2023 Victories

Transforming Private Pain into Public Outcry...and Real Change


Together Louisiana's Community Lighthouse Strategy Kicks Into High Gear

The launch of seven lighthouses, so far, follows on the heels of a $249 Million federal investment in Louisiana to strengthen grid resilience which will be matched with locally raised money.  The strategy has garnered acclaim from renowned figures and institutions including US Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmThe Guardian, and Pope Francis

Texas IAF Slashes Tax Breaks to Big Oil & Safeguards School Finance

After killing the most egregious corporate tax giveaway program in the nation (Chapter 313), the Texas IAF forced major reforms for state "economic development" incentives during the 2023 legislative session.  Specifically, leaders and allies convinced legislators to reduce maximum tax abatements by 50% and eliminate local kickbacks to the school districts granting incentives.  Moving forward, when tax deals are proposed to local school districts, the process will be more transparent and accountable to the public -- and local voices will matter.


Coloradans for the Common Good and Allies Leverage $29.1 Million in Rental Assistance

Funding will keep 6,000 families housed in the City of Denver and followed multiple meetings, assemblies and press conferences in which CCG leaders communicated the gravity of the crisis to the Mayor and City Council.  In other news:

  • EPISO/BI compelled the City of Socorro to pump the brakes on an arterial route that would entail the destruction of an entire neighborhood.
  • Together West Michigan secured the adoption of a 10% home ownership goal in a new Kent County Housing Fund.
  • DAI tenant leaders drove the City of Dallas to deploy bilingual inspectors to help improve low-income Bachman Lake apartments.
  • AMOS and the City of Des Moines co-launched a new Community Land Trust Advisory Committee with community stakeholders.
  • VIP succeeded in rezoning the Grand Hotel into transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness in Mesa, AZ.   


COPS/Metro Alliance Launches Campaign for LOCAL Gun Safety Reforms

500 COPS/Metro Alliance leaders from 61 institutions challenged San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg to join its Vidas Robadas (Lost Lives) effort and institute local measures to prevent gun-related deaths, including supports for safe storage of firearms.  In response, the City of San Antonio hosted its first gun buy-back program.

  • Texas IAF helped pass HB 12, thus extending after-birth care for low-income mothers from 2 months to 12 months. 


In a public assembly at St. Paul AME, AMOS leaders secured commitments from the new Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) and four school board candidates to expand 'Let’s Talk Now' (AMOS' restorative justice program in schools) into middle and elementary schools, support student mental health, and retain and diversify DMPS' teaching workforce.  At the urging of AMOS, the superintendent pledged to modify hiring practices for people with criminal records to ensure local talent will not be overlooked. 

In Arizona, VIP teamed up with students to tackle teen suicide in Chandler, AZ.  With VIP backing, students testified before a mental health committee to share their experiences and advance concrete recommendations.  In the Tucson area, 80 PCI leaders hosted a civic academy with their state legislator and school district officials to grapple with issues impacting Arizona schools.

Together West Michigan secured commitments from five state legislators for a new $5M mental health student scholarship fund.

Supporting College Students for a Better Future

With students facing unprecedented challenges and costs, leaders are waging fights to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), protect student borrowers and strategize for long-term job training. 

  • Central Texas Interfaith's three-year partnership with Huston-Tillotson University culminated with the formation of Texas' first HBCU Caucus.
  • AMOS celebrated the launch of its $1.8M initiative to pay down as much as $20,000 in student loans for 90 mental health workers in Polk County, Iowa.
  • Tulsa ACTION helped lawmakers craft legislation requiring lenders to disclose the consequences of payment plan changes to young borrowers.
  • Texas IAF succeeded in placing the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) Fund under the purview of the Texas Higher Education Board (THECB) to better support the West/Southwest IAF's labor market intermediary strategy.


Marin Organizing Comm. (MOC) Raises Wage Floor for In-Home Caregivers to $18/Hr

MOC leaders launched a persistent pressure campaign, including live testimony, op-eds, letters and phone calls.  In response, the Marin Co. Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to raise its wage floor for in-home caregivers to $18/hour, a 7% boost.  Leaders pledge to keep fighting for a $26/hr wage.

  • 500 COPS/Metro leaders pressed Mayor Nirenberg for reforms that would put "jobs on the table" for graduates of SA 'Ready to Work'. 
  • At the urging of 140 AMOS leaders, Des Moines Public Schools Supt. Dr. Roberts pledged to reform hiring practices for people with criminal records.
  • CTI decried the amped up speed and lack of transparency in a public subsidy for NXP by the City of Austin.


