Monday, March 16, 2009

Meet a Community Organization: Family Support Network

Today we will examine the Family Support Network as we continue out Meet a Community Organization series. You can find out more about the Family Support Network at

The Family Support Network, founded in 1993, seeks to connect caring neighbors with one another through community weaving projects, acting as a catalyst to manifest a culture of living democracy, and connecting people to one another and to resources in order to promote healthy, joyous, prosperous and fear-free communities in which individuals may thrive and empower one another. This group does a great job of fostering a spirit of community organizing with continuous family and community building activities.

You can contact the Family Support Network at or you can call at 206-240-2241 or 425-820-2224.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Looking for Jobs in Wisconsin!?!?

In light of the massive job layoffs, and with my home state of Wisconsin being one of the hardest hit in the nation, I asked around for any employment opportunities in Wisconsin.

As it turns out, the Urban League of Madison, WI, holds an 8 week free training program. This program trains people to become medical document staffers. They told me that graduates of the program easily find jobs within the health care industry with pay starting at $10-$12 an hour. If you are interested send me an email at

Monday, March 9, 2009

Meet a Commuity Organization: The Gamaliel Foundation

In today's segment of Meet a Community Organization we will examine a community group recently thrust to center stage: the Gamaliel Foundation. You can contact the Gamaliel Foundation at

The Gamaliel Foundation was swept up by the presidential campaign since one of their former organizers, Barack Obama, was on his way to winning a historic election. Gamaliel Foundation is a national community based organizing network. They organize around issues such as health care reform, jobs, immigration, and transportation. This is a well known and very credible organization operating in several states.

You can contact the Gamaliel Foundation at

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reassessing Measuring Social Sector Success

I've been reading Jim Collin's distinguished book, Good to Great, and the accompanying monograph Good to Great and the Social Sectors.

He makes an important point for all of us involved in any social sector organization: knowing how to assess and separate our inputs from out outputs. Too many of us make the mistake of assessing our performance by assuming our inputs are the same as our outputs. For example, most people analyzing a non-profit with a high percentage of its budget allocated for administrative, fund raising, and salary costs would think that this group is performing poorly since not enough money is not going to its "mission". The problem with this analysis is that for social sector groups money is an input not an output. Therefore, it is possible for an organization, such as a community's orchestra group, to have relatively high admin costs, but to produce stellar musical shows, attract large audiences, change the morale of a community, be invited to exclusive festivals, etc.

In this case, the outputs for the orchestra group would be measured by the quality of music, show attendance, impact on community feeling, etc. Therefore, according to these measures they would be fulfilling their mission. If each community group could develop a set of quantitative and/or qualitative output measurements to assess their ability to fulfill their mission, then this would be a better gauge of whether high input costs such as money for administrative purposes are justified.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Meet a Commuity Organization: Grassroots Global Justice

We continue our examination of community organizing groups by taking a look at the Grassroots Global Justice organization. You can find GGJ online at

Grassroots Global Justice is organizing to push an agenda for poor and working people. They see themselves as part of a larger global movement for justice and actively seek to build relationships with other like minded groups in the US and abroad. Recently, they have focused on job and economic issues in light of the economic downturn.

You can reach Grassroots Global Justice at