3rd Quarter Newsletter covers July - early October

Iowa Clergy Fight for Restorative Juvenile Justice

After a year of observing juvenile judicial hearings AMOS leaders identified a 767% increase in misdemeanor detention holds for Black youth and a five-year high in holds for all youth in the county system.  These increases began with the abandonment of Polk County's "restorative justice" policy.  AMOS challenged this shift and is fighting for restorative juvenile justice. 

ACA Enrollment Showdown is On

While Senator Ted Cruz read from Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor, organizations in Texas, California and Iowa started the hard work of educating leaders and corralling public entities to develop local healthcare enrollment plans.  In North Texas, US Health & Human Services Regional Director Marjorie Petty lauded ACT & Dallas Area Interfaith's strategy as a "model for the country"; 300 leaders assembled to launch an education campaign which featured the help of bilingual, multi-colored booklets.   In San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, organizations each convened hundreds of public stakeholders to develop local enrollment plans.  More below.

One LA Fights to Cover All

While enrolling over 3,000 eligible for Medicaid expansion through mobile enrollment clinics, One LA leaders discovered thousands of low wage taxpayers left out due to immigration status.  In early October, they assembled hundreds to call on veteran County Supervisor Yaroslavsky to create a County-based health coverage program for 1 million undocumented. The Supervisor agreed to discuss the plan in 30 days.

Jobs & Workforce Development

El Paso Leaders Secure $1.5 Million for Job Training

Citing evidence that the regional Return On Investment for Project ARRIBA‘s workforce development is $26 for every $1 invested, the City Council of El Paso voted to increase funding to $1.5 Million over five years, a quarter million more than recommended by staff. This is the single largest City investment in ARRIBA since its inception, enabling the project to train and place 600 El Pasoans into living wage careers. 

COPS/Metro Wins $400K for Open Cloud Academy 

With a unique partnership at stake between Project Quest and Rackspace, a San Antonio based open cloud company, COPS / Metro Alliance leaders fought hard to secure training funds that would allow 200 new trainees into Rackspace's Open Cloud Academy.

Austin Interfaith Victorious in Defense of Workers

In the latest segment of a long-standing battle for living wages in Central Texas, 200 supporters of construction workers, including Catholic Bishop Joe Vasquez, rallied on the steps of City Hall demanding that workers receive the pay promised to them by developers that received $3.8 million in fee waivers. City Council voted unanimously for revocation of the economic incentives.

New York Times References Capital IDEA-Houston 
In describing Houston as a city with relatively high social mobility, in which 22% of children who grew up in the poorest fifth of national income ended up in the top two fifths today, the New York Times cited Capital IDEA as a vehicle for that kind of mobility.


Local Wins & Civic Engagement

Omaha Leaders Win $1M for Blight Reduction

After 400 OTOC leaders secured a public commitment from then-candidates for mayor and city council for increased investment in the demolition of blighted housing, they helped council members identify $957 thousand for demolition and $25 thousand for local job training.

TBO Secures Funds for Domestic Violence Shelter

A new shelter to aid victims of domestic violence is one step closer to reality, thanks to the intervention of Del Rio leaders of The Border Organization. A one-year funding contract of $128 thousand was granted to the Quad Counties Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse to begin the process of opening a shelter.

Austin Leaders Save 173 Low-Cost Housing Units

Koreena Malone, a Capital IDEA graduate and renter at Oak Creek Village was astounded to learn that her home would soon be turned into a high-end condo.  Drawing on stories she had heard in her days at Capital IDEA she quickly swung into action, forming a new tenants' association and reaching out to Travis Heights Elementary for support.  Working with her child's school principal and Austin Interfaith, Malone helped engineer an agreement that would preserve 173 affordable units. 

NCG Gets Trafficking Hotline Up at Transport Hubs

Barbara Bell and Nancy Thompson-Jones, both leaders of Methodist churches and Nevadans for the Common Good, organized a meeting with the County Commissioner to discuss posting the National Sex Trafficking Hotline Number at important transportation hubs so that trafficking victims can see them. The Commissioner agreed to work with NCG; McCarran International Airport has posted the number and plans to post signs in bus shelters are underway.

Jackson Leaders Engage with Mayor on Taxes  

At a crowded lunch hour action held on the rainiest day of the year, 135 leaders of Working Together Jackson applauded new Mayor Lumumba for raising 43% new revenue through user and property tax increases for water and sewage infrastructure.  Leaders expressed skepticism of his newly proposed sales tax, and openness to negotiation about it, with potential impact on a 2014 tax vote.

Leaders from Mississippi and Louisiana additionally met with Richard Cordray, the new Director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, about mortgage fraud and predatory lending.  Organizations are exploring support for a cap on the number of loans that a family can take out per year.

Common Ground Launches in Vallejo, California

An enthusiastic crowd of 1,500 representatives from 15 member institutions, and elected officials from Napa and Solano Counties, assembled to celebrate the coming out of a new organization in Northern California.  This new organization will operate as a cluster of the Sacramento Valley Organizing Committee (SVOC).

