The West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation is a network of broad-based institutional organizations building power to revitalize our democracy for constructive social and economic change. We are part of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation's first and largest network of community organizations.

Learn more about Who We Are.

Read below for recent victories. Click here for more extensive News Coverage.

Click here for coverage of Covid-19 responses.



...the City of San Antonio in partnership with District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran and COPS Metro are giving away free gun safety boxes.

People can get the boxes from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday at Southside Lions Senior Center, 3303 Pecan Valley Drive.

In a news conference on Tuesday, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the City secured $200,000 to purchase 4,000 gun safety lock boxes to be distributed in the community.

[In photo: COPS/Metro leader Rev. Rob Mueller of Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church.]

City of San Antonio Set to Give Away Free Gun Safe Boxes This WeekendKSAT [pdf]


City consultants, the energy provider and major industries did not see how they would benefit from this project. Consultants for the city of New Orleans conducted a study in 2018 to determine the viability of community solar projects and an appropriate rate for reimbursement. But their calculations were so low that no one applied, including the Sisters of the Holy Family, who could not envision the low rate of return as financially feasible for them.

So the Sisters of the Holy Family and Together New Orleans met with the local energy provider and members of the city council, "every one of them, all seven," according to Costa, and were finally able to move the city council to vote in October 2023 for a more sustainable rate of reimbursement that would benefit the sisters and their neighbors.

Up until then, according to Bagert, "the program existed on paper, but not a single solar project had been created in New Orleans. We would be a test case. This is the only viable solar project in the South."

[Photo Credit: Kevin Fitzpatrick, Earthbeat]

Holy Family Sisters Plan 22-Acre Community Solar Project in LouisianaEarthbeat (a project of the National Catholic Reporter)

On this International Worker's Day, Coloradans for the Common Good (CCG) leaders, led by members of Centro de los Trabajadores, and labor allies celebrated a major step forward in the protection of immigrant workers. 

At the urging of CCG and labor allies, Denver City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to extend subpoena power to the Denver Auditor in matters of wage investigations. Companies accused of wage theft may no longer simply pay a small fine and move on when accused.  This power means stronger enforcement of Denver's wage protections and more money for the workers who earned it.

This victory was built on hundreds of conversations with immigrant workers who shared painful stories of wage theft and disrespect in the workplace. 


Ortencia Ramirez, a member of OneLA (a local IAF group) started organizing in her parish because “all my life, I saw the struggles in my community,” she says. One day at church, a man who was involved in organizing made an announcement that resonated with Ramirez: “He said, ‘I wanted to make a difference, I just didn’t know how. I knew in my faith that I should be doing more for our community, but I didn’t know where to start.’ ”

Ramirez has been organizing for close to 20 years. “What’s kept me interested after all these years in organizing is the difference that I see that it makes in our community in L.A. County. I see the fruits of our labor,” she says. “The leadership training has helped me listen to people and take their issues on. It’s made me more of a public person because I’m very shy. Without my faith, I wouldn’t be doing community organizing.”....

Community Organizing Is Synodality in ActionUS Catholic [pdf]


"Catholic social teaching isn't ideological," [Bob] Fleming said. "It says, 'Go out to the people, talk with them, understand them, let them tell you what's going on.' "

....[Sr. Pearl] Ceasar shares Fleming's sentiment about the compatibility of Texas IAF's work and Catholic social teaching. In the 1960s, she studied the documents of the Second Vatican Council, which she said greatly impacted her outlook on the responsibilities of individual Catholics and the Catholic Church.

"Vatican II didn't address the doctrines of the church; it addressed the relationships in the church and who we are to be as Catholics," Ceasar said. "Meaning that we are to be engaged with people, we are to be engaged in the community."

For 50 years, Texas IAF Organizing Group Has Drawn on Catholic RootsNational Catholic Reporter [pdf]

In a major step towards establishing trust between local law enforcement and immigrants, and with the support of Bishop Weisenberger and local law enforcement, Pima County Interfaith officially launched the first printing of parish identification cards in Tucson.  Participating law enforcement, including Sheriff Chris Nanos of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and Assistant Chief Diana Duffy of the Tucson Police Department, reassured PCI that they could be trusted to accept the IDs.  With this in mind, they encouraged parish ID holders to report when they are victimized or witnesses of crimes.   

Bishop Edward Weisenberger of the Catholic Diocese of Tucson supported the strategy while Monsignor Raúl Trevizo spearheaded the action at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.  While over 300 people attended orientations to receive IDs over the last few months, leaders from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church limited the issuance of parish IDs to 60 for this inaugural event.  Leaders are scheduling parish ID events in other local parishes.

Sec. Granholm: Community Lighthouse Resilience Hub is "testament to the power of grassroots organizations"

Together Louisiana-IAF was joined by US Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at a celebration marking the launch of their seventh and largest Community Lighthouse Project at New Wine Christian Fellowship in LaPlace, Louisiana. 

The launch follows on the heels of a $249 Million federal investment in Louisiana to strengthen grid resilience, announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The funding will be matched by $249 Million in locally raised funding.

On Tuesday, Coloradans for the Common Good (CCG) leaders gathered with allies from the Denver Metro Tenants Union and the Community Economic Defense Project, in addition to the Denver Mayor and 8 members of Denver City Council, to celebrate the city's historic investment of $29.1 Million in emergency rental assistance.

This investment is expected to keep 6,000 families housed who would otherwise face eviction and comes after months of CCG organizing, including a mayoral forum in May with 350 attendees, a press conference on the issue, and countless phone calls, emails, and meetings with elected officials.


The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has named Ms. Ivonn Rivera of the Diocese of San Jose as the recipient of the 2023 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award. Each year, this prestigious award from the CCHD recognizes a young adult who demonstrates leadership in fighting poverty and injustice in the United States through community-based solutions... 

Ms. Rivera is a wife, mother, and community leader in San Jose. As a member of her parish’s organizing team with Silicon Valley Sponsoring Committee (SVSC), which receives funding from CCHD, she organizes monthly Misas del barrio, helping to bring the Eucharist to those affected by vandalism, gangs, drugs, and violence. The Masses are paired with listening sessions, which uncover community concerns and identify potential new leaders. Through the parish’s work with SVSC, Ivonn has led efforts to raise community needs with local officials.


In a 4-3 vote Nov. 6, Mesa City Council approved a controversial plan to buy the Grand Hotel near Main Street and Power Road for emergency transitional housing for vulnerable populations....

A large contingent of people from the Valley Interfaith Project showed support by rising and standing in silence as a leader, Bethany Lambrecht, spoke in favor of the purchase....