All politics is local...

Texas IAF Celebrates 40+ Anniversary

San Antonio, TX - Veteran leaders, funders, religious judicatories and Texas IAF organizational co-founders convened at the Oblate School of Theology to celebrate 40+ years of building power and standing with families.  Press, multi-media and letters of support here 

One LA Takes On LA Traffic & Wins
$120 Billion Bond

Los Angeles, CA - Building on a four-year effort, One LA leaders and allies shaped, pushed for and passed Measure M, raising $120 Billion for rail, buses and highways which will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and make getting to work easier.  More here. 
'Together Louisiana'

Reforms Industrial Tax Exemptions

Baton Rouge, LA - 'Together Louisiana‘ leaders succeeded in compelling Governor John Bel Edwards to overhaul the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), the nation’s largest state corporate subsidies program.  70 leaders celebrated as he signed the executive order.  More here.  

Jobs, Wages & Family Finance

COPS / Metro Hikes City & County Wages to $13.75/hr

San Antonio, TX - One year after boosting the wages of the lowest paid municipal and county employees in San Antonio, COPS / Metro Alliance again increased their wages (to $13.75 / hour), and secured $2.2 Million in funding for workforce development program Project Quest.  Leaders also succeeded in raising the wages of San Antonio Independent School District's lowest paid workers (1 in 5) from $10 to $12 /hour.  

PCIC Secures 18% Increase in Funding for JobPath 

Tucson, AZ - After a hard fought campaign, PCIC leaders succeeded in increasing funding for workforce development program JobPath by 18% to half a million in the County budget.  Supervisors voted 2-1 for the increase after graduates shared their success stories and clergy stood with this in support. 

EPISO & Border Interfaith Win Big on Wage Theft

El Paso, TX - Eight months after winning an ordinance enabling the City of El Paso to refuse contracts to employers violating wage theft laws, EPISO and Border Interfaith leaders won again.  The City of El Paso now has the ability to revoke the operating license of any business that refuses to pay its workers. 

New Jackson Training Effort Graduates 20 in 2016 

Jackson, MI - Before Working Together Jackson stepped in, a local job training effort that had begun in 2015 was retaining only 19% of its 16 students.  By the end of 2016, after WTJ leaders began collaborating with local businesses and schools, enrollment grew to 200, with a retention rate of 93%.  Twenty students have now graduated into employment paying $15 - 22 per hour. 

Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith Launches New Job Training Program, ACTS 

Shreveport, LA - As a way to combat working poverty, Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith leaders established Another Chance to Succeed (ACTS), a workforce development program modeled on Project QUEST in San Antonio and NOVA in Monroe, LA.  The goal is to train adults into jobs paying +$15/hour. 

Criminal Justice Reform

AMOS Reduces Juvenile Arrests & Expulsions 

Polk Co., IA - Thanks to persistent intervention by AMOS leaders, juvenile suspensions and school expulsions dropped by nearly 64% and school suspensions for attendance dropped by 91%, keeping more children and youth out of court.  Progress took careful work with Polk County Courts in pursuit of more widespread use of restorative justice practices

TBR Gets Broader Investigation Into Fatal Shooting 

Baton Rouge, LA -  After the US Dept. of Justice announced a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, leaders of Together Baton Rouge publicly called for a widening of its scope to include possible state criminal violations.  Governor John Bel Edwards responded, announcing a concurrent exploration of whether state and federal violations occurred.  

VOICE Challenges Profiteering Off Backs of Inmates 

Oklahoma City, OK - Talking to someone in jail costs a lot of money — and the people footing the bill are families.  Says Sundra Flansburg of VOICE, the state of Oklahoma is “trying to fund the criminal justice system on the backs of these inmates and their families.”  Leader are fighting off predatory phone billing and daily incarceration rates former inmates and their families are required to pay. 

OTOC Secures Congressional Pledge to End Long-Term Detention of Immigrant Women & Children

Omaha, NE - After 85 OTOC religious leaders called on Congressperson Brad Ashford to end indefinite detention of women and children seeking political asylum, they followed up with a non-partisan accountability assembly focusing on the issue. With 350 leaders in attendance, both candidates, including incumbent Ashford, agreed to work to end long-term detention of these families.

