NFG Community Organizing Toolbox

colist-admin at colist-admin at
Sun Apr 22 21:08:57 CDT 2001

[ed:  David invites us to what I think is a worthy and important 
discussion. The original message to which he responds is reprinted below.]

From: "David M. Chavis" <dchavis at>

Does the headline of this press release strike others as strange? I don't
doubt the accomplishments. I have conducted research to support the claims
of these achievements. It seems odd that theories and experts are the basis
for comparison for community organization success, especially when there has
been for a long time solid theory, experts and research supporting community
organizations roles in these areas, but who ever claimed that an expert
directly created jobs or prevented crime? Yet, Alan Greenspan may argue that
academic theories and experts have been very effective. Why do so many in CO
have such great disdain for knowledge and expertise?


-----Original Message-----
From: colist-admin at
[mailto:colist-admin at]
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2001 9:20 AM
To: Colist at
Subject: NFG Community Organizing Toolbox

At 09:20 AM 4/10/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>A COMM-ORG "colist" message
>All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
>[ed:  the report below is linked from the COMM-ORG "CO Funding" page.]
>From: Pat Taylor <pat at>
>Success Depends on Community-based Citizen Action,
>not "Expert" Consultants, Academic Theory
>WASHINGTON, DC - April 3, 2001
>The Community Organizing Toolbox, released today by the Neighborhood Funders
>Group (NFG), details the achievements of community organizing groups
>nationwide in creating jobs, combating crime and reforming schools. The
>Toolbox is the first-ever comprehensive review of the community organizing
>field for grantmakers.  It will help foundations exploring and investing in
>community organizing make informed decisions in their grantmaking.
>Spurred by philanthropic interest in the growing field, NFG spent two years
>developing The Community Organizing Toolbox. Community organizing strategies
>are making a difference in neighborhoods that are often forgotten or
>ignored - faith-based organizing by Communities Organized for Public Service
>(COPS) in San Antonio; issue-based coalitions such as The Campaign for a
>Sustainable Milwaukee; and direct membership organizing by groups such as
>the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
>According to the report, they are also developing the leaders who are
>finding solutions to the issues facing their communities.
>Each successful campaign came about because neighborhood residents were the
>decision makers and leaders of community-based action. "The increased
>sophistication and clout of community organizing groups at the local, state
>and national levels is drawing the attention of policy makers, the media,
>elected officials, and grantmakers," said NFG member Henry Allen of the
>Hyams Foundation.
>The two dozen or more regional and national organizing networks which
>nurture and support over 6,000 local community organizing groups all look to
>grassroots people - not the government, business, academics, the media or
>anyone else - to set their own priorities. In Minneapolis, the Lyndale
>Neighborhood Association worked to transform a crime-infested, transient
>community into one of the most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods in the city
>with new housing, revitalized retail areas and community-based services for
>families and children.
>In Los Angeles, the Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates (KIWA) has become the
>voice for the working poor in the Korean community. From the reinstatement
>of employees who are wrongfully terminated to an industry-wide labor
>agreement with the Korean Restaurant Association, KIWA has helped workers
>improve the quality of their lives and those of their family members and the
>entire community.
>The Neighborhood Funders Group is a national membership association of
>grantmaking institutions working to increase support for community-based
>efforts to organize and improve the economic and social fabric of low-income
>urban neighborhoods and rural communities. The Toolbox is available online
>at or by calling 202-833-4690.
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