Where do you go when you want to put organizing ideas into practice? Whether you are starting out, branching out, or burning out, the following organizations are there to help you gain some additional skills, ideas, and perspectives. Some of the entries are updated from “Tools of the Trade,” City Limits August/September 1993. This list is intended as a place to start, not a comprehensive directory of available programs. The focus is on training or technical assistance that emphasizes some aspect of community organizing, but some programs that focus more on community development have been included as well, to give a sense of the range of programs out there.
Institute for Social Justice:
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Elena Hanggi, Director; 501-376-2528
523 W. 15th St., Little Rock, AR 72202
Week-long and 2-day sessions, primarily for ACORN members but also open to others, focused on housing, banking, living wage, and community reinvestment issues. ACORN’s model of organizing focuses on solid research and extensive outreach and is based on communities not institutions or congregations.
The Brecht Forum
212-242-4201; fax 212-741-4563
12 W. 27th St, 10th Fl
New York, NY 10001
A series of classes, expressly political, in organizing theory and tactics, leading to an Organizers Certificate. Next series begins in January. Staff are also available in the NYC metro area for a free presentation.
Center for Community Change (CCC)
Dave Beckwith; 202-342-0519
1000 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Along with training and technical assistance provided on a consultant basis, CCC also offers a workshops series specifically focused on community organizing for community developers. The series, which consists of 3 2-day sessions over 6-months, is generally initiated by a local sponsoring organization which coordinates many of the details and shares support and follow-up work with CCC.
Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO)
Innovative politics & skill training programs (locations around the US) include Community Action Training (CAT), a 3-day weekend hands-on introduction to community organizing and MAAP (Minority Activist Apprenticeship Program), a 7-week intensive, in-the-field paid internship in community and labor organizing for activists of color.
Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC)
617-423-1444; fax 617-423-4748
30 Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108
CTAC develops leadership, planning and organizational skills of board, staff and volunteer members of nascent and established community-based organizations working to improve the social and economic conditions of low-income neighborhoods, including tenant associations, housing development corporations, neighborhood organizing groups and more.
Community Training and Resource Center
47 Ann Street
New York, NY 10038
Workshops for housing organizations, staff of elected officials, and social service providers on housing-specific issues and tactics.
Direct Action and Research Training Center, Inc. (DART)
314 NE 26th Terrace, PO Box 370791
Miami, FL 33137-0791
4 1/2-day introductory workshops on congregation-based community organizing covering values, power, building relationships, leaders & organizers, fundraising, and issue development. Next workshop: March 2-6 (Florida). Advanced and individually tailored workshops for religious institutions and community groups also available. Mostly focused in FL, MI, OH, and KY.
The Gamaliel Foundation
203 N. Wabash, Suite 808
Chicago, IL 60601
Offers week-long training sessions geared specifically to established neighborhood church-based groups and the techniques of organizing around such groups. Training covers fundraising, leadership and board development, and relations between organizations.
PO Box 36006
Charlotte, NC 28236
Provides training on a technical assistance basis to community based organizations that are working on a specific issue. Training emphasizes relationships forged outside the constraints of age, class, gender, and race barriers.
Highlander Research and Education Center
1959 Highlander Way
New Market, TN 37820
Focusing primarily on Appalachia and the Southeastern US, Highlander holds various workshops, meetings, and retreats on specific topics usually arranged directly with the community groups they will be serving.
Industrial Areas Foundation
220 W. Kinsey
Chicago, IL 60610
Training programs are primarily for leaders and organizers in IAF’s national network, but the 10-day training sessions are open, for a fee, to non-members with permission. Covers IAF fundamentals for professional organizing under an institutional, congregation-based model.
225 West Ohio St, #250
Chicago, IL 60610
Training sessions emphasize the basics, including organizing the unorganized, building coalitions, working with existing groups, developing organizational structure, and also go beyond “skill sessions” to discuss the political context in which organizing takes place. Upcoming trainings: 1998: Nov 16-20 (CT); 1999: Mar 22-26 (Chicago); May 17-21 (CA); Oct 15-19 (CT).
National Training and Information Center (NTIC): National People’s Action
Gordon Mayer, 312-243-3035
810 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
Offers trainings on information and research, leadership development, negotiation, strategic planning, and action!
Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI) The Citizen’s Committee of New York City, Inc.
305 Seventh Ave
New York, NY 10001
NLI is an array of 1-2 evening workshops, grouped into basic and advanced organizing, environment, and diversity. Examples: Navigating city government, public speaking, pro-active community planning. Workshops are free to all-volunteer neighborhood/tenant/youth groups; sliding scale by budget size for staffed nonprofits.