Pope Francis: IAF Builds 'Atom by Atom'


During a second meeting with Pope Francis, he called our work "atomic" explaining that the West/Southwest IAF addresses issues "atom by atom," eventually transforming entire communities. 

Ivonn Rivera Wins National CCHD Award

Ivonn Rivera of Silicon Valley Sponsoring Committee (SVSC) was awarded the Cardinal Bernardin Leadership Award by CCHD for exemplary leadership in her Westchester-Cadillac neighborhood, parish and community.  An NBC reporter called her a "giant in the community....all 5 feet of her."  

Recognizing the Stranger

On the heels of a convocation celebrating its five-year 'Recognizing the Stranger' strategy for leadership formation and parish organizing, West/Southwest IAF organizations ramped up training in Oklahoma, Texas and California, and forged new partnerships in Michigan and Nebraska. 

Over 300 West/Southwest IAF leaders, religious, clergy, and bishops gathered in San Antonio for a convocation highlighted by a video message from Pope Francis, who offered his “closeness and support” to the network and efforts to organize with those at the margins. 

  • In its first public action since last year's founding, Together West Michigan secured commitments from the Deputy Secretary of State to translate driver's tests into Swahili.  The Grand Rapids Police Chief also committed to helping officers and Spanish speakers better understand ID standards and to build relationships of trust and accountability.
  • OTOC is partnering with the Nebraska Chamber in a call for aggressive recruitment of international workers to expand its labor force (i.e. welcome immigrants). 
  • COPS/Metro convened over 200 parish leaders from 41 institutions and 6 deaneries for Recognizing the Stranger training.  
  • TMO prepared 80 ministry leaders from 21 Catholic and other congregations in English and in Spanish.
  • ONE LA hosted training for 100 leaders from South LA, San Gabriel Valley, Mid-City, and Downtown Los Angeles. 
  • VOICE OKC welcomed Archbishop Coakley to its 'Recognizing the Stranger' training in Oklahoma City

Don't miss the video documenting our 5-year Recognizing the Stranger leadership formation strategy that combines deep reflection on parish mission with the skills of institutional organizing.


West/Southwest IAF leaders are putting their faith in action, prevailing against odds to improve life for their families and neighbors.  Recent examples include: 

  • house meetings under the sukka, with reflections on the Los Angeles housing crisis, hosted by Temple Isaiah and One LA-IAF
  • recognition by Bishop Mark Seitz of EPISO/BI's partnership with the El Paso Diocese's synod - and celebration of Fr. Ivan's invitation to global synod;  
  • an inaugural parish identification event in which ten PCI churches celebrated the building of trust with Tucson and Pima County law enforcement;
  • a church and police neighborhood walk where Bishop Greg Kelley, DPD Chief Eddie Garcia and DAI / St. Pius leaders knocked on doors;
  • pledges for collaboration from Ankeny School Board candidates during a nonpartisan accountability session organized by AMOS;
  • recognition by Catholic Bishop Greg Gordon and Methodist Supt. Timote Piukala of NCG's Who Is My Neighbor? conversation campaign; 
  • engagement between 500 TMO leaders and leading candidates for Houston Mayor during a nonpartisan assembly;
  • explosive storytelling by Valley Interfaith leaders challenging the Brownsville Mayor to address health impacts of Milwhite plant operations;
  • church and school district engagement with parents around the prevention of bullying in a VOICE-OKC foro educativo (civic academy);
  • 500 signups (and counting) gathered by OTOC church and union leaders in support of paid sick leave in Nebraska; 
  • a campaign by Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) leaders to build power to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags their city.
  • a 150-person accountability assembly with Jefferson Co. Public School candidates to address school understaffing near Denver.
  • a night walk led by Silicon Valley Sponsoring Committee with the San Jose Vice-Mayor and police to illustrate neighborhood concerns.  



Bishop David O’Connell, beloved leader with the IAF and One LA, passed away February 18th. His attention to the development of parish leaders strengthened congregations and built institutional power. Most recently, Bishop Dave played an instrumental role in the 'Recognizing the Stranger' initiative sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Fr._Alfonso_Guevara.jpgFr. Alfonso Guevara a long-time clergy leader with Valley Interfaith, passed away on February 10. He worked for many years to help ordinary men and women do extraordinary things with their parishes in communities along the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

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We were saddened to share that former IAF organizer Kevin Courtney died on October 19, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona.  Kevin organized with the West / Southwest IAF for more than 20 years, and he was the Lead Organizer for EPISO/ Border Interfaith (El Paso) and PCIC (Tucson, Arizona).  He left this earth a better place.  More here.