“Community Organizer” Defined

To the millions of people who work and volunteer in the Community Benefit Sector, who have felt your life’s work disparaged as you watch the political news these past few days, I offer the following definition of “Community Organizing.”

Community Organizing is work done to fix the messes made by those who run our nation’s businesses and governments.

Community Organizing is done by both secular and faith-based groups – places filled with people of wisdom and compassion, who put the needs of others ahead of their own need for material wealth. It is the most noble work anyone can choose to do.

This is the work that makes Dimitri and me proud, every day, that we have dedicated our lives to helping such “community organizers” as homeless shelters, environmental protection groups, youth programs. It makes us proud every day for having founded the first Diaper Bank in the nation, and then founded a second one because the need was so great.

And it makes us realize that if there were ever a time to stop calling the work we do “Nonprofit” and start calling ourselves “Community Benefit Organizations,” that time is now.

3 Responses to “Community Organizer” Defined

  1. Thanks Hildy for this post. I was fuming when I heard how certain speakers at the RNC carelessly discarded the work of community organizers.

    You’re absolutely right in your definition; if the powers at be did their job and did it well, the communities wouldn’t need to rely on themselves. Perhaps the big-shots in Washington (and elsewhere) should spend a little more time in the communities and amongst the people. They might learn a thing or two.

  2. Romina:
    Having read the post at your blog about feeling helpless and hopeless on Friday, I can’t help but note the connection between a week filled with hateful speech and your state of mind at the end of the week!

    (As an aside the BBC cited a recent study that the adage “sticks & stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you” is untrue – that the effects of nastiness last far longer than broken bones. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7587780.stm You are in good company!)

    I just wish those of us doing Community Benefit work didn’t always have so much work to do, regardless of who is in power…

  3. Thank you, thank you! I was waiting for someone to point out the tremendous insult to those of us trying to make our communities a better place to live. To the best of my knowledge (and experience) community organizers achieve far more tangible results than politicians. Community organizers truly respond to the needs of their consituencies! Politicians could take a lesson.

    See you in Grand Rapids!