positions for young adults and to address over 30 acres of storm-water runoff.  PATH's ongoing actions and accountability to create the READY youth conservation corps is giving students job experience and helping to train a new generation of environmental leaders.   
  •  Orange County (NC) Justice United Celebrated the Opening of the Center for Employment and Leadership, a new workers’ center for day laborers in Carrboro, NC who previously sought employment on a street corner at the edge of town.  The opening marked the conclusion of Justice United's Fair Jobs and Wages Campaign, which won the funding and political will from the Town of Carrboro to assist (JU member institution) El Centro Hispano in building and staffing the center. Along with providing a safe and dignified space to seek work, the Center will also serve as an important base for laborers to organize against rampant wage theft in the area. In May,147 day laborers sought jobs at the Center, a number that is anticipated to increase as domestic workers also begin to use the facility. Read Chapel Hill-Carrboro News article.


  • Common Ground Demands Hedge Fund-Milwaukee Bucks Owner Fix Foreclosed Properties.   In January, over 100 Common Ground leaders, students, and neighbors braved the cold and held a press conference in front of a crumbling duplex on North 44th St. No one is paying taxes on the vacant building, and it has 23 code violations. It is only one of 300 foreclosed properties controlled by Nationstar Mortgage.  Wesley Edens owns the majority of the stock and is Chairman of the Board of Nationstar Mortgage Company. According to a plan Wisconsin Governor Walker announced, Edens will receive $220 million in Wisconsin taxpayer dollars to help him build an arena for another of his properties, the Milwaukee Bucks.  During the spring and summer, Common Ground fought hard to prevent a taxpayer subsidy for a new arena without a significant investment in neighborhoods. Common Ground leaders supported by IAF-sister organization Dallas Area Interfaith, went to the Nationstar Annual Shareholders Meeting to demand Edens meet with Common Ground to talk about his crumbling properties and how they are undermining the city of Milwaukee.  As a result, Nationstar CEO Jay Bray agreed to meet with Common Ground leaders to address the blighted properties.  
Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) leaders break ground on 140-unit tenant led affordable housing project in the Brightwood neighborhood with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
  • WIN Helps Secure $150 Million for Affordable Housing in DC, including $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund; $40 million for the building of more humane, smaller family shelters in DC to close the dilapidated DC General shelter and a 35% increase in funding for homeless services--all in the FY 2016 budget. WIN also started construction on new affordable housing: 140-unit Brightwood tenant purchase and renovation and Eastbrooke Apartments, 39 affordable family rental units.  Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) also celebrated groundbreaking on North Capitol Commons, 124 units of affordable housing with 60 units of Permanent Supportive Housing for formerly homeless veterans where WIN organized to deliver the land and crucial subsidies for the project.
150 VOICE in Northern Virginia leaders and Senator Mark Warner listen as Georgetown South homeowners tell about the resurrection of their community after the foreclosure crisis.
  • VOICE in Northern Virginia Celebrates Major Victories in VA Bank and Foreclosure Accountability Campaign: On May 31, 2015, 150 VOICE in N. VA leaders gathered with Senator Mark Warner and other officials to 1) celebrate 3 years of VOICE’s organizing that secured 1,000+ loan modifications, $250+ million in principal reduction, and $1 million for housing counseling, that helped many Prince William families stay in their homes in response to the predatory loan and resulting foreclosure crisis; 2) announce securing $3.5 million for the Metro IAF/VOICE Equity Restoration Fund ($1.5 million from Bank of America; $1 million from JP Morgan; and $1 million from GE), which will help leverage $7-$10 million from religious and other social investors for the Fund that will finance 100-150 homeownership and 1,000 affordable rental housing units over the next 15 years for Prince William & NOVA families; and 3) bless a renovated Georgetown South house that was once abandoned due to foreclosure. Prince William County had 27,000 foreclosures, the most in Virginia.
Hundreds of NYC Public Housing residents and Metro IAF Leaders challenge DeBlasio administration officials to repair their mold-infested apartments.

