Through the FaithActs Organizing Institute, a paid six-month program for church members, we train people who are ready to learn the skills necessary to become effective church and community organizers.
Over the course of the program, participants will learn from seasoned local and national organizers, including our executive director, Jamilah Prince-Stewart, David Hunt, principal at David Hunt and Associates, and Anne Watkins, principal at The Watkins Group.
FaithActs is a Black-led organization that has unlocked the secrets of effective organizing, pairing best-in-class principles with the commitment and determination of our churches. Through our Organizing Institute, participants get real-time experience working to change education in Connecticut, and collaborate with other motivated organizers-in-training. Participants develop a set of organizing skills to use on a variety of issues, both within FaithActs and beyond, beginning with the selected education funding issue that forms the backbone of the curriculum.
In partnership with our 100 churches, 11,000 congregants, and more than 6,000 committed voters, FaithActs has achieved significant wins since our founding in 2015 – from local victories around governance, oversight, and funding, to the inclusion of an additional $150 million for education in the Connecticut budget in 2023.
These wins prove that our organizing approach works. With the FaithActs Organizing Institute, we teach our model and take participants through an organizing cycle so we can deepen the impact in the communities we’re honored to serve alongside. We build up leaders from within because we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Together, we build greater power and achieve our most ambitious goal of a Connecticut where all kids have abundant quality school choices.
With our first round of participants, we are equipping two dozen of our own community’s leaders with the tools needed to win better educational opportunities for our children.
Our Theory of Change
- If we organize churches to make public demands of decision makers
- and turn out voters to hold those decision makers accountable
- then decision makers will acknowledge our collective power
- and we’ll win for our kids and our community.
Participants of the FaithActs Organizing Institute focus on building up the churches’ organizing power and organizing infrastructure, which is the foundation for all of our successes.
Who should participate
We are looking for participants who are:
- A leader in the church who has built a strong relationship with your pastor and congregation
- A trusted and respected community leader whose leadership goes beyond the four walls of the church
- Someone who wants to navigate different spaces, from boardrooms to street corners
- Accountable and committed to a 6-month learning process
- Curious about why social and educational inequity persists and passionate about changing that reality
Is this you?
If you are interested in participating in the FaithActs Organizing Institute, please reach out to your pastor.
Training will be conducted in person with some Zoom-only sessions.
- FaithActs’ mission, history of accomplishments, and issue focus
- Organizing 101: Organizing principles, campaign steps, and campaign strategy development
- How to develop a strategy
- How to meet with elected officials
- How to develop powerful tactics
- How to develop powerful tactics
- Coalition building
- How to recruit people
- Media training
- Public speaking training
- Understanding power
- Understanding how your school board works
- Review of the school board’s plans to use America Rescue Plan funds
- How to develop a power analysis of school board members
Outcomes & Benefits
Participating churches will have:
- More church members engaged in building the power of their church and community
- Increased capacity, skills, and engagement within their congregation to have an influential voice in education issues in Connecticut
- Congregants with specialized training and skills that are in demand in today’s job market
- The opportunity for more education-related funds to be directed to the community
Graduates of the Institute will have:
- The FaithActs Organizing Institute as training on a resume
- The opportunity to apply for a full-time position with FaithActs; we anticipate having 2-3 organizing positions open for hiring at the end of the Institute
- Gained a deep and broad understanding of the selected education funding issue
- Learned about education funding sources and education decision-making processes and how they might be applied to the issue FaithActs is working on
- Organizing skills that are in-demand in the job market, to use over the years on a variety of campaigns, within FaithActs and beyond
- Membership in an elite group of Institute alumni
- Financial compensation for their time
FaithActs Organizing Institute Graduates
While running a tutoring business, and seeing children in before and after school care, Keysha witnessed firsthand how kids suffer in school. SHe knows that the right people in power can make lasting change, so she embarked on a journey to make those connections.
At the FaithActs Organizing Institute, Keysha found people who want to fight for that change. She got a sense of work that she didn’t know existed by taking part in leadership-building activities. She and her fellow participants role-played conversations with elected officials, and through this, became aware of the power she holds. An inaugural graduate of our institute, Keysha plans to continue applying what she has learned to make a difference for kids.
Aida is a community outreach coordinator of the Fridgeport food pantry for Kingdom Builders Impact Ministry in Bridgeport. She’s a mother, grandmother, and a proud graduate of FaithActs Organizing Institute.
Aida wanted to develop her skills as a community organizer so that she could be better equipped to make a difference on issues that matter most. She can map her four children’s education journeys by a lottery. Two got accepted through the Open Choice lottery. Two did not. Their academic experiences – in well-funded Weston and underfunded-Bridgeport – could not have been more different. And while her children in Weston got stronger academics, they faced long bus rides and persistent racism. Aida knows no mother should have to bus her child 18 miles to get a good public education.
She builds her skills as an organizer to fight for the change she seeks.