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Issues & Victories

Financial Reform

GCC Wins Initial Concessions from Q Arena Deal

Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) won initial concessions from the Cleveland City Council and Cleveland Cavaliers from its campaign to create a Community Benefits Agreement tied to the $282 million expansion of Quicken Loans Arena.  The Cavs announced that they will refurbish 60 school and recreation center basketball courts in inner-city Cleveland, build 100 new Habitat for Humanity homes, and a financial restructuring of the Q deal so that the city is less liable to incur debt.  Despite these initial concessions, GCC is pressing to collect 15,000 signatures of Cleveland residents to place the Q issue on the ballot this Fall. 

Read more HERE.

Common Ground wins over $4 million for foreclosure mitigation and neighborhood development in Milwaukee

Southweast Wisconsin Common Ground successfully negotiated over $4 million in housing re-investment from financial institutions whose foreclosures had devastated the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee.  

GBIO creates a national model for financial literacy education.

Pastor Soliney Vedrine and Winique Green look on as testimony is given about the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization's Moving from Debt to Asset's program.  This groundbreaking financial empowerment program has graduated more than 700 graduates and provided each of them with $500 scholarships to begin a financial savings plan.

In the News

Metro IAF Affiliates Push for $1 Billion in Dedicated Funding Annually to Keep WMATA Moving

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Metro IAF & ATU

Photo Credit:  Photos by George Duncan

Together with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689, Metro IAF affiliates continue to fight to save the DC region’s metro rail system. On April 27th, 400-500 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 descended on the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) Board meeting to protest Metro service cuts, privatization schemes, wage/benefit cuts that threaten rider safety and workers' jobs. Members packed the WMATA board meeting and dropped 4,000+ petitions right in front of WMATA General Manager and then chanted "Who moves this city?  WE MOVE THIS CITY!!!" and joined a picket outside - then formed a human chain all the way around the headquarters which spans a whole city block.

On Sunday, May 7th, leaders from five Metro IAF affiliates -- AIM, BUILD, PATH, WIN and VOICE – packed a downtown Washington, DC church to demand $1 billion a year in dedicated funding for Metro. Metro IAF proposed a mix of sales, gas and property taxes to improve the transit system, stop bus cuts, defend the jobs of 10,000 predominantly African American middle class workers and to push for affordable housing on WMATA land.

Photo Credit:  Photos by George Duncan

Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) Fighting to Create a Community Equity Fund

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
GCC loaded up three busloads of leaders and held a 175-person outside the corporate headquarters of Quicken Loans in Detroit.  The action was done together with our ally organization in Detroit, DRIVE (Detroit Regional Interfaith Voice for Equity) and focused on engaging Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in bringing 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 Cavaliers play.  As part of the deal to upgrade the Q, GCC is fighting to create a Community Equity Fund, which would provide a dollar-for-dollar match of all public money in deal and direct it towards areas of critical importance in Cleveland: jobs for the unemployed, mental health and addiction support, and capital projects in distressed neighborhoods.      

Metro IAF's Greater Cleveland Congregations: GCC Wins Pledges from Three County Council Members to Stop Fast-Track of Quicken Loans Arena Renovations

Friday, March 10, 2017


Greater Cleveland Congregations continues their fight for fairness in the proposed deal from the Cleveland Cavaliers to spend $160 million of public money to upgrade Quicken Loans Arena.  GCC is fighting for a dollar-for-dollar match of all public money going into the deal to go towards a Community Equity Fund, which would provide critical supports for Cuyahoga County residents around mental health and addiction services, jobs for the unemployed, and capital improvements in distressed neighborhoods.    

On March 9th, GCC held an action with 425 leaders at Elizabeth Baptist Church in the Slavic Village neighborhood as part of their ongoing fight to bring fairness to the proposed deal being pushed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The action featured a number of powerful speakers, including the mother of Alianna DeFreeze, the 14 year-old girl who earlier this year was brutally murdered while on her way to school and whose body was left in a vacant home.  Three key members of the Cuyahoga County Council pledged to slow the deal down and stop fast-tracking it.

GCC members will take the fight to Dan Gilbert's doorstep next week. A caravan of families who have been left behind by the ‘Cleveland Renaissance’ will drive to his headquarters in Detroit on March 21st for a daylong demonstration there.



In Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) are #NOTallin

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

GCC #notallinIn an effort to stop a fast track approval for a $160 million renovation for Quicken Loans Arena, Greater Cleveland Congregations held a press conference demanding that money be put back into the community instead. Other demands also included transparency of any proposal terms and a $160 million dollar-for-dollar match of investment into the community through jobs for people from distresses neighborhoods, after-school programs and other uses.

See more video here:


Greater Cleveland Congregations Goes Toe To Toe With Stadium Welfare

More than 200 people packed Cuyahoga County Council chambers February 14th, 2017;   resolution to spend 282 million in tax dollars to renovate Quicken Loans Arena at issue.

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.

