remove systemic barriers to the practice of democracy by encouraging the efforts of people who are working together for justice and the common good;
encourage involvement in community affairs by people whose participation has been systematically denied; and
foster the active participation of all citizens in crafting a vision, values and policies that are more equitable, to guide the operation of our country.
The Needmor Fund has identified community organizing as the most effective means for achieving these goals. Community organizing is “a process through which historically disenfranchised people can build power, can address the systemic barriers to the practice of democracy, can hold public and corporate officials accountable for their actions, and can begin to participate in shaping public policy.”
The Needmor Fund seeks to support community organizing groups with the following characteristics:
organizes low and moderate-income people: recruits and engages members from historically disenfranchised communities.
membership-based and democratically run: dues paying members determine the agenda of the organization.
leadership development: develops and trains a cadre of strong grassroots leaders.
multi-issue: addresses issues of race, immigration, poverty, economic justice, and low-wage work.
engages in direct action: has a power analysis and clear plan for winning concrete victories that alter the relations of power in its community.
balances issue work with base building: effectively links issues to building organization and power.
builds power: has a larger vision to aggregate power, taking on bigger policy issues and expanding its base of allies to increase its impact over time.
well managed: has a financial and fundraising plan, engages in strategic planning, and has strong leadership and lively governance.