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
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 Praxis
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.
Tammy Bang Luu
Director of Programs
Tammy Bang Luu Immigrated from Viet Nam as a child and grew up in Seattle, received a BA from University of Washington and was involved in the 1999 anti-WTO Seattle protests. She graduated from the Strategy Center's National School for Strategic Organizing in 2001. She served on the National Planning Committee for the US Social Forum in Atlanta in 2007 that brought over 12,000 people representing 1,000 organizations and in Detroit in 2010, which drew over 18,000 people representing 1,700 organizations. Tammy is also on the Coordinating Committee of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.
Prior to joining GPP, Hashim was the Program Director for the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing, where he led initiatives to build greater strategic alignment within the youth organizing sector and sharpen their approach to power and long-term strategy. Hashim was initiated into social justice organizing in 2008 when we began working as a community organizer with the Miami Workers Center. After leaving the Workers Center, he served as the Executive Director of the Power U Center for Social Change. Hashim is a graduate of Florida International University, having earned his BA in Sociology & Anthropology and an undergraduate certificate in Women’s Studies.
Operations and Finance Manager
With her extensive experience in financial administration and operations management, Tyger creates infrastructure, policies and practices that strengthen GPP’s organizational health and resiliency. Tyger works hands-on with program staff, helping everyone stay organized as they manage multiple projects. Her attention to detail and broad vision helps her accomplish the immediate tasks while keeping our organization moving towards our long-term goals. She is driven by a deep love of people and a desire to see individuals and groups exceed their potential. Tyger graduated from Mills College with a degree in English, and has a background in literary arts education. When she is not working, she is KonMari-ing her house.
Ted Fertik comes to GPP with years of experience in electoral strategy and worker organizing, in addition to academic training. He was New York Campaigns Coordinator and then Oregon State Director for the Working Families Party. While a graduate student in History at Yale University he was part of the rank-and-file leadership of GESO (now Local 33 of Unite Here), the long-running campaign to organize Yale's graduate teachers and researchers. He completed his PhD in History in 2018 with a dissertation on the international economics and politics of nationalism, globalization, and US global ascendancy in the interwar period. At GPP his work focuses on political education and ideological development with partner organizations. His writing has appeared in The Nation, Jacobin, In These Times, n+1, and New Labor Forum.
Priya Johnson was politicized young and has been fortunate to work with and learn from communities around the world fighting bravely on many fronts of struggle. Through her early organizing work in North Philly, she worked with youth to push for education justice and an end to the school to prison pipeline. Most recently she was the Political Coordinator for Grassroots Global Justice where she helped lead movement building work and strategy with international and domestic allies, like the Rising Majority, It Takes Roots and the World March of Women. She also oversaw the development of radical political education, including overseeing and facilitating a series of national Feminist Organizing Schools to help grassroots membership better ground in an analysis of patriarchy. Priya now joins the GPP team with her heart set on helping support grassroots social movements to grow their power and build strategies to win.
Lucía Oliva Hennelly
Lucía Oliva Hennelly is an interdisciplinary problem solver and collaboration catalyst passionate about generating solutions at the intersections of climate change and social justice. As a climate activist, trainer, and facilitator, her expertise lies in cultivating authentic, resilient collaborations that enable us to meet the demands the ecological crisis places on us individually and collectively. Prior to joining GPP, Lucía spent more than twelve years on electoral, immigration, and climate and clean energy campaigns and policy advocacy, and she holds a Master of Science in interdisciplinary environmental science and policy from Stanford University. Lucía is also the Founder & Facilitative Director of Reconstitute, an initiative dedicated to evolving consciousness and culture for the rising generation of climate justice leaders. Originally from Santa Fe, NM, Lucía is now based at Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji, a Rinzai Zen training monastery in the Catskill mountains.
Dan McGrath’s work centers on supporting leaders and building strong organizations to make long-term structural change. The values that guide his work are racial and gender equity, people centered governance and decision making, humor, humility and curiosity. For 12 years Dan served as the founding Executive Director of TakeAction Minnesota, a nationally recognized multi-racial coalition. TakeAction Minnesota’s coalition work with other leading Minnesota-based organizations is nationally respected as a model for state-based alignment. Dan also served as a Community + Political Organizer and later as Executive Director of Progressive Minnesota. He also led the get-out-the-vote program for America Coming Together in Minnesota in 2004 and organized school bus drivers with SEIU International. Dan’s international experience includes work at the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation in the Republic of Ireland, and at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA). He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife and three children where they camp and cross-country ski as much as possible.
Amy Vanderwarker brings several decades of work in the environmental and climate justice movement to her work at Grassroots Power Project. Prior to GPP, she worked as the Co-Director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, where she helped develop a grassroots alliance of community-based organizations advancing statewide policy solutions.
GPP Board of Directors
- Kimberly Freeman Brown. KFB Consulting
- Libero Della Piana. Alliance for a Just Society
- Isabel Vinent Grimany. Florida Immigrant Coalition
- Milena Velis. Movement storyteller, filmmaker, organizer and educator.
Richard Healey and Sandra Hinson
Richard Healey founded GPP in 1993 and served as Executive Director from 1993 to 2000, when he became the Executive Director of the Preamble Center, and again in 2004-2018. Richard has been involved in peace, justice and disarmament work, civil rights, and workers rights struggles for over 60 years. He has served as the ED of the Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policy, and the Institute for Policy Studies. Sandra Hinson joined GPP in 1994 and has served in multiple capacities over the years, including as Executive Director from 2000 to 2004. Sandra was active in labor and community organizing from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. She has worked on policy analysis and development for housing justice, universal healthcare and criminal justice reform.
GPP Contact Form
Grassroots Policy Project
1400 Shattuck Ave, Ste 12, #148
Berkeley, CA 94709
E-Mail: info [at] grassrootspolicy [dot] org