PCIC Challenges City & Council Officials

350 leaders in Tucson, AZ asked officials and candidates for their solution to Tucson's 6th highest ranking in poverty nationwide.  More pragmatically, they asked candidates to increase workforce development funding 25% for JobPath, to make Pima County the first Immigrant Welcoming County in Arizona and to refrain from raising bus fares.  Many no's turned to yeses in front of the packed crowd; PCIC leaders committed to getting out the vote.   


COPS / Metro & Valley Interfaith Convene Public Healthcare Stakeholders

On September 15th, Valley Interfaith's first summit in Edinburgh drew 220 leaders from member congregations and schools, three County Commissioners and State Representative Sergio Munoz.  Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said, "I stand with Valley Interfaith" in coordinating public entities to focus on enrollment.  

COPS / Metro Alliance held the first meeting in San Antonio about healthcare enrollment involving public stakeholders.  One hundred public and private entities convened at the request of COPS / Metro to develop a regional battle plan for San Antonio and Bexar County.

'Train the Trainer' Academies in El Paso & Dallas Attract Hundreds

As Ted Cruz read from Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor, 225 leaders in El Paso began the hard work necessary to make affordable healthcare available to families.  EPISO and Border Interfaith held Spanish and English training sessions that drew 225 leaders to San Juan Diego Catholic Church.  Leaders aim to hold 50 presentations over upcoming months to inform 2,500 potential enrollees.  

In Dallas, over 200 leaders from 33 institutions participated in "train the trainer" sessions on the healthcare exchange and are currently educating their constituencies.  The healthcare action team designed a new healthcare booklet designed to educate about Marketplace basics; over 24,000 copies have been picked up for distribution at congregations, schools and libraries.        

Houston 'Healthcare Bootcamps' a Success

TMO graduated nearly 100 from its Healthcare Bootcamps and these leaders are going back to their 20+ institutions to teach congregation members about the healthcare marketplace.  Congregations are also reaching out to nearby schools and community members through walks and community rallies.

AMOS ACA Academies Draw 285 So Far

An effort that started with basic training for 40 institutional leaders is booming now; 285 people have participated in ACA healthcare enrollment academies so far.  AMOS has 14 additional training sessions scheduled for the month of October.  

Schools & Youth

Austin Interfaith Leverages $2.38 Million for Youth

Acting on a house meeting campaign centered on how the City spends taxpayer money, Austin Interfaith leaders fought successfully for more story time at libraries, after-school programming, extended pool hours, summer youth employment and workforce development.  2.38 million in new funding was secured thanks to leaders' intervention.  

One LA Averts Safety Threat at Augustus Hawkins HS

After school leaders learned that a quasi-private charter would soon co-locate on their campus, and that incoming students had gang affiliations in conflict with that of the neighborhood, they initiated conversations with parents, teachers, community leaders and gang specialists. After multiple hearings and meetings with their district board member, One LA succeeded in stopping the co-location. Plans for a teacher laboratory in the campus' underutilized space are underway.

800 Mobilize to Fund Three School Districts in Northern Arizona

800 NAIC and school leaders from three distinct districts launched a voter mobilization plan to pass approximately $43 Million in school-related bonds, with the support of Secretary of State Ken Bennett and other Republican legislative and Chamber representatives in Northern Arizona.  

Immigration Reform

Northern AZ Leaders Pass Resolution for Reform

In addition to meeting with Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Northern Arizona Interfaith Council (NAIC) zeroed in on the City of Flagstaff, and passed a resolution (6-1) supporting immigration that reflects the essential economic role immigrants play as workers, the importance of family unity and the need for a path to citizenship.  Flagstaff is the only Arizona municipality to pass this resolution.

Arizona Interfaith Builds Support for Immigration Reform

Arizona Interfaith Network's immigration assembly included lengthy, frank and bipartisan conversation with Sen. John McCain and Congressman Raul Grijalva. Bishops and clergy from five denominations organized the event to engage elected officials from both parties to lay the groundwork for a statewide response this fall. 

Central Texas Chamber & Religious Leaders Unite

For the first time in Central Texas, Chamber of Commerce leaders joined with judicatory leaders to educate and organize a constituency of support for compassionate and economically beneficial immigration reform.  More than 200 predominantly Anglo leaders participated in this learning session organized by Bishop Joe Vásquez of the Catholic Diocese of Austin with religious leaders from Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions.       

Omaha Leaders Organize Forum and Vigil  

135 OTOC leaders attended a forum in which clergy, lawyers and business leaders (including Director of Legal & Regulatory Affairs of the Nebraska Cattleman's Association) detailed the economic impact of not reforming immigration.  The next day, at a rally and prayer vigil 100 leaders were urged to call and write their US Congressman, Lee Terry, who has so far resisted calls for immigration reform. 

The Interfaith Education Fund works with the West / Southwest IAF organizations to teach ordinary people how to effectively engage in the civic life of their communities to promote the interests of their families and neighborhoods.  Through action, reflection and mentorship, leaders learn how to build constituencies and skillfully negotiate at the local, state and national levels.

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