Why NVUU Joined Common Ground

NVUU decided to become a member of Common Ground, committing 2% of annual pledges ($2600 for 2016-17) as an investment in building a community power base.

 

Common Ground fits into NVUU’s social justice efforts

This partnership . . .

  • Aligns with our Long Range Plan goal to increase our community visibility. We want to serve people in our larger community, especially our hungry, homeless, needy, and our Latino/Latina neighbors. We want to create a bridges between ourselves and our conservative neighbors.
  • Aligns with our 2015 decision to focus on improving economic justice. Common Ground is devoted to empowering people. They believe a healthy democracy requires active participation of ordinary people. Working with economically disadvantaged people striving to improve the safety of their neighborhoods and the quality of their schools will include working toward economic justice.

 

Common Ground is the Solano & Napa County branch of the Bay Area Industrial Arts Foundation (IAF).

IAF, founded in 1940, is the nation’s largest and longest-standing faith and community-based organization network. IAF created the modern community organizing model, helping congregations partner with civic organizations to achieve lasting community change. Common Ground is an affiliation of local organizations identifying projects with broad community support.

Common Ground Member Institutions Include:

Common Ground’s goals are:

  1. To build strong relationships within and across our communities
  2. To equip members with leadership and organizing skills
  3. To act powerfully together on concrete community issues

 

Common Ground measures success with a triple bottom line

  • Are we growing the power of people to act on their values?
  • Are we developing leadership?
  • Are we bringing about change?

 

 

Current Common Ground focus areas include . . .

Solano County successes:

  • Convinced the Fairfield School District to hire a Spanish speaking liaison to parents
  • Obtained subsidized bus passes for low income Benicia school kids

Current Vallejo focus areas:

  • Educating Vallejo school board candidates
  • Encouraging the Vallejo Police Dept. to switch to community policing

The process starts with a “campaign of conversations”, with members sharing stories. Training is provided at every stage. Building relationships is fundamental and foundational work. In order to establish a well aligned organization in Napa, it may take up to 2 years to develop the necessary infrastruction.  “Why are you coming to this work?” is one of the first planned conversation topics. During our development process, we will be able to participate in active Solano County projects immediately as they are well established.

This endeavor will require an increase in volunteer effort.  Many activities will be different from anything we have done before. We hope these novel opportunities will attract people who have not yet participated in Social Justice. We will develop an NVUU Common Ground leadership team and engage the entire congregation in order to bring good sized numbers to community meetings.