| Program: || Rebuilding Community Campaign, Denver, CO |
| Contact(s): || John Gaudette, Director: (303) 433-6859 |
| Purpose: || To build strong and effective community organizations capable of responding to community needs |
In 1991, church and community leaders in the Denver area came together to discuss the problems facing low-income and moderate-income families. The group decided that an organization must be developed to create a powerful voice for families. The Metropolitan Organizations for People (MOP), created to develop this voice, is a multiethnic, congregation-based community organization founded in 1991. MOP consists of 14 local organizing committees with members from seven denominations representing 34,000 families in Denver, Commerce City and Englewood. Of those families, 34% are Hispanic/Latino, 36% are African American and 30% are white. MOP is part of the Pacific Institute of Community Organizations (PICO), a national network of 30 congregation-based community organizations. The newest MOP campaign, the Rebuilding Community Campaign, began in 1997 with the goal of bridging the cultural and socio-economic diversity of Denver while building new leadership and surfacing new issues in low-income communities throughout the Denver metro area.
Metropolitan Organizations for People works through local organizing committees, which use dialogues to create opportunities for individuals to respond to the needs of their families and participate in the improvement of their community. The Rebuilding Community Campaign focuses on empowering people in the local neighborhoods. Through one-on-one visits with neighbors and fellow congregation members, the campaign attempts to expose major concerns facing families, identify potential new leaders from the community and examine the cultural diversity of Denver. Community members are trained by MOP volunteers and members of the local organizing committees to reach out and listen to the fears and frustrations of neighbors, discuss how the problems affect their families and challenge them to get involved. Active participants in the campaign receive leadership training and control the direction of the organization. As these leaders do more and more one-on-one visits and build a team of neighbors, they are trained in doing research to better understand why the problems exist and what can be done. Also, leaders are trained in how to run meetings, make agendas and develop a powerful and efficient organization that can operate at different levels of power and decision making.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
MOP has trained over 400 leaders who work to maintain and strengthen the local organizing committees. 40% of the leaders trained are Hispanic/Latino, 35% are African American and 25% are white. MOP has also developed local organizing committees at 18 church communities throughout the Denver area, and held 68 public meetings attended by over 20,000 neighbors and private officials. As of 1998, more than 300 one-to-one visits have been conducted, with a projected total of 2,500.