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

    California IAF Celebrates Victory on Tenant Protections

    Leaders Applaud AB832 for Keeping Families Housed & Rental Assistance Flowing Thousands of leaders across California Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) organizations celebrated a new deal announced by the Governor and state legislators to extend the state’s eviction moratorium and rent relief program that was set to expire June 30, 2021. The California IAF specifically applauds State leaders for: Extending the eviction ban to September 30, 2021 Paying 100% of overdue rent and utilities paid for landlords and tenants Providing up to18 months of rental assistance for past and future rent Allowing either tenants or land lords to receive funds Forestalling evictions until rental assistance applications are attempted On June 3rd, 2021, over 600 California IAF leaders convened on Zoom -- along with Catholic Bishop Oscar Cantú (whose op-ed can be read here), Episcopal Bishop Lucinda Ashby and two state legislators -- to call for an extension of the eviction moratorium and expansion of SB91 to allow more flexibility with rental assistance distribution to keep families housed.  California IAF organized hundreds of phone calls and emails to State Senators, Assembly members and the Governor asking for more time and flexibility to get funds to families who missed rent due to the pandemic. “California IAF leaders are pleased our state legislators acted to protect our families from eviction and provide 100% of rent owed.  Our thanks go to Senators Caballero, Durazo, Laird and Weiner and Assemblymembers Chiu, Bloom, Reyes and Santiago for leading the charge on behalf of our families," said Rabbi Paula Marcus of Temple Beth El, Aptos.  "We would have preferred a 6 month extension, but we will turn our focus now to local organizing meetings so our families understand their rights and how to apply for rental assistance.” “By sharing our stories with state agency staff and legislators, our recommendations were accepted to allow for easier income verification and tenants with informal leases to be included as eligible for assistance.  By making future months of rent available, this will allow tenants like me to be able to cover my rent while I pay off the debts to my family and credit card that I took on to keep my landlord paid,” said Lourdes Rios, COPA leader in Santa Cruz County. Central Coast Reacts to the Extension of the Eviction Moratorium, Noticias Ya [video in Spanish] Oped by Bishop Oscar Cantú: California Must Release Rent Funds and Stop Evictions, Mercury News  Santa Cruz County Housing Advocates Seek State Eviction Moratorium Extension, Santa Cruz Sentinel [pdf] Local Leaders Ask for Extension of Moratorium on Evictions in California, Telemundo [en español] [pdf] California IAF Action on Renter Protection, California IAF Hundreds of Advocates Urge Gov. Newsom to Expand SB91, Good Times [pdf] With Assistance Lagging, State Must Extend Rental Eviction Moratorium, Santa Cruz Sentinel [pdf] Hundreds of Advocates Urge Gov. Newsom to Expand SB91, The Pajaronian [pdf]  
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    Time of Transition: Ernesto Cortes Jr. Moves to New Role as IAF Sr. Advisor

    JOE RUBIO TO BEGIN AS IAF CO-DIRECTOR Dear IAF Leaders, Organizers, Allies and Friends --After over 50 years organizing and building the West/Southwest IAF region, Ernesto Cortes Jr. will be transitioning from IAF Co-Director to a new role as IAF senior advisor. Mr. Cortes officially submitted his transition plan to our Board in January, and he and the IAF Board have carefully planned this process over the past year. We are also pleased to announce that Joe Rubio, long-time IAF senior organizer, will succeed Mr. Cortes as Co-Director effective July 1, 2021. Mr. Rubio, who has organized and supervised IAF projects in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado, will join Martin Trimble, IAF’s other Co-Director, who succeeded Mike Gecan in 2019. The IAF Board is deeply grateful for Mr. Cortes’ leadership and work to build the modern IAF in the West/Southwest, developing some of the most powerful and enduring non-partisan, broad-based citizens’ organizations in the country. We are gratified that, as a senior advisor, he will continue to offer seasoned guidance for organizer formation, leadership training, and development of the region. Under Mr. Cortes’s leadership, the West/SW IAF has grown to 30 member affiliates, beginning in the early 1970’s with the founding of Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS) in San Antonio, which pioneered institutionally based membership organizations. Since then, West/Southwest IAF won transformative victories to bring billions of dollars in major infrastructure improvements, education finance reform, health care, immigrant rights, and workforce training, among others. These victories have dramatically changed the face of communities throughout the region. Even more importantly, these IAF organizations have identified and trained thousands of leaders who learned to enter public life and create long-term change. As you all know, there is only ONE Ernesto Cortes, and his contributions have been irreplaceable. We look forward to honoring and celebrating Mr. Cortes’ IAF leadership at a collective celebration sometime in the near future when we can all gather together in person. Sincerely, IAF Co-ChairsGeorgianna GleasonBishop Douglas MilesBishop Joel Martinez
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