(Congregation or Faith Based Community Organizing)
Building Democracy for the New Millennium
Interfaith Funders

Building Bridges, Building
Power: Developments in
Institution-Based Community
by Richard L. Wood, Kathryn
Partridge, and Brad Fulton,

Faith-Based Community
Organizing: The State of the
by Mark R. Warren and
Richard L. Wood, 2001

(To order the above Interfaith
Funders publications, use the
contact us" form.)

Explore Community
Organizing further:

Our Resources page offers
links to organizing networks,
funders and others to guide
your exploration of IBCO
(CBCO, FBCO).  Check out
our extensive
list of books
and articles.
A force for democracy is growing in the United States.  The
uninvolved are participating, the voiceless are speaking, and the
powerful are beginning to listen.  Blacks, whites, Hispanics and
Asians are working together to secure living wages, affordable
housing, great schools, health care, safe neighborhoods, and
much more for their families and communities.  And in the process,
people of all faith traditions are building strong new relationships
across barriers that normally keep people apart.  Largely outside
of the media spotlight, these efforts represent a growing force for
change: congregation-based community organizing (CBCO)

Congregation-based community organizing groups (sometimes
called faith-based, institution-based, or broad-based) bring people
together primarily through their religious congregations, but also
through unions, community organizations, and schools.  In 2012,
Interfaith Funders surveyed these organizations and found nearly
200 organizations active in 40 states.  There is likely an CBCO in
a city near you!

Please do not confuse faith-based community organizing with the
social service agencies described in former President Bush's faith-
based initiative!  FBCO (CBCO) groups do not receive federal
funds.  They see as their role to develop leaders, build a strong
web of relationships, and turn those relationships into a civic
power capable of making change to promote public good.  These
community organizing groups have won billions of dollars to
improve the quality of life for low and moderate income people,
through thousand of new homes, health care, quality schools,
urban clean-up, and more.

This model of community organizing began with Saul Alinsky, who
founded the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).  He coined the

Iron Rule of organizing Never do for others what they can
do for themselves
. While CBCO groups do vary, they typically
engage in a proven and effective organizing strategy with roots in
Alinskys work. There are currently four major networks of CBCO
that provide strength, training, and strategy for local

Want to know more?  Interfaith Funders offers several
publications on Congregation (or Faith) based Community
Organizing.  As funders and denominational leaders experienced
in CBCO, were familiar with the questions and can offer some
answers about this growing force that is building democracy for
the new millennium.  Please
contact us.