Metro IAF NY Leaders Demand Mayor DeBlasio Fire NYC Public Housing Director & Comply with Metro IAF won Federal Court Order to Fix Thousands of Housing Code Violations
  • METRO IAF NY FIGHTS NYC MAYOR DEBLASIO FOR REPAIRS IN PUBLIC HOUSING: Last year, East Brooklyn Congregations (ECB), Manhattan Together (MT), South Bronx Churches (SBC) won a court mandated clean-up of thousands of mold ridden NY public housing apartments. Because NYCHA, the public housing authority, has failed to deal with mold, and many other problems in public housing, hundreds of MT, EBC, and SBC leaders took part in two actions, to demand action by the DeBlasio administration. In March, Metro IAF NY and hundreds of tenants demanded the NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye commit to making hundreds of necessary repairs in public housing apartments throughout the City. (See press) The needed repairs didn’t happen so, on June 25th, 250+ Metro IAF NYC leaders gathered on the steps of City Hall to call on the Chairwoman to step down and Mayor DeBlasio to step up and take real leadership. (New York Daily News Article)  
  • AIM wins $44 million for Affordable housing in Montgomery County, MD: Action In Montgomery (AIM) and partners in the Montgomery Housing Alliance protected funding for affordable housing in the county's budget, winning $44 million for housing amid widespread budget reductions in other areas of the county.  This housing allocation will produce and preserve over 600 housing units for the county's most vulnerable residents in the next year.  Since organizing 10 years ago to win the first dedicated fund in Metro DC, AIM has secured $494 million for the Affordable Housing Initiatives Fund, producing/preserving 7,265 affordable housing units.
  • EBC Nehemiah Homeowners Launch Organizing Drive: On June 29, East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) organized 500 homeowners for an assembly to re-found the Nehemiah Homeowners Association. EBC’s reorganizing campaign included dozens of housing meetings and nearly 30 block inspections. Homeowners committed to focus on organizing money through paying their dues, and won commitments from city agencies to make important improvements to their neighborhoods, including removing overgrown trees, repairing cracked sidewalks, fixing bad lighting, and requiring police to relate to residents through face-to-face meetings.  Over the last 30 years, EBC has built more than 3,500 Nehemiah homes for first time owners, transforming once blighted East New York into a vibrant community.  
  • METRO IAF CHICAGO WINS SUPPORTIVE HOUSING & IMPROVEMENTS FOR TENANTS: In July, with pressure from Lake County United, the Mundelein Village Council voted to support the construction of a 40 unit affordable and supportive housing development, including 12 apartments that will be devoted to people with physical and mental disabilities.  Construction will begin in mid August.  On May 17th, 20 DuPage United leaders from mosques, churches and synagogues walked door to door in Willowbrook, IL at an isolated apartment complex of over 1500 residents in Chicago’s western suburbs and met their neighbors living in low-income housing. DuPage United leaders knocked on over 330 doors, had over 120 conversations and identified key concerns such as access to healthy food, transportation and strained relationships with local police. After building a strong relationship with a property owner supportive of resident concerns, Villagebrook Apartment resident leaders successfully documented the discriminatory practices of the apartment manager which resulted in her termination and a establishment of new “house rules,” and new parking arrangements that prevented residents from having family and friends over or supporting loved ones in a crisis, regular meetings with the new property manager and the established parent council.


BUILD leaders and Baltimore Parents & Youth Demand Increase in After-School Funding
  • BUILD Forces Baltimore Mayor to Keep Her Promise; Wins $4.2 million for After-School: After 5 years of organizing, BUILD, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development and Child First won doubling after-school funding in Baltimore to increase youth opportunities. In the aftermath of the unrest in Baltimore, Child First and BUILD met numerous times with 10 City Council representatives to galvanize support. City Council Representatives committed to 150 Child First parents and children they would make increasing after school a top priority in budget negotiations and call for the Mayor to keep her commitment. On May 22nd, Child First turned out over thousand parents and students to hold the City Council accountable, and on June 8, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake increased after school funding by $4.2 million. Read Baltimore Sun Stories: June 7th & May 11th.  
Metro IAF NY & New York Daily News Partnered on 900-person Action with NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña
  • MANHATTAN TOGETHER (MT) & SOUTH BRONX CHURCHES (SBC) ORGANIZES 900 PARENTS TO MEET WITH NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR.  In May, over 900 Metro IAF leaders pushed New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to commit to a plan to resolve challenges students with special education and mental health needs face getting the necessary diagnosis, and receiving needed services.  At two large Education Actions that Metro IAF organized, in partnership with the New York Daily News, the NYC Schools Chancellor committed to take action—See NY Daily News. After 1,200 face-to-face meetings by MT and SBC leaders and staff, a team of educators, family members and other concerned community leaders came together to make improvements on important educational issues in New York City. This team is now organizing to hold the Chancellor accountable to the commitments she made to improve the quality of education throughout the City when the new school year starts.   
  • CONECT WINS BETTER TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN IN CONNECTICUT: Alarmed by studies documenting the use of restraint and seclusion more than 30,000 times in CT schools, disproportionately with autistic and minority children, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut’s (CONECT) Education Team began investigating and taking action on this issue.  Working with the state's Child Advocate, CONECT leaders pushed for Senate Bill 927, which limits the use of these tactics, requires training of teachers and administrators, and mandates parental notification within 24 hours.  The bill passed in late May and was signed into law by Gov. Malloy on June 23rd.   
150 Parent and Community Leaders Celebrate Pilot After-School Program in Montgomery County, MD Schools
  • AIM LAUNCHES PARENT ORGANIZING AND AFTER-SCHOOL STRATEGY IN SUBURBAN MARYLAND: Action in Montgomery is quickly becoming a leader in organizing public schools in the suburbs.  This Spring, AIM won funding to help kick-start Child First Montgomery, an innovative after-school and parent organizing initiative modeled off of the highly-successful Child First Authority created by BUILD, AIM's sister organization in Baltimore.  AIM conducted a week-long pilot after-school program for 215 students at two large elementary schools in Montgomery County and turned out 450 parents and educators at the end-of-program action in May.   
Rev. Dr. Keith Savage, VOICE Leader, addresses Prince William County, VA School Board before inviting 100 VOICE Leaders to stand in solidarity to expand Pre-K.
  •  VOICE PUSHES PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA TO EXPAND PRE-K FOR LOW INCOME CHILDREN.  VOICE in N. VA organized parent and community leaders to push the Prince William County Board of Education to approve unanimously accepting a $10 million Federal grant to expand Pre-K to an additional 600 low-income children, an action that the Board was going to reject before VOICE’s organizing.  Prior to VOICE’s organizing, the School Board was going to refuse to accept this grant. Now, the Pre-K expansion of 8 new preschool classrooms in the fall of 2015 will serve an additional 144 low-income children per year for a total of 576 additional children over the next four years.  


