As many of you know, at the last meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Gamaliel was awarded a Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Strategic National Grant. We are pleased to announce that we have received funds from CCHD and are now in the process of launching an initiative to identify and develop new organizers across the network.
This initiative is a critical piece of our long-term plan to build a more powerful, more sustainable national organization, while remaining faithful to one of our core values—keeping power and authority based in the grassroots, in faith communities, and in the people most impacted by the injustices we seek to upend. We are particularly grateful to USCCB for their investment and commitment to faith-based community organizing and to our network.
The new organizer development initiative is designed to identify and develop the next generation of organizers in the Gamaliel Network, while “deepening” our bench of experienced and talented organizing staff. One of the goals of this initiative is to position affiliates to hire more “second organizers” in projects that currently have only one, ultimately increasing our capacity to build an organized base in areas that do not yet have one.
The CCHD grant will be used to hire, train, supervise, and mentor these additional organizers in states that are building toward state-level power. Gamaliel will work with multiple affiliates to hire organizers at around the same time in order to establish cohorts of new organizers who will grow and develop together.
In addition, the CCHD grant has been used to identify and hire an Organizing Director who will have the responsibility of overseeing the new organizer development initiative. We are pleased to announce that we have hired long-time Gamaliel organizer, Juan F. Soto, Executive Director of Gamaliel of Metro Chicago, Director of Gamaliel’s Civil Rights of Immigrants Department, and a senior trainer for the network. Some of you may know that Juan is also studying currently at Catholic Theological Union, working toward a Master’s degree in Pastoral Studies. We welcome Juan to this new role in the Gamaliel Network!
All states will have the opportunity to apply to secure a new organizer who will be part of one of the cohorts. The criteria for applying along with more detailed information about the recruitment and cohort processes will be released in June.
Let us continue to raise up ordinary people who do extraordinary things!
Rev. Dr. John C. Welch, Chair, Gamaliel Board of Directors
Ms. Ana Garcia-Ashley, Executive Director, Gamaliel Network