As still another electoral cycle in the USA plays out, questions again arise about the consequences of a process driven by ever bigger donors, inane campaigns and zero clarity from candidates about how to pull the nation together.
Rather than abandoning hope, it’s a good a time to consider what IAF brings to the table of democratic renewal.
Six major strengths of IAF are generalizable network wide:
IAF organizations are built on face-to-face relationships.
IAF’s focus on face-to-face relationships grounds network organizations in local needs, interests, institutions and money.
IAF organizations consistently initiate, sustain and evaluate creative solutions to complex, even apparently intractable, problems.
IAF organizations are obsessive about understanding power relationships in order to fight for recognition and strategic advantage.
IAF organizations sharpen the tension between the values of member institutions and their real world behavior.
IAF organizations invest in the development of the skills of leaders and organizers, conceptual and practical, that translate into public action, evaluation and reflection.
Frank C. Pierson, Jr.
Frank Pierson retired after forty years of work with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) as a professional organizer. He began his career in 1971 in Chicago, moved to Queens, New York City and migrated west to work in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. He resides with his wife, Mary Ellen Kazda, in Oracle, Arizona. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org