What is the mission of an IAF organization?
What do IAF organizations do?
What have IAF organizations accomplished?
Where do IAF organizations get their money? Where does the money go?
Do IAF organizations endorse political candidates?
Where can I learn more?
What is the Iron Rule?
How does IAF organize?
Who sets the agenda for the organization?
What kinds of issues do IAF organizations work on?
What do organizers do?
What are the benefits of membership?
How can my organization join WIN?
Are there other IAF affiliates in the Washington DC Metro Area?
The IAF is the Industrial Areas Foundation, the country’s oldest and largest community organizing network. The IAF was founded in the 1940s by Saul Alinsky, who organized the country’s first neighborhood association, “The Back of the Yards Council,” in Chicago’s South side. Today, the IAF has affiliates in more than sixty cities. Each affiliates has its own name, sets its own agenda and hires its own lead organizer. The various affiliates come together for training and for regional leadership development. For more information on the IAF, visitwww.industrialareasfoundation.org.
The IAF helps build broad-based, non-partisan organizations of dues-paying member congregations, school, unions, business associations, and nonprofits committed to building power for sustainable social and economic change. IAF organizing develops a constituency of leaders to become citizens in the fullest sense: participants in democratic decision-making and agents of the creation of a more just society through the exercise of relational power.
IAF organizations are:
*POWER ORGANIZATIONS committed to expanding the ability of individuals, families and organizations to act on issues of concern.
•ACTION ORGANIZATIONS committed to researching local and broader issues, acting directly on those issues with decision-makers in the public and private sectors, and evaluating those actions.
•TRAINING ORGANIZATIONS where leaders and potential leaders can learn about the skills and concepts necessary to operate effectively in the public arena.
Immigrant Financial Services
IAF organizations are primarily funded by dues from member institutions and do not accept any government funds. The vast majority of an IAF organization’s budget goes to pay the salaries of organizers, with a small portion allocated for one support staff member and the organization’s administrative expenses.
No. The IAF and its affiliates are strictly nonpartisan. IAF organizations do hold elected leaders accountable to the citizens they represent. We value alliances with elected leaders, and welcome their support for the IAF’s agenda. We also publicize their positions on issues important to IAF members, and encourage individuals to use this information in making election decisions.
These books are excellent sources for understanding the history, methods, and successes of IAF organizing.
Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action, and Justice, Edward T. Chambers and Michael A. Cowan, Continuum, 2003
Going Public, Michael Gecan, Anchor Books, May 2004 (Paperback)
Black Social Capital: The Politics of School Reform in Baltimore, 1986-1998, Marion Orr, University Press of Kansas, 1999
Upon this Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church, Samuel G. Freedman, Perennial, 1994
The members of IAF organizations are institutions: congregations, schools (both private and public), labor unions, business associations, nonprofits and neighborhoods and civic organizations that share a concern for families/communities and are rooted in traditions of faith and/or democracy.
In the first instance, IAF relational organizing techniques can be used internally to strengthen an institution, and externally to strengthen that institution’s relationships with its neighbors. While the organization and objectives of every institution are different, many members are able to achieve victories on local and city-wide concerns that they could not realize on their own.How can my organization join WIN?
You will probably want to begin with a series of conversations with WIN leaders, and within your organization, about how membership might help your organization bring change to your community. For more information, contact the WIN office at (202) 528-0815.
Are there other IAF affiliates in the Washington DC Metro Area?
Yes. In Maryland:
BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development)
AIM (Action in Montgomery)
PATH People Acting Together in Howard
VOICE Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement
“Broad-based” organizing brings together a broad base of institutions for power, which we define as the ability to act. These institutions are schools, congregations, labor unions, business associations, and neighborhood associations.
The Iron Rule of organizing is: Never do for somebody what they can do for themselves. The IAF does not bring an agenda of issues to new institutions. Instead, it teaches the skills and practices those institutions need to determine their own agendas, identify and mentor leaders, and act together publicly.
The process begins when a core team of leaders in an institution conduct relational (one-on-one) meetings and small group conversations called “house meetings”. These meetings provide an opportunity for individuals to share their stories and concerns. Through these conversations, leaders begin to understand, value, and effectively tell their own stories and learn how to elicit stories from others. Leaders’ stories are the inspiration for action on their hopes, grief, and values.
The organization’s agenda is set by the institutions that make up the organization. Often, several issues will be identified by a number of institutions, and these will become priorities for the entire organization. Other issues, important to one or a small group of institutions, can become the subject of local action, supported by the entire organization.
IAF organizations work on issues that emerge out of conversations within member institutions. IAF organizations have worked on health care, education, housing, immigration, employment, traffic issues, safety concerns, the environment, and other issues of fundamental importance.
The primary responsibility of organizers is to identify institutional leaders who have an appetite for public action and teach them the skills and practices required for effective, results-oriented public work. Organizers develop the talent within leaders, challenging them to see their potential and the possibilities that can be accomplished through organized collective action.