  • METRO IAF & WESTCHESTER UNITED HOST NATION’S FIRST SMART GUN SHOW.  In May, Westchester United hosted, along with the Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign, the nation's first ever "Smart Gun - Gun Show" in New Rochelle, NY.  Present at this event were 80 Metro IAF leaders from five states, nine police departments from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and five different gun safety entrepreneurs with designs for various prototypes of personalized guns (aka smart guns) that would potentially halve the number of gun deaths in America.
  • WHAT IS METRO IAF’S DO NOT STAND IDLY BY CAMPAIGN?  Do Not Stand Idly By (DNSIB), Metro IAF’s campaign to persuade gun manufacturers to make and distribute guns more safely and responsibly, takes a unique approach:  we seek to build an “NRA for the public sector” – an organized group of public-sector gun buyers who can use market power to leverage change.  We are gathering steam: In May, at the New Rochelle (NY) Police Department, DNSIB held the world’s first smart gun show.  Leaders and officers from nine police departments in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey attended, and were able to see and shoot smart guns and smart locks from five leading companies in the field. More gun buyers – and officials who shape public gun purchasing decisions – are signing on.  In April, more than 350 religious leaders wrote to the President asking him to honor the promise he made in Newtown to use “whatever power this office holds” to reduce gun violence.  Metro IAF held several meetings with White House staff during this period.  The end result:  “You are on our radar.”  Action from President Obama and his administration in this area will be a top priority in the months ahead. Metro IAF published an NY Times Op-Ed this summer.  See DNSIB press coverage: NY Times, Daily News, The Guardian, The Trace, and the Brian Lehrer TV show.


1,600 Greater Boston Leaders Celebrate Unveiling of  New Action Agenda to MA Officials
  • GBIO SECURES COMMITMENTS ON GUN VIOLENCE & SENTENCING REFORM FROM TOP MA LEADERS:  1,650 Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) delegates, as well as many powerful public leaders, attended GBIO’s May 12, 2015 Rededication Assembly & Action., with the following results:  The Governor committed (1) to take seriously implementation of  the GBIO-fought-for gun violence prevention law, including  linking the Massachusetts and federal background check databases and (2) to participate in Metro IAF-sponsored “safe gun” fairs.  The MA Speaker committed to making criminal justice reform a priority in this session of the legislature (bail reform, eliminating mandatory sentences for drug offenses, & eliminating barriers to former offenders obtaining drivers’ licenses). Read Boston Globe Story.


Sandy & Arlene Block, CONECT leaders from Temple Israel in Westport, CT, testify before a rate hearing on Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield's 2015 rates.  Anthem's rates were reduced by $66 million in the ruling subsequent to the hearing.
  • CONECT WINS PUBLIC RATE REVIEWS ON HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS: After winning a $66 million savings for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield customers due to a public rate hearing, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticuts (CONECT) Healthcare Team pushed for legislation making public rate review hearings a permanent part of the process.  After the bill passed out of the Insurance Committee with strong bipartisan support, the new Insurance Commissioner agreed to an updated agreement with the state's Healthcare Advocate, allowing public hearings on rate increase requests of 10% or greater -- an improvement over the previous agreement CONECT helped forge which had a threshold of 15%.  The first hearings under the new agreement are scheduled for late summer.  

PATH leaders helped pass a bill that ensures healthy options are offered in all vending machines on county property. Above, PATH leaders thank the County Council for their support in overriding the County Executive's veto to that bill.

  • PATH WINS HEALTHY FOOD IN SCHOOLS. People Acting Together in Howard (PATH) has fought for and won substantial changes to the Howard County, MD Schools' Wellness Policy, moving it from being ranked in the bottom third in the nation to Number 3 in the U.S. overall! This policy provides universal breakfast, more recess and active time for students, and requires food served in schools to be healthy. It has a particularly large impact on the low-income students who receive free and reduced meals, and will help protect against the epidemic of chronic illnesses including diabetes and high blood pressure that the youngest generation is facing. This youngest generation is the first to have a shorter projected life expectancy than their parents, because of these illnesses.



VOICE holds house meetings before DAPA information session at Holy Family RC in Dale City, VA to listen to immigrants about their concerns.
  • VOICE HOLDS DAPA TRAININGS FOR 200 N. VIRGINIA IMMIGRANTS.  President Obama took Executive Action in November 2014 by announcing Administrative Relief, otherwise known as DAPA/DACA that would provide legal status to an estimated 4 million undocumented immigrants. Since people were confused and unsure about the court injunction that blocked implementation of the new program, VOICE leaders knew it was the time to act. People would be vulnerable to fraud, but they would also be vulnerable to being anonymous. By connecting with our institutions, immigrants are not alone. VOICE in N. Virginia organized two Immigration Information Sessions in Dale City and Reston, VA attended by 200+ undocumented immigrants eager to apply for Deferred Action status under President Obama’s Administrative Relief. Prior to the information sessions, VOICE trained over 25 bilingual leaders, who conducted 20 house meetings before information was presented at the two events.  
  • DURHAM CAN SECURES WELCOME FOR NEW IMMIGRANT YOUTH IN DURHAM, NC: Earlier in the year Durham Congregations and Neighborhoods (Durham CAN) demanded and won the passage, by the City Council and the School Board, of resolutions supporting and welcoming hundreds of undocumented and unaccompanied minors to Durham, NC.  See News & Observer Article