"I find this deal unconscionable," said GCC member Donna Weinberger of Solon. "This deal is not fair, equitable and not the best we can do to bring vitality and growth to all our neighborhoods."

GCC at Council Meeting

Alinsky, Foreclosures and Holding Banks Accountable

Thursday, February 2, 2012
The Huffington Post


<p style="\\&quot;text-align:" left;\\"="">Memo to the Obama Administration: if you want to see the makings of a national model to hold big banks accountable for fixing foreclosure-devastated neighborhoods, go to Milwaukee and talk to citizen leaders of a community organization who are practicing what Saul Alinsky preached.

Eric Schneiderman is right to fight Obama administration\'s bad foreclosure settlement with the banks

Sunday, November 27, 2011
New York Daily News


While most attention is focused on a drawn-out debt crisis in Washington and spasmodic demonstrations in several cities, the most important economic and political battle of the period is being played out largely under the radar.  This struggle pits the White House and a set of attorneys general who want a quick and limited settlement with the major banks over their conduct during the foreclosure crisis against another set of attorneys general, led by Eric Schneiderman of New York and Beau Biden of Delaware, who are pushing for more in-depth investigations and a much larger financial commitment to address the damage done to American homeowners.

More focus needed on housing fix (By Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011
The Hill

U.S. Senator Mark Warner reacts to VOICE's organizing around the foreclosure crisis in Northern Virginia.

Interfaith group seeks help from banks in housing crisis

Monday, October 31, 2011
The Washington Post

Members from more than 40 religious institutions across Northern Virginia are asking some of the country’s largest banks to commit to helping rebuild neighborhoods that have been devastated by housing foreclosures. Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) drew a crowd of about 900 congregants, political leaders and representatives of two major financial institutions — Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase — to Freedom High School in Woodbridge on Sunday to discuss the issue.

Occupy Wall Street\'s anger isn\'t enough: How the push for change can be sustained

Sunday, October 16, 2011
New York Daily News

More than two years ago, on a brilliant July morning, we were two of about 350 New Yorkers who took to CharlotteLondon were doing the same thing. It was a coordinated campaign led by the pastors, rabbis, imams and lay people in hundreds of religious and civic institutions associated with the <a data-cke-saved-href="\\" href="\\&quot;\\&quot;" title="\\&quot;Metro" industrial="" areas="" foundation\\"="">Metro Industrial Areas Foundation.

Probing Pr. William foreclosures, group sees widespread irregularities, ‘robo-signed’ papers

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Washington Post

Lenders may have foreclosed on hundreds of homeowners in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park using unreliable, “robo-signed” documents, according to a report by the group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement.

Prince William Residents Blame Robo-signing For Rash Of Foreclosures

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
WAMU Radio

Prince William County has the highest rate of foreclosures in Virginia, and residents of one neighborhood who blame the foreclosure rate on the practice of 'robo-signing,' are demanding accountability from the banks and an investigation by state officials.  At the height of the foreclosure crunch, approximately 25 percent of homes in the Georgetown South development in Manassas were foreclosed and vacant. 

Americans Facing More Inequality, More Debt and Now More Trouble?

Thursday, August 18, 2011
PBS News Hour

Did America's record-high level of economic inequality in 2007 help cause the financial crisis of 2008? With Americans' borrowing back on the rise and signs that economic inequality is growing, could there be another financial crisis in the near future? Paul Solman continues his series of reports on U.S. economic inequality.

Candidates vow to fight high-interest lending

Saturday, July 24, 2010
Washington Post

The major candidates for mayor and D.C. Council chairman promised Monday night that they would push to remove city money from any bank that charges more than 10 percent interest on consumer loans.

Democratic mayoral candidates Adrian M. Fenty and Vincent Gray and chairman candidates Kwame Brown and Vincent Orange made the pledge to the Washington Interfaith Network as part of the group's 2010 election agenda.

Facing more than 800 WIN members representing more than three dozen local congregations, the candidates also agreed to spend more to weatherize houses to spur job creation, create more affordable housing, launch a citywide youth basketball league and stop diverting the city's $100 million Neighborhood Investment Fund to other uses...

Battling to save financial souls

Monday, February 9, 2009
Boston Globe

For 11 years, Lea Jerome of Charlestown was a spending fiend. She attends Boston Missionary Baptist Church in Roxbury every Sunday and likes to look good when she goes there. So she'd buy pants and long dresses that she loved to pair together or shop at DSW for shoes. Sometimes she'd never even wear her purchases...

Massachusetts moving money out of 3 big banks to protest credit card rates

Washington Post

Massachusetts officials on Wednesday announced plans to move millions of dollars in state investments out of some of the nation's biggest banks to protest credit card interest rates.

State Treasurer Timothy Cahill said the state has removed Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo from a list of institutions approved for new state investments. Massachusetts, which is the only state to make such a move, is also beginning to divest $243 million in funds held at those banks, though the process could take up to six months...

Taking discontent to the bank

Boston Globe

Chuck Koplik of Lexington had kept his money at the same bank since 1977, through several mergers and acquisitions. Until last week.