What We Believe
At the heart of our work is a vision of radical, participatory, and inclusive democracy. We believe governing power should reside with diverse communities and workers. We believe social and political life can be organized around principles that recognize the intrinsic worth and value of all human beings. We believe we are stronger when everyone participates fully in our political, social and economic institutions, and when everyone enjoys the benefits of our shared prosperity. Further, we believe that creating this kind of inclusive, democratic society requires ongoing engagement on the part of diverse coalitions of groups in society, including and especially, leadership from communities of color.
Our work is informed by critical analysis of political, economic and cultural systems, with special attention to structures and practices that perpetuate historic injustices. At this moment we think it is critical to understand the rise of neoliberal political-economic regimes and the role of race and especially structural racism in shaping our institutions.
Our Core Work
GPP was founded and began working with social change groups in 1993. We saw a need to bridge the gap between those who were doing policy analysis and those who were doing base-building and organizing. As groups started incorporating our frameworks, we saw more clearly how organizing groups can get stuck on a treadmill of short-termism. We began to focus on the organizational structures and relationships that can move groups beyond fragmented work toward advancing more coherent political programs for transforming our society. Another way of describing our purpose is: helping to build a powerful progressive movement that is more than the sum of its parts, that has the power to promote a progressive agenda, and that moves a progressive worldview into state and national political discourses.
How We Approach Our Work
GPP weaves theory into practice by mining the best ideas from social and political sciences, as well as from history, including the histories of social movements. We apply these ideas to actual organizing—base-building, coalition-building, networking, campaign and electoral work. We evaluate groups’ experiences applying our frameworks, which leads to further refinement, new ideas and new applications.
Our programs are designed to help organizations link their short-term organizing and campaign work with their mission and with the fundamental questions of economic and political democracy and racial and environmental justice in our society. We work with groups that are committed to shifting resources and priorities towards a long-term strategy. We believe that a set of long-term goals for social transformation can change how groups work day-to-day.
We undertake long-term work with specific organizations. We have found that activists and leaders appreciate the concepts related to power, worldview, and strategy. However, though they like these ideas and want to adopt them, it is hard to change organizational priorities, practices, and culture. So we work closely with organizations over time, helping them change internal cultures in order to achieve more strategic practices.
Who We Are
Richard founded the Grassroots Policy Project in 1993 to advance organizational and social movement strategy and practice using frameworks for power, worldview and ideology and strategic inquiry. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Richard was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements. From 1970 to 1982 he helped found and lead the New American Movement, a democratic socialist organization involved in many local organizing efforts, including housing, energy and full -employment. Richard also became involved in community environmental health organizing. During the 1980s Richard was involved in disarmament and anti-intervention activities. He was Director of the Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policy and Nuclear Times magazine. He also served as Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and was a co-founder of the Study Circles Resource Center. Richard is a board member of the Center for Social Inclusion, the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, the See Forward Fund, and the One World Fund. He is an advisor to the Solidago Foundation.
María Poblet learned community organizing in San Francisco's mission district in the 90s, after being politicized in East LA, and training as a poet and Artistic Director of Poetry for the People under June Jordan. She was instrumental in building Causa Justa :: Just Cause, aggregating the power of 3 different neighborhood-based Latino and African American organizing groups into a single, multi-racial powerhouse in the SF Bay Area. As founding Executive Director, she led the organization in groundbreaking work building cross-racial solidarity against the displacement of immigrant and black communities. She is Chicana and Argentine, with a trajectory that includes leadership in the development of Bay Rising, the US Social Forums of 2007 & 2010, the Right to the City Alliance, and the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. She is a co-founder of the US chapter of the World March of Women. María joined GPP in 2018, to link movement building and strategy development on a larger scale.
Director of Strategic Education
Harmony Goldberg is a political educator and facilitator who has worked closely with social movements around the United States for more than twenty years. She was a founder and former Co-Director of SOUL: the School Of Unity and Liberation (www.schoolofunityandliberation.org), a social justice movement training center based in Oakland, California. She has provided political education, strategic facilitation and writing support for a number of local organizations and national organizing networks, including the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Social Justice Leadership, the Right to the City Alliance and, most recently, with People’s Action. She worked closely with the Bertha Foundation for several years, which exposed her to models of political education used by social movements in the global South. Harmony is a founding editor of Organizing Upgrade (www.organizingupgrade.com), an online strategy journal for left organizers in the United States. In 2015, she completed her PhD in Cultural Anthropology at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Her research focused on organizing among domestic workers in New York City, focusing on the work of Domestic Workers United.
For the past 15 years Dave has worked in partnership with community organizations and labor unions to develop the long-term strategies and concrete shorter-term plans necessary for creating significant change. One key component of this work, locally and nationally, has been helping organizations develop and act from public narratives about themselves and their work that are grounded in a set of values, beliefs and assumptions that are often different than those that dominate public discourse. Dave has 40 years of experience with issue and electoral campaigns, grassroots organizing and education, coalition building, public policy, leadership development, participatory education curriculum development, strategy development, fundraising, organizational management and organizational development.
Since 1994, Sandra has been a core member of the GPP team, developing curriculum materials and frameworks for staff and leaders of community, labor and faith-based organizing networks. As part of her work with national networks and statewide groups, Sandra provides strategic analysis on housing, healthcare, taxes and budget issues, labor and criminal justice policies and more. Sandra’s analytic approach incorporates a ‘strategic inquiry’ framework that aligns short-term issue campaigns with longer-term opportunities to advance more structural reforms. Sandra got her start in community organizing in Memphis, Tennessee in the late 1970s. She became involved in labor organizing in the 1980s and worked with unions on healthcare reform in the early 1990s.
Charlene works with local and national organizations to develop a comprehensive grassroots organizing and political strategy. For over 20 years, Charlene has been a community organizer, network-builder, educator, mentor and thought-leader. As a socially-engaged seminarian, Charlene explores the intersection of class, race and faith, and brings this into her work to advance human liberation. Charlene is the founder of the Center on Race, Religion and Economy Democracy and the Director of Reinvestment for the Center for Community Change.
GPP Board of Directors
- Kimberly Freeman Brown. KFB Consulting
- Adria Goodson. Hunt Alternatives’ Prime Movers Program
- Richard Healey. Grassroots Policy Project
- Charlotte Ryan. Media Research and Action Project and University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Department of Sociology
Get In Touch
Grassroots Policy Project
1515 Oxford Street
Berkeley, CA 94709
E-Mail: info [at] grassrootspolicy [dot] org