This report, the first in a series about organizational "5% shifts", includes two case studies of community building efforts by nonprofit organizations in Detroit and New York City. St. Matthew’s & St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church’s hot breakfast program in Detroit offers a model of a small shift in engagement with community members seeking healthy meals in the midst of an urban food desert. Their decision to shift from using a soup line mode of serving individuals to serving groups with shared ‘family-style’ meals leveraged the power of ritual around meals, which are both nostalgic and deeply affirming, to transform dynamics between clients and volunteers. But more importantly the shared meal time became a way to model the kind of community the church envisions for Detroit—one of mutual aid, sharing and abundance. The other case—Queens Community House—provides an example of community building among staff. The organization took on the challenge of fostering relationships among staff; not to boost morale and retention, but to live its values and principles in all parts of the organization.
Sean Thomas-Breitfeld kicks off our series of blog posts focusing on our slate of upcoming reports on the "5% shifts" in nonprofit work and social service provision that lead to organizations raising up constituent voice, fostering community cohesion and increasing engagement in advocacy efforts. In this post, Sean reflects on his own volunteer experiences growing up in Milwaukee, and how they compare to the work highlighted in Detroit.
Too often in the nonprofit sector, service providers, advocates and organizers have little opportunity to connect on a personal level, learn from each other and collaborate on cross-cutting issues. Given this reality, a group of nonprofit professionals – representing an array of organizations and approaches – is interested in working more closely together to increase their collective impact for lasting social change that builds the voice and power of New Mexico’s vulnerable children and families. In order to move this process forward, we are seeking to contract with a part-time “Service and Social Change Coordinator” who will help guide the organizations who have committed to collaborate, and build out the project for future opportunities to grow and expand.
The Uniting Detroiters Project is seeking submissions from current and former Detroit residents, activists, students, scholars, visual artists, poets, and cartographers for Detroit: A People’s Atlas. They are interested in critical essays, oral histories, timelines, neighborhood maps, poetry, photographs, and other forms of artwork that speak to social justice in Detroit, particularly in relationship to land, governance, education, food justice, housing, and transit.
As part of Building Movement Detroit's Uniting Detroiters project, the BMP Detroit team is building a "People's Atlas"- an interactive set of resources that will serve as a multimedia illustration of the progressive movement in the city. On August 10th of this year, community residents and project participants came together to discuss citizens' right to the city, collective power, and new political geographies emerging in Detroit. The discussion of these ideas was framed by a series of existing and participant-created maps of the city, giving participants the opportunity to think about space and place differently. Check out this video, put together by the planning team, to see the results!
Our partners in Detroit have recently launched an exciting new resource for the progressive movement in the city- BuildingMovementDetroit.org. this new web portal seeks not only to capture all of the great work that the BMP Detroit team is doing, but also serves as a communal landing page for other organizations and activists who are working to build a movement for social change in Detroit.
In July, 2012 William Copeland and Rayven Roberts represented EMEAC at the Accountable Community Governance Convening held by the South by Southwest Experiment in Jackson, Mississippi. This event, to be held at The Commons on Thursday, August 30th from 6-8pm, will serve as a community report back. But furthermore will be a discussion about what does Accountable Community Governance look like in Detroit.
Please join the BMP Detroit team for the second Uniting Detroiters Convening on August 10, 2012, at the Solanus Casey Center (1780 Mount Elliot Street) from 10am to 3pm to discuss our right to the city, collective power, and new political geographies emerging in Detroit.