TMO Advances Law Enforcement Reform Agenda 

Houston, TX - Ahead of the election, TMO leaders assembled with candidates for Harris County Sheriff and District Attorney to pressure them to work with TMO.  Candidates agreed to work with leaders to reduce jail overcrowding, enhance deputy training, institute bail reforms and oppose forcing law enforcement officers to act as immigration agents.

Dignified Housing & Neighborhoods

Together Louisiana Leverages $500M in Flood Relief 

Baton Rouge, LA -  Days before Congress adjourned for October recess, the word among lobbyists was that a proposal for flood recovery funding for Louisiana would not even get a vote for inclusion in the continuing resolution (short term budget).  When 'Together Louisiana' reached out to sister IAF organizations, they responded,  contacting their congressional representatives and senators urging them to support the funding package — across partisan lines.  Click here for the full story. 

DAI Secures Strongest Tenant Protections in Texas

Dallas, TX - In a little over a year of public actionDAI church leaders confronted landlords, secured the support of allies, negotiated with adversaries, and changed the housing code of Dallas in a fundamental way.  FOX News calls the code the “toughest landlord rules in the state.”   Said former code enforcement prosecutor, Councilmember Adam McGough, “this is unprecedented.”

MOC Leaders Sign Up 8,000 Voters in Housing Effort

Marin Co., CA - With the goal of building support for the County to site, fund and operationalize affordable housing options, including a year-round shelter for 60 homeless men and women by 2018, Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) leaders launched a signature campaign to reach 6,000 voters.  After only 5 months they collected over 8,000 signature cards, and counting.

COPS / Metro Secures Streets in Bexar Colonia

Bexar Co., TX - When Ms. De la Fuente’s daughter suffered an accident at home, sandy roads delayed her ambulance by 25 minutes. Following a year of organizing, and flanked by fellow neighborhood and COPS / Metro leaders, she told Bexar County Commissioners, “my daughter deserves better!”  Leaders secured $4 million in County funds to pave the sandy roads.

Austin Interfaith Beats Back Bid to Sell Alcohol by Schools

Austin, TX - When Torchy’s Tacos re-submitted an old bid to sell alcohol within 300 feet of Fulmore Middle School, they forgot to consider the lasting power of Austin Interfaith.  200 leaders from neighboring schools, churches, and tenants' associations assembled with school board and local councilmembers, scaring the lobbyist into withdrawing the petition. Leaders are ready in case they refile. 

TMO Fights Off Neighborhood Gentrification

Houston, TX - TMO leaders of Resurrection Catholic won the first of two council votes to protect their neighborhood from predatory development.  The vote established Minimum Lot Size protections for 100 properties in the area, preventing them from being subdivided below the minimum prevailing size, a common practice of developers seeking to replace single residences with multiple townhomes.

Access to Affordable Healthcare

NCG Staves Off State Medicaid Privatization in 2016

Las Vegas, NV - Even after privatization of Nevada-run Medicaid was considered a done deal, calls by Nevadans for the Common Good (NCG) for a transparent process, and leaders' public testimony at subsequent listening sessions, prompted state legislators to halt attempts to privatize services for the vulnerable elderly, blind and disabled. 

COPA Secures Support to Change Pilot into Proposal for Healthcare Coverage of Undocumented Residents

Monterey Co., CA - Upon successful implementation of a pilot project providing healthcare for undocumented county residents, COPA leaders secured unanimous Monterey County Board of Supervisor support to create an action team that will prepare and present a proposal back to the Board this spring.  This is an important preliminary step in securing Monterey County funds to ensure that all residents have access to quality, affordable healthcare regardless of immigration status.  [Photo Credit: Episcopal Diocese of El Camino]

One LA Reaches Milestone Healthcare Enrollment of 146,000 Undocumented County Residents 

Los Angeles, CA - Before a packed audience of 200 health care leaders and Dr. Mitch Katz, Director of the LA County Department of Health, One LA celebrated the milestone enrollment of 146,000 Los Angeles residents into My Health LA.  350 trained One LA leaders organized 100+ events at their institutions in which they directly enrolled over 8,000 people. My Health LA is a program One LA compelled the County to create to cover undocumented residents.

