Why Do Grassroots Fundraising?

Organizations working on housing issues often suggest that the work of building a base of individual donors is out of proportion to the amount they bring in. “Compare,” says one person, “six hours to write a grant and get $15,000 to the amount of time it would take to raise that much money from individuals, […]

HUD Budget Approved

After years of wrangling, Congress hastily passed a public housing reform bill in the last days before its October adjournment. Attached as Title V of the FY 1999 HUD/VA appropriations bill, The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 represented a number of victories for public housing residents and advocates who have been fighting […]

Organizing Today: Ten Reasons to Cheer!

1. There’s lots of it going on In a recent survey, Heather West of Grassroots Leadership of Lorain, OH, found 120 groups directly or somewhat involved in community organizing in Ohio. Elsewhere, organizations and networks like Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Direct Action and Research Training Center (DART), Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), […]

Building a Force for the Common Good

The empty space at the center of American democracy is defined ultimately by its failed political institutions. At the highest level of politics, there is no one who now reliably speaks for the people, no one who listens patiently to their concerns or teaches them the hard facts involved in governing decisions. There is no […]

Organizing Renaissance

When the executive director and board of the Twin Cities CDC (TCCDC) in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, decided to hire an organizer in 1997, they didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. “When we started, I didn’t even know what community organizing was,” said board vice president Jim Holderby. TCCDC has learned quickly, as it has […]

Community-Labor Coalitions

In 1986, when over 800 UAW Local 376 members went on strike at Colt Firearms in Hartford and West Hartford, Connecticut, union leaders knew they faced a long and bitter strike. They were right: it lasted more than four years. The company seemed intent on breaking the union and began recruiting replacement workers. The union […]

Fair Housing Drives New Party Growth in Little Rock

Two years ago, as part of its Campaign ’96 issue, Shelterforce reported on the early successes of the Little Rock New Party – a fledgling municipal political party in Arkansas’s capital city – in electing community and housing organization leaders to the city council on an affordable housing platform. In the ensuing two years, the […]

Hearts and Crafts: Powering the Movement—Organizing’s Past, Present, and Future, Part 1

Organizing has long played an important role as a catalyst in bringing together disenfranchised communities. The following is one of three essays representing different approaches to organizing and serving as a dialogue about both organizing approach and philosophy for long-term change. Using personal examples drawn from their own organizing experiences, Kim Fellner (below), Ernesto Cortés, […]

Reclaiming Our Birthright—Organizing’s Past, Present, and Future Part 2

Organizing has long played an important role as a catalyst in bringing together disenfranchised communities. The following is one of three essays representing different approaches to organizing and serving as a dialogue about both organizing approach and philosophy for long-term change. Using personal examples drawn from their own organizing experiences, Kim Fellner, Ernesto Cortés, Jr. […]

Consensus Organizing—Organizing’s Past, Present, and Future, Part 3

Organizing has long played an important role as a catalyst in bringing together disenfranchised communities. The following is one of three essays representing different approaches to organizing and serving as a dialogue about both organizing approach and philosophy for long-term change. Using personal examples drawn from their own organizing experiences, Kim Fellner, Ernesto Cortés, Jr., […]

Pablo Eisenberg

In 1960-1963, a young United States Information Agency (USIA) officer, Pablo Eisenberg, went to a Russian variety troupe performing in Senegal. While the quality of the performance was mediocre compared to American entertainment, the Russians “sang songs in the native language, did all the things that were popular with kids and Senegalese, had an announcer […]

Organizing, Power, & Public Policy

Community organizing teaches the poor to organize themselves for power and politics…to restore dignity and integrity, and rebuild community, as well as the civic culture. It comes as no great shock to community organizers that both the number of funders and the overall percentage of dollars going to support community-organizing efforts remains quite small. The […]

Training Directory

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 […]

Activists in Action

Justice in the Workplace Although there has always been a core of religious allies focused on labor issues, during the ’70s and ’80s they were disconnected, isolated, and disorganized. In the early ’90s, a dozen groups formed around the country – half in New York State and the rest primarily in the Midwest – to […]

Organizing

The articles in this issue show by example and opinion a range of work collectively known as organizing. While we by no means discuss the complete organizing universe, we explore many different types of organizing – from confrontational to consensus and from issue-based to identity-based. Each of these articles sheds light, we hope, on the […]

Shelter Shorts

Section 8: More to Come Still Not Enough After a three-year drought, Congress has approved new Section 8 vouchers – 50,000 for FY ’99. And in September, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) reopened its tenant-based Section 8 registration list for the first time since 1990. But don’t break out the […]