All posts in Community Organizing
Another victory against voter suppression was won last week in Ohio and Wisconsin as voting rights groups, including our grant partners, The Lawyers’ Committee and ColorofChange.org pushed communications conglomerate, Clear Channel to remove over 100 billboards in mostly Black and Latino neighborhoods which they say were designed to intimidate voters. The billboards read “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY!” and warned that it can lead to prison sentences of up to three and a half years and a $10,000 fine. As ColorofChange.org points out: “In no small part because voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit fraud at the polls, the billboards were widely viewed as an effort to intimidate minority voters who are uncertain about their rights from voting.”
Oakland housing rights advocates, including our grant partner, Causa Justa :: Just Cause had cause to celebrate recently as Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Congressperson Barbara Lee, State Assemblyperson Nancy Skinner and community members held a press conference in support of a Comprehensive Foreclosure Prevention Package. The plan which was approved by the Oakland City Council on October 16th will provide a new means by which tenants and homeowners can receive foreclosure assistance. The package includes:
- Door to door outreach to roughly 3,500 residents in risk of foreclosure
- Referrals to housing counselors and access to legal assistance and a city team that will help advocate on behalf of borrowers to the bank
- Tenant and homeowner rights trainings
- A pilot program called ROOT that will buy back homes for borrowers facing foreclosure and restructure the loans to be fixed rate and affordable
We’re in the midst of making some major changes to the Kapor Foundation’s approach to social impact work, as I alluded to in a July 17th post. Last week we shared an update with our current grant partners that may be useful for others to know:
“The purpose of this email is to update you on our evolving strategy to meet our mission, which has not changed: ‘We support organizations that provoke social change in communities of color en route to equality.’
For the past five years, the Kapor Foundation has worked to support critical work that affects communities of color both nationally and here in the Bay Area. At the beginning of 2012, we shared our interest in learning more about how info tech can be mobilized in pursuit of positive social impacts. With the ever-growing presence of info tech in our everyday lives, we strongly believe that CBOs must harness technology to more effectively achieve their missions.
Did you miss the 2012 Ellas? Fortunately for you, we have a recap of the special evening organized and hosted by our grant partner, the Ella Baker Center held last week at the Scottish Rite Temple in Oakland. Ellas 2012, Unbreakable: Solidarity in Action brought the Bay Area social justice community together with a recognition celebration, highlighting the contributions of key individuals and groups who are doing extraordinary work in the racial justice, workers rights, and peace movements. Honorees included prominent changemakers, Rinku Sen, President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center; publisher of Colorlines, Father Greg Boyle, Director and Founder of Homeboy Industries, and our grant recipient, domestic workers rights group, Mujeres Unidas y Activas.
What do you get when you bring music, dancing, food, and change agents together under one roof? If you don’t know, then you obviously missed Power’s 15th Anniversary Gala last Thursday at the First Unitarian Universalist Center of San Francisco.
POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights) is a membership organization made up of low-income African American and Latino workers and tenants in San Francisco. Through community and electoral organizing, leadership development and movement building, POWER brings a human face to important policy debates, transforms individual lives and brings about broad-based policy change at the city, state and national levels.
We would like to congratulate the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and our grant partner, Advancement Project amongst other outstanding groups in their recent victory against voter suppression in Texas. Thanks to their organizing efforts, the federal court ruled last week that the Texas law requiring voters to obtain a photo ID in order to vote imposed “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor.”
As we have seen across the country, voter ID laws have sprouted in various states with supporters claiming to combat voter fraud. The Texas League and the NAACP-LDF countered these claims arguing that the law would not correctly address voter fraud and instead disenfranchise a large portion of Texas voters. (more…)
On Saturday, I had the chance to attend the Chinese Progressive Association‘s 40th Anniversary, “Together We Move Mountains, Celebrating Generations of Change.” In a testament to the organization’s work and legacy, over 500 people attended the sold-out event (including many friends from NY, New Orleans and across the country), and, true to the event’s title, attendees represented multiple generations of organizers, leaders and supporters. The Foundation is proud to have supported CPA over the years and particularly glad to see CPA leaders, Alex Tom and Shaw San Liu, recognized as local heroes by the San Francisco Bay Guardians just a few days earlier. Click here to read the article.
Photo credit: http://www.sfbg.com/specials/best-bay-2012-local-heroes
Monday evening’s explosion and fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond has many in the Bay Area concerned about the accident and the serious environmental and health impact on residents–many of color and living below the federal poverty line. The fire burned for several hours, leaving a thick cloud of smoke over Richmond and caused over 350 people to visit the hospital with skin and eye irritations, as well as, respiratory problems. Our grant partner, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, acted immediately, spreading the news via online social networks and circulated a petition to demand that Chevron be accountable for the mishap. The Ella Baker Center reveals: (more…)
Since 2007, more formerly homeless San Franciscans are becoming leaders in recycling and environmental awareness thanks to the work of Community Housing Partnership (CHP). The SFGate recently chronicled our grant recipient whose Recycling and Environmental Awareness Program is garnering attention in its efforts to educate previously homeless participants in environmental stewardship and resource management.
Residents enrolled in CHP’s REA Program are trained to teach compost collection and recycling practices to their neighbors. Participants also learn about resource conservation, environmental justice and urban agriculture, and receive basic job support to help prepare them for work in the green economy. “Since beginning its Recycling and Environmental Awareness Program in 2007, Community Housing Partnership has minted 100 activists…all residents of supportive housing.”
This opinion column, Virtual Becomes Personal, is hot off the press in the July 1 issue of The NonProfit Times. I think the last paragraph is particularly relevant to the Foundation’s future direction:
The nonprofit community would do well to pursue three recommendations toward a unified goal of strengthening advocacy campaigns. First, traditional and digital organizers need to emerge from their respective silos and come together in forums to learn from each other how to leverage both forms of advocacy. Second, nonprofits should incorporate both traditional and digital organizing within a coherent strategy to broaden and deepen public participation, either developing the capabilities themselves or negotiating partnerships with others. Third, private foundations and nonprofit research institutions can add value to the field by undertaking more systematic research around the possibilities of digital organizing and online advocacy.
Read the entire article here (pdf). More details about our development will be forthcoming in the fall.