  • EBC DEMANDS NYC PARK COMMISSIONER RENOVATE PARKS FASTER: In 2014, East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) won nearly $5 million to renovate two playgrounds in Bushwick, but construction was slated to take far longer than leaders wanted. On March 22, 2015 over 600 EBC leaders gathered for an assembly at Saint Barbara's Roman Catholic Church in Bushwick. We called upon the Parks Commissioner to reform the process for making capital improvements to parks, and recognized New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for signing on to our Don't Stand Idly By campaign. In response the Parks Commissioner pledged to have the projects completed within two and a half years, and broke ground the very next week. See New York Times Article.
  •  UNITED POWER PUBLISHES OP-ED CHALLENGING CHICAGO MAYORAL CANDIDATES:  United Power for Action and Justice (United Power) published an op-ed in The Chicago Tribune ahead of the Mayoral run-off election, outlining 4 Big Ideas to address Chicago’s future.  The op-ed laid out United Power’s four-point agenda on housing, jobs, gun violence, and criminal justice and was distributed throughout its member congregations leading up to the election.  See Chicago Tribune Op-Ed.    
  • 900 WIN LEADERS INAUGURATE NEW DC MAYOR; DEMAND ACTION ON LIVING WAGES AND JOBS: Washington interfaith Network held a 900+ person City-Wide Inaugural Action with new DC Mayor Muriel Bowser during her first week in office. Mayor Bowser committed to allocate $100 million to affordable housing in her first budget, require DC Water and other agencies train and hire hard to employ DC residents, address working conditions and wage issues in DC Metro’s Para Transit service, as well as take action on constituent services issues identified by WIN in Ward 7 (i.e. removing abandoned cars, repaving roads, etc.) and in other DC neighborhoods.  
  • NJ TOGETHER MOVES CLOSER TO LAUNCH OF JERSEY CITY ORGANIZATION: In Jersey City, where a sponsoring committee of more than 30 congregations has been hard at work, more than 200 leaders have participated in trainings in 2015. Over two months, these leaders conducted a listening campaign that engaged 2,900+ people about what they most want to change as well as their vision for the future of Jersey City.  NJ Together projects a Spring 2016 launch for the new organization in Jersey City.  
  • DURHAM CAN GOES PUBLIC WITH NEW ACTION AGENDA: Durham Congregations and Neighborhoods (Durham CAN) held a June Public Action, with 500 Durham CAN leaders and announced a new collective agenda for social change rooted in a listening session campaign that involved input from more than 1,500 Durham residents and celebrated victory on living wage agreements for thousands of transit related jobs and advanced further commitments from City authorities on a job training program, which will connect Durham residents with those jobs.  At the Action, Durham CAN had major tension with the Durham Police Chief, who refused to make a public commitment to adopt further police accountability reforms to enhance nationally recognized limits Durham CAN helped win in 2014 to curb police profiling.  See Press: ABC11; WRAL;  News & Observer.
  •  ORANGE COUNTY JUSTICE UNITED (NC) CELEBRATES VICTORIES IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING, TENANT ORGANIZING, AND JOBS: Over 160 community leaders from northern and southern Orange County attended the Justice United Assembly on March 1 to preserve, build, and strengthen affordable communities.  They celebrated: tenant rights campaigns that resolved health, safety, and management issues in two low income housing developments, Gateway Village (Hillsborough) and the Landings (Carrboro); the opening of a Workers Center in Carrboro for day laborers, and the winning of $689,000 in local funding (annually) for preserving and developing affordable housing in Chapel Hill.


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Westchester United launches in NY State.

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.

Greater Cleveland Congregations goes public!

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

Metro IAF leadership training in Connecticut

Monday, February 10, 2020
Metro IAF

Over 120 leaders from across Metro IAF- Northeast participated in an intensive 3-day leadership training and retreat. Leaders from GBIO, CONECT, NJ Together, LI CAN, SBC, MT, Queens Power & EBC had candid conversations about what it means to build and wield power; how to identify and train teams of leaders; and how to run an effective action.

During the debrief, we committed to bring new leaders to another 3-day training in Spring 2020, which is currently being planned.

Writing for IAF Leaders and Organizers 2.0

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Metro IAF

Writing is to organizing as preaching is to religion: We have to do it well if we hope to build the organization/congregation.
That was the theme of the second “Writing for IAF Organizers and Leaders” workshop held over Indigenous People’s Day weekend in Chicago from October 13-15, 2019. The workshop was organized and led by Greg Pierce, the Metro IAF organizer in Illinois, and participants include 7 organizers and 5 leaders from Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Illinois.
The question asked at the end of the intensive 48 hours was: “Are you convinced that writing well would increase your personal and organizational power?”
All the participants agreed that it would. The issue was how they would find the time and develop the discipline to write
“First you have to write a good opening sentence” was the first lesson. In the initial introductions, participants were asked to pick from a list of great opening sentences in a book of essays, The Best American Non-Required Reading. Half the group chose this sentence from “How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: A Remembrance,” an excerpt from Kiese Laymon’s book Cold Drunk: “I’ve had guns pulled on me by four people under Central Mississippi skies—once by a white undercover cop, once by a young brother trying to rob me for the leftovers of a weak work-study check, once by my mother and twice by myself.” This led, by popular demand, to a reading of the entire essay, done with great passion and eloquence by organizer Terrell Williams Lead Organizer of Turnaround Tuesday.
The other highlight of the workshop was a storytelling session, done over refreshments on Monday night, where each participant told one or more stories to the rest of the group, stories that all agreed needed to be written and shared with a larger audience.
A lot of workshop time was spent on the “how” of writing: how to find time and discipline, how to edit multiple drafts, how to develop a personal or organizational style sheet, how to write with multiple authors in an organization, how to get the work published (even if we have to publish it ourselves), how to get people to read it, and how it could build our organizations.
The evaluation of the three-day event was that the IAF needs to make good writing part of its organizational toolbox. A third workshop is tentatively scheduled for the same weekend in October 2020, at a site yet to be determined. Shorter versions of the workshop were also recommended that might be offered to individual IAF organizations or clusters of IAF affiliates or in conjunction with other training. For further information, contact Greg Pierce at or on his cell at 773-590-3801.

