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Congregation Based Community Organizing

 

The promise of community, and the testimony of organizing, is that we will discover resources in such abundance that not only will the community discover its capacity to meet its own needs, but our own spirits will be fed in the process.

-Jef­frey Kre­hbiel, From Crowd to Community

Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO) Addresses Homelessness and the Affordable Housing Crisis

Congregation Clapping

More than 600 Durham CAN leaders met to ensure county commissioners fulfill their commitments of affordable housing at 300 and 500 E. Main Street sites. (Photo provided by Durham CAN)

CBCO is a grassroots organizing approach for rebuilding communities, revitalizing congregations, and developing individuals into effective leaders and change agents. There are over 180 CBCOs across the country, and gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering allows PHP to fund these groups during their start-up phase or in their on-going efforts to address affordable housing and homelessness. PHP provides approximately $100,000 in annual grants to CBCOs, making it one of the top funders of CBCOs in the nation.

People at tableCBCOs provide a vehicle for churches, schools, unions, and non-profit organizations to carry their concerns and values into public life, as they create policy and access funds to improve their communities. These coalitions around the country have established a track record of highly successful campaigns and leveraged billions of dollars. To give just one example, in Washington, D.C. last year, the Washington Interfaith Network spearheaded efforts to increase investment in housing by $150 million in the District of Columbia budget.

Read about the CBCO model and about how PC(USA) congregations have been revitalized through involvement in these coalitions:

Watch a video segment about the role of CBCOs in creating more affordable housing and addressing systems that result in homelessness.


Stories about Congregation-Based Community Organizing

Affordable Housing is Coming to the Heart of Durham, NC
Durham CAN, an alliance of nearly 30 congregations, associations and neighborhoods, have spoken up about the critical need for affordable housing in their community. Their collective voices have been heard.

Read more →

Community Organizing Energizes Largest African-American Church
Listening and Doing (James 1:22) By Deborah Agbor-Tabi When I joined St. James Presbyterian Church in Charleston, South Carolina, many things were new and fascinating. St. James is the largest African American congregation in the denomination and has always been involved with the community in areas such as recreation and social events, working with the…
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Community Organizing Brings Affordable Housing to Elgin
Four percent of the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering is used to address homelessness. The lack of affordable housing is one cause of homelessness as well as a root cause of hunger and poverty in the United States. Congregation-Based Community Organizing has a great track-record of successfully pushing towns, cities and counties to finance…

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“And what does God require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8

““The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Congregation-Based Community Organizing is a part of the Presbyterian Hunger Program and is supported by gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing

Congregation-Based Community Organizing

Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO) is a strategy for rebuilding communities, revitalizing congregations and developing individuals into effective leaders and change agents.  There are over 180 congregation based community organizations across the country, and through a percentage of OGHS funds, PHP has provided funding for most of them, either in the start up phase or in their on-going efforts with affordable housing and homelessness. These organizations provide a vehicle for churches, schools, unions, and non-profit organizations to carry their concerns and values into public life, as they create policy and hold those in power accountable for their decisions.

Below are a few articles and resources on community organizing.


Thanks to One Great Hour of Sharing gifts, more people are experiencing a decent place to live

Affordable housing coming soon to the heart of Durham, N.C.

Building Bridges, Building Power: Developments in Institution Based (InterFaith Funders, 2012)
The State of the Field study provides an up-to-date picture of the field of institution-based community organizing and draws on data from Interfaith Funders’ 1999 study to show how the field has changed over the last decade.

CBCO Bibliography (2013)
A brief listing of books related to the history and practice of community organizing.

“Community organizing has provided tools for church members to be effective leaders and has been a catalyst for positive social change”

—David Thornton, Grace Memorial United Presbyterian Church

Congregation-Based Community Organizing Grants

Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO) is a strategy for rebuilding communities, revitalizing congregations and developing individuals into effective leaders and change agents. A CBCO is generally a coalition of congregations (usually interfaith in nature), service providers and community groups whose common mission is to listen to community residents, identify critical issues and respond in strategic ways that affect the quality of life of the community.

The Presbyterian Church has been a catalyst in the evolution of this movement since its inception in the 1950s. The denomination has been one of the major funders nationally and hundreds of congregations have been involved at the grassroots level.

Many CBCOs are related to national training networks (such as IAF, DART, PICO and Gamaliel) or they may be more independent in nature and training. What they share is a commitment that acting in the public arena from a faith perspective is critical in holding institutions accountable for building a just society.

CBCO START UP GRANTS

These grants fund new community organizations that are less than three years old. These grants are committed for one year at a time and an organization is eligible for a maximum of three years of funding. They do not have to be consecutive year grants. The grants are typically from $5,000 to $7,000.

CBCO HOUSING GRANTS

These funds support the organizing and advocacy work of CBCOs in the areas of homelessness and affordable housing. The grants are specifically focused on the kind of public policy and economic strategies that effect a municipality or state. Congregations and housing non-profits are not eligible for these grants unless they are part of a regional or national CBCO network. These grants are only committed for one year at a time, but a CBCO is eligible for a total of five years of funding for housing/homelessness-related initatives. The grants are typically from $5,000 to $7,000.  

Applications are by invitation only and the May 31 is the annual deadline. Only applications submitted online will be considered. Decisions regarding grant awards for the following calendar year will be made at the Presbyterian Hunger Program Advisory Committee in September. Please contact Andrew Kang Bartlett at 502-569-5388 to discuss grant eligibility.

Community Organizing Network Training Grants

Grants are available for community organization training efforts of large national training networks and smaller regional training events. These networks generally provide training slots for Presbyterian leadership at national training events of the major networks, such as IAF, PICO, DART, Gamaliel Foundation, and IVP.

Applications are by invitation only and the May 31 is the annual deadline. Only applications submitted online will be considered. Decisions regarding grant awards for the following calendar year will be made at the Presbyterian Hunger Program Advisory Committee in September. Please contact Andrew Kang Bartlett  502-569-5388  to discuss grant eligibility.


Registration Reimbursement for Individuals Attending Community Organizing Training

The Presbyterian Hunger Program can provide a reimbursement of $100 (for registration and/or travel expense) to help Presbyterians attend training events run by the national networks of community organizing (such as IAF, PICO, DART and Gamaliel Foundation). We encourage you to seek matching support from your congregation or presbytery. If the training exceeds three days the reimbursement may be up to $200.

Reimbursement applications are accepted throughout the year. All applications must include a current W-9 form and a letter of support from your congregation or presbytery. Contact Andrew Kang Bartlett or 502-569-5388 with questions and/or to receive the application and W-9 forms.