About IAF

Industrial Areas Foundation

The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) is the oldest and largest national, institution-based, community organizing network in the United States. Founded over sixty years ago by Saul Alinsky, the IAF works with 62 institution-based community organizations across the United States, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany.  These organizations have produced impressive results in training thousands of African-American, white, Latino and Asian, poor, working and middle class leaders to take action on community, city and state issues.
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.
Living Wage. Conceived, designed, and passed the first living wage law in the country in Baltimore in 1994. The second bill was the work of the IAF affiliates in New York City in 1996. Since then, IAF affiliates in Texas, Arizona, and elsewhere have passed living wage legislation.
Nehemiah Housing.  Built and sold 5,000 new, affordable, owner-occupied homes in parts of Brooklyn, the South Bronx, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. , as well as created a $25 million annual dedicated fund for affordable housing in Montgomery Co., Maryland.
School Reform. Alliance Schools are engaging thousands of parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders in communities all across the southwest and west. IAF established partnerships to run seven city schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn and forged an agreement with New York City to build a state-of-the-art campus for four new high schools in the South Bronx.
Large Scale Blight Removal and Revitalization. Successfully negotiated with the Washington, DC government to commit $550 million to redevelop neighborhoods, won a $295 million bond bill from the city of Philadelphia to rehabilitate blighted communities, and negotiated a $59 million fund for redeveloping neighborhoods in Baltimore.
After School Programs. Established a model after-school program in Baltimore, serving more than 1,200 students in 10 schools
Immigrant Issues. Developed a partnership with Citizens Bank in Boston to enable immigrants to send money home to their families for minimal fees. Launched a joint campaign in North Carolina to press community colleges to provide in-state tuition to immigrant high school graduates. Pressing the Federal government to open a full service INS office in Montgomery County, MD—where a majority of the state’s new immigrants reside. Organized successfully to overhaul bilingual education in New York City in 2003.
Health Care ExpansionLed a state-wide coalition that won a nationally heralded victory for universal health care in Massachusetts in 2006. Applauded the introduction of insurance coverage for all the children in Illinois — a program called All Kids.  Added to a 2002 health care expansion initiated and won by the IAF affiliates in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, this means that Illinois has become one of the nation’s leaders in providing health care options to the vast majority of its formerly uninsured residents.
WIN is part of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). Metro IAF is made up of 22 broad-based citizen, power organizations in the northeast, southeast, and mid-west, including five organizations in the Maryland/DC/Virginia region:
Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), Washington, DC
Action in Montgomery (AIM), Montgomery County, Maryland
Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD), Baltimore, Maryland
People Acting Together in Howard (PATH), Howard County, Maryland
Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), in Northern Virginia      
NEHEMIAH HOUSING– Metro IAF created and implemented the nation’s first Nehemiah housing effort –- building 2,900 new townhouses in blighted areas of East Brooklyn. Another 1,000 Nehemiah homes have been built in Baltimore and 147 in Washington, DC.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING— AIM led the drive to establish Montgomery County’s Housing Initiatives Fund, which since 2001 has committed $140 million to affordable housing and in FY 2010 will have $58 million to support affordable housing projects. The HIF will increase to $80 million over the next two years. VOICE organized to preserve Fairfax County’s $20 million housing fund in FY 2010 and to maintain Arlington County’s and the City of Alexandria’s 2009 affordable housing funding in FY 2010.
LARGE-SCALE NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION – In 2006, Metro IAF pressed for a $100 million bond in Baltimore to remove blight and rebuild target neighborhoods in East Baltimore. Metro IAF won $1 billion to revitalize District of Columbia neighborhoods–a major portion of these monies from a community benefits fund created from concessions won by Metro IAF as part of a recent Major League Baseball stadium financing agreement.
AFTER-SCHOOL – Metro IAF organizations created the first authority dedicated to after-school programs – the Child First Authority in Baltimore. Today. BUILD/Child First works with hundreds of children and parents in 15 schools.

– Metro IAF designed and passed the nation’s first living wage laws in Baltimore in 1994 and in New York in 1996. Today, similar legislation, sponsored by other groups, exists in nearly 100 communities.

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)


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