BUILD Unites 50 Citizens in Oliver Neighborhood Cleanup

Thursday, June 27, 2019

On April 27th, 2019, over 50 people from three BUILD member institutions—Knox Presbyterian Church, ReBUILD Metro, and the Oliver Action Team—gathered at the Dawson Family Memorial Garden in Oliver to clean key spaces in the neighborhood and share future hopes for local green spaces.
The garden, located at Preston St and Eden St at the south end of Oliver, honors the seven members of the Dawson family who were tragically killed when their home was firebombed in 2002. One Oliver resident and BUILD leader, Celena Owens, kicked off the action with a few words about her relationship with her neighborhood and her memory of the Dawson murders: “I knew that this happened somewhere in East Baltimore, but I didn’t know it was the neighborhood that I would later move to.” 
After their moment of somber reflection and remembrance, the cleanup crew sprang into action, beautifying select spots around the garden, on Biddle Street, and along the Gay Street Corridor. The day was full of hard work and connection (and fun) among the residents of Oliver—a display of the community building and neighborhood dedication that BUILD is facilitating all over Baltimore.

A Tribute Metro IAF's Pat Oettinger by IAF Co-Director Mike Gecan

Friday, May 10, 2019
Metro IAF
 Pat with Ryan Elfeld
Pat Oettinger is retiring after more than 40 years of exemplary service as a parish leader, QCO president, and Metro IAF administrator.  There's not better way to describe Pat's start with the IAF and organizing than to read this vignette from Greg Pierce who, like Pat, has figured out how to play various critical roles and make a series of remarkable contributions to our network over that same period:
"Pat Oettinger was the parish secretary of Resurrection Ascension Catholic Church in Rego Park, New York City, when I arrived as the lead organizer of the Queens Citizens Organization (QCO) in the late 1970s. I remember she was instinctively conservative and skeptical about the entire organizing effort, but I knew if she ever bought in to organizing she would bring her entire parish and, indeed, the rest of Queens behind here. Soon she was president of the organization!
"One time, when Mario Cuomo was still Lieutenant Governor of New York State, he promised to set up a meeting for QCO with the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the monolithic and unaccountable government institution set up by Robert Moses to do his public projects. But Cuomo had failed to do so and time was running out. Pat and some of the other QCO leaders wrote a one-page "accountability report" announcing that Cuomo had failed to do what he had promised. We sent it to Cuomo and told the future Governor we would distribute 50,000 copies of the report through all our member institutions the following weekend. Instead, Cuomo showed up at the Resurrection Ascension rectory (where Pat was working) that Friday, to prove to her that he had done what he had promised. The "accountability report" was never distributed.
"Pat and I and the QCO leaders all learned an important lesson in power that day. The question we asked ourselves before our subsequent actions was always the same: Where's the tension? If there wasn't any, we added it, and Pat Oettinger was often the one that made sure it happened."
I first met Pat a few years later, in 1980, when I arrived to start as the first lead organizer of East Brooklyn Congregations. I was always struck by her no-nonsense approach to politics and to life in general, her ability to absorb all the ups and downs of our work in Queens and in New York City as a whole, and her wry sense of humor.
When we began Metro IAF, approximately 25 years ago, Pat became the administrative person that I, my organizer colleagues, and our Metro IAF board relied on.  She lived the old Alinsky precept of "low overhead and high production" over all those years -- including years when it was very uncertain that we would emerge with more than a few dollars in the bank.  Whenever the situation got tight, Pat would send me a little email inquiring about when the next check would be arriving.  Pat understood how to nudge when necessary and to relax when not.  As her co-worker over so many years, I place her in the pantheon of extraordinary administrative organizers -- with Lucille Clark, who retired from EBC and Patty Morales, current senior administrator for IAF Southwest -- who enabled the rest of us to do our organizing work knowing that we could count on unquestioned and unfailing support, professionalism, and foresight. 
Oettinger Grandchildren Billy , Kirsten and Chris
Photos above in story - 
Top: Pat with Ryan Elfeld
Middle: Pat with her favorite past-time, great-grandson Will