Austin Interfaith Celebrates Opening of Local Clinic

Austin, TX - After years of pressure on the county Central Health District, Austin Interfaith leaders celebrated the opening of a modern, comprehensive wellness clinic near low-income Dove Springs. Said leader Ofelia Zapata, “We are finally getting that holistic health care facility" leaders had fought for.  Officials expect 80,000 visits per year.  

Education & Learning

Valley Interfaith Celebrates Library Groundbreaking 

Pharr, TX - Valley Interfaith celebrated the construction of a new library it had fought for, marking the first time in 20 years that leaders felt “we belong to the City of Pharr…it is an historic day.”  The library is the result of a protracted fight between Valley Interfaith leaders and the City of Pharr; the fight included signing up and turning out more than 1,000 new voters from Las Milpas. 

Albuquerque Leaders Instrumental in Bond Election 

Albuquerque, NM - Albuquerque Interfaith leaders put their reputation on the line when they threw their weight behind a $575 Million school bond.  They organized Get Out The Vote walks and published op-eds reminding voters that the organization had not only passed a bond in 2003, they stopped district officials from unlawfully diverting those funds.  The bond passed with +65% support.

VIP & Arizona IAF Leaders Fight for School Funding 

Phoenix, AZ - VIP and Arizona Interfaith leaders led the fight for school and health funding for Arizona children, both for Kidcare (children's health insurance) and school finance in key legislative districts, including District 28 in North Phoenix and Paradise Valley, District 6 in Flagstaff and District 1 in Prescott.  This is part of a statewide effort to reverse disinvestment in Arizona public schools.

Civic Engagement

California IAF Trains Episcopal Seminarians

Berkeley, CA - Looking for a way to create a “tighter fit between the life of faith and public life,” the Very Reverend W. Mark Richardson of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in Berkeley turned to the Industrial Areas Foundation to help train its seminarians.  The Church Divinity School of the Pacific now not only offers the 6-day course every January, it participates as a member in the Bay Area IAF.

Leaders Build Momentum in Front Range, Denver

Denver, CO - On a bitterly cold December evening, 100+ leaders from 19 institutions gathered at Cleaves Memorial CME Church to pledge their time, money and talent to a new IAF presence in Denver & Front Range, Colorado.  Synagogue, labor union, neighborhood association and mainline denominational leaders publicly committed to each other to grow the effort in 2017 .

IEF Seminars Engage Leaders, Academics

Leaders and organizers across the West / Southwest IAF network convened for Interfaith Education Fund seminars organized with: 

Danielle Allen - Our Declaration 

Los Angeles, CA - Dr. Danielle Allen, Harvard University political theorist and author of Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in the Defense of Equality argues that equality was as important as freedom to our Founding Fathers.  Leaders read, reflected and told their own stories of local fights for both.

Jeremy Adelman - Worldly Philosopher

Los Angeles, CA - A seminar with Princeton University Professor of History Jeremy Adelman afforded organizers and leaders the opportunity to learn about the life and impact of Albert O. Hirschman, a development economist and original thinker on loyalty, agency and action.  

Glenn Loury - Anatomy of Racial Inequality

San Francisco, CA - Brown University Professor Glenn Loury's focus on long-term impacts of disparities in educational opportunities and racial outcomes on incarceration rates provided much perspective to participating leaders and organizers who soon returned home to address,with nuance and judgment, police and civilian shootings in their cities.

Luke Bretherton & Charles Mathewes - Faithful Citizenship

Dallas, TX - Professors Luke Bretherton (author of Resurrecting Democracy: Faith Citizenship and the Politics of a Common Life) and Charles Mathewes (author of Theology of Public Life) met with leaders and organizers for engaging conversation about the intersection of faith and citizenship, and its application in public life.     

Support Organizer Training

Invest in the training and development of West / Southwest IAF organizers by making a one-time gift (or recurring deposit) to the Interfaith Education Fund.  Click below:

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