The IAF focus on face-to-face engagement grounds network organizations in local needs and interests.
Local stories, research, discussion and action define IAF organizations in distinctive ways. Although there are patterns of issues common to many of the organizations in the IAF network there is no central command directing what local leaders decide to take on. As a consequence IAF organizations look different, present differently, emphasize their own defining vision, plan and action.
The outcomes generated by deep local grounding are typically generational in nature and evaluated on that basis. The contrast with trend hopping, poll tested angles of vision and judgment is sharp. Going deep and local requires what Ernesto Cortes, Jr calls “iterative” behavior, returning again and again to the relational work described in “Unpacking IAF Strengths Part 1”.
Community institutions - congregations, non-profits, schools, unions, business organizations - connect with IAF organizations in ways that both strengthen the institutions themselves and build collaborative power for constructive action.
ACTA Publications, has published a series of useful booklets on IAF organizing for relational power including "Effective Organizing for Congregational Renewal" by IAF Co-Director Michael Gecan and "Rebuilding Our Institutions" by IAF Co-Director Ernesto Cortes, Jr. You may want to read these and other ACTA publications to gain more depth of understanding of how IAF works.
For clergy primarily, take a look at Rev. Art Gafke’s new book - Strong Ministry. It’s very solid and inspiring. Rev. Gafke (United Methodist) has rich experience as pastor, denominational executive, leader and organizer/colleague.
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