A Spotlight on Rufaro Jenkins, Leader with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Rufaro Jenkins is a native Washingtonian with a passion for her community.
Ms. Jenkins found WIN in 2008 when she learned that the city would be closing her apartment complex, Parkway Overlook, and that all 266 families would have to move out.  A friend told her, “if there would be any organization that would fight for the right to return and affordability with us, it would be WIN”.
Jenkins became deeply involved in the campaign and at her first action she witnessed her neighbors and other DC residents standing up and demanding action. This experience made her feel, “like we had a voice in the city,” and pushed her to fight harder.
Again, she saw the power of collective action when, while struggling to get a meeting with Council Member Barry, a team of WIN leaders showed up to a meeting at Bearny Elementary school on MLK Ave in Southeast DC, all wearing blue WIN t-shirts, and demanded that Barry meet with WIN. Then Council Member Barry finally agreed to sit down with the group, leaving Ms. Jenkins in awe of how powerful every DC resident could be, by coming together consistently and persistently in pursuit of justice.
Over the years, Ms. Jenkins has led and spoken at multiple WIN actions, helped lead a tour of the property with a former Mayor, held a community vigil, led voter efforts, and organized countless tenant meetings to keep the redevelopment of Parkway Overlook a central issue in the city.
After nearly 10 years of involvement with WIN, Ms. Jenkins reflects on what keeps her coming back:
“The work is not about any one person, or one issue. All the struggles and the concerns of this city are the concerns of WIN. WIN helps residents come together from all eight wards to make a difference and to be the liaisons between residents and public officials so that they can work together and truly ensure that no one is left behind or pushed aside.”
By day, Ms. Jenkins works for the federal government. However, her work doesn’t stop there. Ms. Jenkins is still the President of the Parkway Overlook East and West Tenant Association, Founder and CEO of Heavenly Flava, a board member for Brighter Day Enrichment Academy and Manpower DC, and a co-founding member of New Life Ministries.

In Anne Arundel County, 1,100+ Leaders Unite, Pledge to Make The County a Better Place

Monday, November 19, 2018
Anne Arundel Connecting Together

Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT) Leaders at inaugural action
After two years of listening to communities, congregations and individuals, including 2,800 one-on-one conversations, over 1,100 leaders from Anne Arundel County packed First Christian Community Church for an inaugural action to commit to working together to make Anne Arundel a better place for everyone to live. Six broad issues were identified as priorities for the newest IAF organization, Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT):
1. Affordable Housing
2. Safe and Effective Schools
3. Efficient and useful Public Transportation
4. Freedom from Addiction and Mental Health Challenges
5. Just and Fair Immigration Policies
6. Gun Violence Reduction and Safety in our Communities
ACT asked candidates for county council, state’s attorney and county executive in attendance if they would pledge to work with and meet regularly with ACT, and all but one agreed.

IAF Statement on Tragedy in Pittsburgh

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Industrial Areas Foundation

Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT) united, in search of solutions, going beyond the politics of division.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Anne Arundel Connecting Together

Photo Credit Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group

As the multi-congregational choir raised the roof, over 1,100 people from Anne Arundel county overflowed into First Christian Community Church and into a tent set up outside.  They committed to ACT and to work together to make Anne Arundel County a better place for everyone to live.

After more than two years of listening to communities, congregations and individuals, including 2,800 “one-on-one” conversations, six broad issues were identified:

  1. Affordable Housing
  2. Safe and Effective Schools
  3. Efficient and useful Public Transportation
  4. Freedom from Addiction and Mental Health Challenges
  5. Just and Fair Immigration Policies
  6. Gun Violence Reduction and Safety in our Communities

During the action, candidates for county council, state’s attorney and county executive were asked if they would pledge to work with and meet regularly with ACT.


Photo Gallery:


1,200 Leaders Turn Out for Common Ground’s 10th Anniversary Action in Milwaukee

Monday, May 21, 2018
Common Ground

Common Ground leaders celebrate 10 years of action in Milwaukee, WI
On April 29, 2018, at the Italian Community Center, Common Ground celebrated the 10th anniversary of its founding, with dancing, music, cheering, inspiring speeches, and a new campaign.  Oh, how we celebrated, with more than 1200 members mirroring the makeup of the larger southeastern Wisconsin communities in which we live and sharing the same passion for making our home a better place for all.  

We gathered together to recognize our successes, renew our dedication to complete the work we have undertaken, and vote on beginning a new campaign on jobs and work.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and District Attorney John Chisholm recognized Common Ground’s tenacity and positive contributions to Milwaukee. Milwaukee Rising, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, Fair Play, Milwaukee Neighborhoods Now, United Parents Café, Southside Caucus, Watershed, and Do Not Stand Idly By have either become a part of the Milwaukee area lexicon (at least among the powerful) or are well on their way, a seeming impossibility a decade ago.
TENacity, Common Ground’s name for the celebration, provided impetus for its next campaign:  

efforts to expand access to living wage jobs in the Milwaukee area.  Common Ground will partner with local businesses and job training programs to expand access to living wage work in Milwaukee, especially for formerly incarcerated and chronically unemployed people.  Additionally, Common Ground pledged to identify and hold accountable temp agencies that mistreat their workers.

New IAF Sponsoring Committee on the Ground in North Carolina State Capitol and Surrounding Areas

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Wake County Sponsors

Wake County Leaders Participate in Introductory Training Sessions

For the last year, leaders from thirty diverse institutions from across Wake County, NC have been working on assembling a diverse, countywide, broad-based, non-partisan organization connected with the Industrial Areas Foundation. 
Wake County Sponsors expects at least 400 leaders from across Wake County to attend its first Internal Assembly on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cary, NC. 
In preparation for this first internal action, 230 African American, White and Latino leaders representing more than 25 institutions have participated in introductory training sessions in March; at least 70 more are expected at the final session on April 9th.