Organize Training Center (OTC)
Mike Miller, 415-821-6180
442A Vicksburg St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
OTC currently conducts organizing training sessions only for those involved in a few specific projects, which currently include Christians Supporting Community Organizing (for members of evangelical churches), and a Bay Area labor union project.
Pacific Institute for Community Organizations (PICO)
171 Santa Rosa Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
PICO’s annual 6-day National Leadership Development Seminar is based on a congregation/community model and aimed at preparing participants to direct an organization.
Training Institute for Careers in Organizing (TICO)
c/o Northwest Bronx Community/Clergy Coalition
718-584-0515; fax 718-733-6922
TICO’s Apprenticeship Program is a full-time 12-week (January-March or June-August) introduction to community organizing using a combination of hands-on experience, classroom workshops and mentoring. Apprentices are placed with New York City grassroots groups, receive a stipend, and are offered salaried organizing positions at the end of the program. TICO also provides customized “one-shot” and ongoing training for grassroots groups.
Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB)
212-479-3300; fax 212-344-6457
120 Wall St, 20th Fl.
New York, NY 10005
Provides approximately 45 different classes, many focused for residents who want to take over ownership and management of their buildings, others for nonprofits who want to be involved in housing development with resident ownership the final goal. UHAB also offers a Training for Trainers program.
Vision to Reality (VTR): World Vision Institute
Dr. Jolly A. Beyioku
213-387-9604; fax 213-387-9660
1345 S. Burlington Ave., Suite 204
Los Angeles, CA 90006
VTR is a training program covering church-based organizational set-up, community organizing, management and administration, and community development program planning. This program is only open to individuals sent by an established church or tax-exempt church-based organization. It consists of 8 full days of training that can be extended or condensed to fit any period of time not less than 2 weeks.
Community Revitalization Training Center (CRTC)
Ann Zeller, 800-282-2782
614-262-6662; fax 614-262-3282
PO Box 82267
Columbus, OH 43202
CRTC holds a series of 3-day courses around the country for community development and housing rehab practitioners, covering topics such as “marking strategies for low-income housing developments” and “codes and standards in housing rehabilitation.”
Development Training Institute (DTI)
410-338-2512, X130; fax 410-338-2751
2510 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
DTI offers a range of training options, from an “academy” to customized trainings, focusing on strategies, techniques, and technical aspects of community development, including leadership and managerial skills. Audiences have included practitioners, funders, and government professionals.
Institute for Cooperative Community Development, Inc. (ICCD)
603-644-3124; fax 603-644-3158
2500 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
ICCD offers certificate programs in areas such as financing community development, nonprofit management, and nonprofit real estate. 7-8 three-day long classes are needed to earn each certificate. The programs are designed for those who are presently working in the subject area covered.
Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
Kevin C. Stout
717-560-6546; fax 717-560-6549
1821 Oregon Pike, Suite 201
Lancaster, PA 17601-6466
MEDA provides intensive workshops, follow-up technical support and more to community groups, other nonprofits, and state and federal agencies that want to develop and implement a microenterprise program.
National Development Council
606-291-0220; fax 606-291-3774
Training Division, 211 E. Fourth St
Covington, NY 41011
Professional certification courses in Economic Development and Housing Finance for practitioners. 3-4 classes lead to each certificate. The three-day classes, held around the country, focus on finance knowledge and skills needed to make development projects happen.
Northwest Community Development Training Academy (NWCDA): Portland State University School of Extended Studies
Pat Rumer, Program Coordinator
503-725-4864; fax 503-725-4840
PO Box 1491
Portland, OR 92027-1491
The Academy is a year-long program with two anchor sessions in the fall and spring and six one-day seminars from November-April 1999. The themes this year are Organizational Management and Community Economic Development with some presentations on the role of Community Organizing. Three of the one-day seminars will be delivered via EDNET and WIT, a two-way audio, one-way video distance delivery system in Oregon and Washington.
Rural Development Leadership Network (RDLN)
212-777-9137; fax 212-477-0367
PO Box 98, Prince St. Station
New York, NY 10012
Field projects and independent study lead to academic degrees and certificates in rural development. RDLN also leads workshops at a biannual Rural Development Institute at the University of California at Davis, and at RDLN assemblies and other gatherings, and they are planning a week-long Writing Immersion for Community Builders for March 1999.