Who We Are

Founded in 1940, the Industrial Areas Foundation is the nation's largest and longest-standing network of local faith and community-based organizations.

The IAF partners with religious congregations and civic organizations at the local level to build broad-based organizing projects, which create new capacity in a community for leadership development, citizen-led action and relationships across the lines that often divide our communities.

The IAF created the modern model of faith- and broad-based organizing and is widely recognized as having the strongest track record in the nation for citizen leadership development and for helping congregations and other civic organizations act on their missions to achieve lasting change in the world.

The IAF, which includes the West / Southwest IAF and Metro IAF, currently works with thousands of religious congregations, non-profits, civic organizations and unions, in more than sixty-five cities across the United States and in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.


  • Latest from the blog

    IAF, Texas Orgs Raise Alarm on Impact of Executive Order on Undocumented Immigrants

    [Excerpts]  Whenever [TMO leader] Father Carmelo Hernandez makes a live appearance on his church's YouTube channel, he asks the same question each week: "Have you filled out your census form?" The parishioners of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Houston are largely Hispanic, undocumented or of mixed status, living in one of the most diverse cities in the nation. Hernandez has spent months using his pulpit to demystify the census, disentangle the misinformation and quiet the fears that congregants have about being counted. But news that President Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday that would exclude many of his parishioners from congressional apportionment is enough to scare them back into invisibility, he said. To them it is proof — against Hernandez's many efforts to the contrary — that the census is a trap and should be avoided. .... Tuesday’s memo comes as the Census Bureau begins outreach to the nation’s hardest-to-count groups, including immigrants. If the government is seen as trying to disadvantage them, some might be less likely to respond to the survey, immigrant advocates said. “This is an order designed to sow fear and mistrust between peoples and becomes a matter of life and death as the US battles a deadly pandemic,” said a statement from the Industrial Areas Foundation, a group that works with churches and organizers in the West and Southwest to educate and support minority communities. .... Soco[rro] Perales, an organizer with Dallas Area Interfaith, said that organizers will continue to encourage immigrant families to cooperate with the Census. “That information cannot be shared” with immigration authorities, she said. “Everybody still needs to be counted and it is still safe.” [Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan, AFP / Getty Images] Some in Texas Fear Trump Ban on Undocumented Immigrants in Census is Scare Tactic to Suppress Count, Washington Post [pdf] Trump Administration Seeks to Bar Undocumented Immigrants From a Portion of the 2020 Census, Washington Post [pdf] New Trump Order Excluding Non-Citizens From Census Could Cost Texas a Seat in Congress, The Dallas Morning News [pdf] Statement on today's Executive Order, Industrial Areas Foundation
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    Michael Gecan: Recovery Will Take More Than Money

    The pandemic offers Americans a chance to look hard at the ways in which government has failed society—but also a chance to do something about it. [Excerpt] Until the pandemic arrived, I had been spending about four days a month in southern Ohio. It’s a rural area roughly 100 by 100 miles, bounded by the Ohio River on the south, the Indiana line on the west, Chillicothe to the north, and Athens to the west—home to 350,000 residents. For someone like me, Chicago-born and -bred, who has lived and worked in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, and points in between for the past 40 years, driving from town to town and hamlet to hamlet, with appointments often 60 miles apart, was an entirely new experience. I began this effort because I had long thought that the kind of organizing that my colleagues in the Industrial Areas Foundation and I practiced, begun by Saul Alinsky in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago, had settled into urban and metropolitan areas, but had largely avoided rural communities. This was not a conscious decision or a conscious strategy. It was a drift. But the drift worried me. I kept looking at electoral maps and seeing a sea of red in the center of the country, in Ohio counties like Ross and Scioto and Gallia counties that once had been home to the United Mine Workers union and that had been mixed politically, but that now leaned strongly to the right. I hadn’t concluded, as some progressives had, that these counties were so conservative, so reactionary, so racist, that they weren’t worth thinking about.... Recovery Will Take More Than Money, The Nation [pdf]
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