In Memoriam: Rev. Jeff Krehbiel, IAF Leader, 1992-2017 Ministry of Formation and Persistence

Sunday, February 25, 2018
Metro IAF
“…And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says: And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?  Will he delay long in helping them?  I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  Luke 18: 6-8
In my first week of organizing, I followed Rev. Jeff Krehbiel down a dark and chaotic block—horns blaring from speeding cars & shouts from drug dealers for offers to buy— to the home of Jenny Bernadel, a member of West Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE.  I had recently been assigned to work with Rev. Krehbiel and other religious and community leaders to build an IAF organization in Wilmington.  Rev. Krehbiel asked me to visit Ms. Bernadel, a Jamaican-American member of his church, who lived in the most well kept home on her otherwise blighted Eastside Wilmington block.  
Ms. Bernadel was afraid to leave her house after coming home from work to go to Bible study. Police, she said, never patrolled in her neighborhood and the local recreation center was closed so the teenagers had nothing to do, except harass people.  Ms. Bernadel was angry and distraught as she spoke; she didn’t know what to do.  Rev. Krehbiel took her hand and asked “who else in the neighborhood do you know that feels the way you do?”  The next week we returned to Ms. Bernadel’s house and met with 5 of her neighbors, launching a year long organizing drive for community policing and youth investment.
The campaign culminated in a showdown with then Senator Joseph Biden about the misappropriation of Federal Community Policing funding by the Wilmington Police Department— instead of deploying beat cops to patrol Ms. Bernadel’s and other Wilmington neighborhoods, the department bought armored trucks and other heavy weaponry.   
Rev. Krehbiel challenged Senator Biden in an early morning meeting with other IAF leaders at Bethel AME as he started to defend the police department. “Senator, we want the $10 million in Community Policing monies in Wilmington to be used for officers to walk a beat in Ms. Bernadel’s neighborhood and we are going public with our demand in two weeks.”  Senator Biden’s face turned red and the vein on the side of his head started pulsing…..  he was speechless…with rage.  He left almost immediately after this confrontation, making no commitments.
At a packed IAF action with 500 leaders at Bethel Apostolic Temple two weeks afterward in the pouring rain, Wilmington’s Mayor and Police Chief announced the reassignment of officers to Wilmington’s neighborhoods and monies to expand recreation opportunities at an Eastside Boys and Girls Club.  Ms. Bernadel never missed a West Presbyterian Bible Study after that.  She told me later it was the first time a pastor had visited her home.
Rev. Jeff Krehbiel practiced ministry on the ground: in homes, neighborhoods, homeless shelters, recreation centers, churches, and taverns.  IAF organizing formed Jeff.  In turn through song, conversation, worship, faith, anger and persistence, he formed us: young adults, cities, congregations, politicians, neighborhoods, denominations, senators and a vice president, and organizers.  
Jeff led the drive for the next generation of Presbyterian Clergy to take up community organizing; now it is a growing movement in the denomination through Next Church.  His mentor:  the Rev. George Todd would be proud.  Jeff reorganized West Presbyterian and Church of the Pilgrims, into vital congregations using the practices of IAF relational organizing.  Working with other leaders at Washington Interfaith Network, Jeff helped lead the renaissance of DC neighborhoods with more 
affordable housing, renovated libraries and recreation centers, and green jobs.  He helped transform 
DC’s corrupt and evil homeless service system from warehousing families to providing permanent supportive housing. For Jeff, faith and organizing were symbiotic. 
Over 20 years, I organized with Jeff in Wilmington and Washington DC, a witness to and beneficiary of his faith in the transforming power of organizing for ordinary people, for the church, and for the world.  

“And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” 
Without question: in the ministry of formation and persistence of Rev. Jeffrey Krehbiel.
——Martin Trimble, Metro IAF Supervising Organizer MD,DC, VA, NC

A “Beacon of Hope” -- BUILD and TRF/DP Win Historic Preservation Award

Thursday, August 31, 2017
The Baltimore Sun

Senator Ben Cardin

BUILD and TRF/DP won the 2017 ACHP/HUD (American Council on Historic Preservation/Housing and Urban Development) Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.  Senator Ben Cardin called BUILD and TRF/DP a “beacon of hope.” The Mayor’s acting housing commissioner called the 15-year effort the ripple that started the renewal in communities surrounding Oliver, citing over 700 properties rehabbed in the five communities that “touch” Oliver.  Bishop Miles, BUILD Co-chair emeritus, called us to action to redevelop communities across the city, building on the strengths of Johnston Square.

OCJU Holds Record-Breaking Number of Listening Sessions

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Justice United

Listening sessions at the Church of the Advocate and Lattisville Grove Missionary Baptist Church

61 leaders of Orange County Justice United attended listening session training in May and pledged to engage up to 945 diverse members of their communities in discussions about the key pressures facing their families and to identify deeply felt community concerns. Listening session campaigns are used to set a new grassroots agenda for the organization and take place through a series of small or large group meetings hosted within member institutions. These discussions will lead to a new collective action agenda for Justice United in the fall. 

In Boston, GBIO Fights Back Against Discrimination

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

At Greater Boston Interfaith Organization’s April 4 Delegates Assembly, over 175 leaders unanimously ratified GBIO’s new campaign: Out of Many, One, designed to fight the targeting of Muslims, Jews, Immigrants, and other minority communities. Those attending committed to bringing over 900 people to GBIO’s May action.

The goals of the Out of Many, One campaign are (1) to support the Safe Communities Act, which protects Massachusetts residents’ civil rights by making sure our tax dollars are not used to deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry, and (2) to support the Muslim community through a series of Teach-Ins at Muslim, Christian, and Jewish congregations throughout Greater Boston. At these Teach-Ins, participants will share and listen to stories about the specific threats facing the Muslim community, and will learn what MA residents can do to support their Muslim neighbors.

