About

Community Change is a national organization that builds power from the ground up. We believe that effective and enduring social movements must be led by those most impacted by injustice themselves. Since our founding in 1968, we have built the power of people most marginalized by injustice — especially people of color, women, immigrants, people struggling to make ends meet — to envision and fight for a society where all communities thrive.

Who We Are

Our mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change the policies and institutions that impact their lives.

Vision

All people and communities thrive as low-income people of color, immigrants, and women wield power to reshape our democracy and our economy to be just, equitable, and inclusive.


People

Our work centers the leadership of people directly affected by injustice:

  • People struggling to make ends meet and especially people of color.
  • Women and especially women of color.
  • Immigrants and especially immigrants of color.

Principles

  • Freedom to thrive in a nation where everyone — all people, families, and communities — have the power to shape the conditions that affect their everyday lives.
  • Radical inclusion that informs new rules for our political economy and opens opportunities and wealth that have been too long denied to Black and brown people, immigrants, and women simply because of their race, gender, and nation of origin.
  • Equity-driven policy that focuses the government’s power on fostering dramatically more fairness in the distribution of wealth and on checking corporate power.
  • Innovative government that challenges the market’s monopoly on big ideas and delivers the services residents need.
  • True democracy that no longer favors the wealthy, in which communities hold their representatives accountable and civil society flourishes.

Community Change Action

Our sister advocacy organization brings other tools and dimensions of power to our shared fight. Learn More.

Our Future: Path to Power

To create the conditions for transformational, structural change, the social justice movement must dramatically rebalance power in this country. Path to Power is our plan to do just that. Watch how we’re stepping into our vision for the future.

Community Change began to implement our strategic plan in 2018. It reorients our work toward a single overarching goal: by 2033, we will dramatically improve the material conditions for people struggling to make ends meet in the United States, particularly women and people of color. A crucial benchmark for us will be to enact a bold governing agenda at the federal level by 2025 on issues of economic and racial justice and immigrant rights.

Our strategy is to create the conditions for transformational change that moves us in the direction of justice, equity, and an inclusive democracy and economy. That vision requires:

  • People power that resides in Black, brown, and immigrant communities;
  • Community organizing models capable of engaging directly affected people at scale;
  • A bold governing agenda rooted in a new common sense for our political economy;
  • An electorate that looks more like the country.

Our History

Community Change was founded in 1968 by leaders of the civil rights, labor, and anti-poverty movements. We were born into the chaos and heartbreak that followed the deaths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, as a living legacy to the senator. Our founders’ vision and their charge—to build power through grassroots leadership, to challenge the government to be a force for good, to focus on poor people, especially poor people of color—are just as relevant today as at the time of our birth.

Throughout the past five decades, Community Change has focused our work on strengthening the field of community organizing. We have incubated hundreds of grassroots community groups and trained thousands of grassroots leaders. We have pioneered new methods to bring grassroots leaders into civic life by nurturing emerging social movements, bringing community organizing into large-scale voter turnout programs, and launching national issue campaigns led by the grassroots.

We have won significant anti-poverty victories including:

  • Major new investments in affordable housing;
  • Expansions of refundable child tax credits and the food stamps program;
  • Policy changes that drove billions of dollars of private investment to communities of color;
  • Good jobs at scale delivered by new models of organizing and campaigns.
  • Helped mobilize millions of people to win Obamacare and defend the social safety net from radical attacks.

In 2018, we marked 50 years of organizing and advocacy:

Our Partners

The magnitude of change we envision simply cannot be achieved without a robust set of partners capable of wielding power at the local, state, and national levels. We seek to build a movement that is bound together by common purpose and solidarity across race, gender, and immigration status.

We partner with community organizations and grass roots voices across the country. Through technical assistance and strategic support, we strengthen our partners’ capacity for tactical and strategic innovation, organic leadership, narratives that work, and a deep and nuanced understanding of power as it actually operates in our current world.

Building and strengthening coalitions of grassroots groups — and uniting these coalitions to wield power — is a crucial component of our work. We work with these groups in shared projects that benefit from flexibility, accelerated learning, and radical experimentation.

The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) is a network of 47 local and state immigrant rights groups in 35 states fighting to achieve an America that is a place of freedom for all. Launched in 2004, FIRM has played a pivotal role in the modern immigrant rights movement and today represents the largest coalition of grassroots immigrant rights groups in the country.

The Black Freedom Collective (BFC) is a growing network of groups organizing Black communities in seven states and the District of Columbia. These organizations are fighting to transform the historical racial and economic structures that prevent Black people from thriving. Across the differences in the BFC’s organizations, campaigns, and membership, its members are united in a demand for significant and long-term investment in Black communities.

Resident organizing networks build the power of people impacted by the lack of affordable housing so that they can shape state housing and homeless policy. Community Change’s Housing Trust Fund Project pioneered a model of state resident organizing networks with partners in California and Washington. In both states, the model has delivered historic state level revenue and policy wins that expand housing opportunity for the most economically vulnerable..

Coalitions of grassroots groups bring together our partners to strategize and share best practices on campaigns related to key issues of economic justice, such as expanding access to affordable and high-quality child care; expanding anti-poverty programs; and exploring new policies to support people struggling to make ends meet.

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