GBIO also sent a delegation of 12 leaders to attend the Metro IAF March 2017 key leaders meeting held in Baltimore to further address fighting discrimination as a larger Metro IAF collective.

United Power for Action & Justice: 150 Leaders Trained in Chicago Metropolitan Area

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

During the last two weekends in February, United Power trained 150 leaders in four organizing workshops to help new and existing leaders assess the current political moment and learn from organizing strategies of United Power and other IAF affiliates. Leaders used these lessons as they developed organizing and action strategies for different regions of Cook County in March & April.

Common Ground: Training Offered in Spanish for Latino Leaders in Milwaukee

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Common Ground

Organizers from Common Ground and sister Metro IAF affiliate in North Carolina, Durham CAN, trained 35 Latino leaders in Spanish at St. Adalbert’s, the largest Latino Catholic church in the state. The 35 leaders committed to turn out 300 people to Common Ground’s upcoming Delegates Assembly to increase the power needed to secure a meeting with the Chief of Police.

IAF's Mike Gecan: Baltimore's Turnaround Tuesdays change lives

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Baltimore Sun

Only 43 miles separate Zion Baptist Church in Baltimore from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation's capital, but it would be hard to imagine two more different — and culturally distant — places.

For two hours on a recent Tuesday morning, I sat in on what is called Turnaround Tuesday — a creation of a citizens organization, Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development and an affiliate of the group I co-direct, the Industrial Areas Foundation. Seventy five residents were in their chairs at 9:00 a.m. sharp to participate in a program that was one part AA meeting, one part religious service, one part boot camp, one part job-preparedness training and all parts remarkable. Turnaround Tuesday had been operating for two years, based on BUILD's effective local organizing and the commitment of Baltimore's premier anchor institution, the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, to hire hundreds of residents returning from prison or jail. To date, 274 people have already been hired to living wage jobs, and scores more are in the pipeline.

Action in Montgomery (AIM) Stands for Constitutional and Human Rights, Stakes Claim on 2018 Election

Thursday, February 9, 2017

More than 600 people packed the sanctuary of Silver Spring UMC to launch Action in Montgomery’s 2017 Listening Campaign and to stake a claim on the future of Montgomery County. Leaders celebrated AIM’s recent victories and called on county officials to ensure that Montgomery County residents are welcomed and treated fairly, regardless of faith or immigration status, and to partner with AIM and the community to expand affordable housing, quality and affordable afterschool care, and to work for a just transit system for workers and riders. 

Bill Moyers on Saul Alinsky

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bill Moyers Essay: Newt's Obesession with Saul Alinsky from on Vimeo.

Dear President Obama: You're No Saul Alinsky

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

By Ralph Benko, Contributor

Obama is no Alinsky. Would that he were!  One of Alinsky’s main successors is Arnie Graf. Mark Shields privately describes Graf as belonging in “the social justice hall of fame.” Graf briefly mentored young Barack Obama, a memory recently shared with this columnist (some of which also was recorded by the National Journal’s Will Englund).  In 1986, young Barack Obama came to a national training, conducted in California by Alinsky’s legacy organization, the Industrial Areas Foundation. Over 100 young people attended. Graf was a trainer there. He ended up having three personal conversations with young Obama....

Launch of the Neukölln Citizens’ Organization

Friday, December 23, 2011
BMW Stiftung



After the successful setup of independent citizens’ organizations in Berlin-Schöneweide and Berlin-Wedding/Moabit, Berlin-Neukölln has also created the conditions for a functioning civic organization based on the community organizing model.  With its members including some 40 Neukölln groups, including migrant organizations, school development associations, neighborhood centers and church communities, and co-funded by local businesses, associations, and foundations, the Neukölln Citizens’ Organization will be officially and formally launched at an inaugural event. 

New multi-faith coalition has political, social agenda​ for New Haven, Fairfield counties

Thursday, December 1, 2011
New Haven Register

BRIDGEPORT — In what founders call a first of its kind for the state, a new multi-faith coalition is being formed today with the intention of effecting some change in the political arena.  Gov. Dannel Malloy, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey, Sen. Joe Crisco, D-Woodbridge, and insurance and health care industry leaders are scheduled to appear at the founding assembly for CONECT, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.

Churches, synagogues CONECT to join force to fight social ills

Thursday, December 1, 2011
Connecticut Post

BRIDGEPORT ---- A significant new multi-faith organization, united to fight such social ills as unfair banking practices, high health insurance costs and abusive treatment of immigrants, got a rousing start Wednesday night as about 1,500 packed an East End church to incorporate CONECT.

New interfaith group seeks peace, justice:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Cleveland Plain Dealer

On Monday, our nation will celebrate Labor Day. It will be marked by parades and picnics, and here in Cleveland, by the air show and the 10th annual Peace Show. With unemployment hovering around 9 percent and higher in cities like Cleveland, growing numbers of uninsured workers, collective bargaining under attack, and predictions of another recession, some might ask what there is to celebrate on a day that honors the American worker.

Congregations Convene for a Greater Cleveland

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Slammed by foreclosures, persistent unemployment and poverty, Northeast Ohio can use all the help it can get, spiritual and secular. So the creation of the Greater Cleveland Congregations, a coalition of 40 local religious congregations, could be heaven-sent. The organization, a patchwork of faiths from both city and suburban congregations, promises to put aside theological, geographical and racial differences to concentrate on activism that can improve lives in Greater Cleveland...