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 Programs
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.
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. He served as Executive Director for most of GPP's history, stepping into an advisory role at the start of 2019. 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.
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 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.
Tammy Bang Luu
Senior Strategist, California
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.
Senior Strategist, Minnesota
Dave has been working with GPP for over a decade on strategy development and strategic practice. 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. Dave served as a Co-Director of the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action, and later participated in the creation of TakeAction Minnesota.
Senior Strategist, Working Families Academy
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, including the Working Families Party. His writing has appeared in The Nation, Jacobin, In These Times, n+1, and New Labor Forum.
GPP Board of Directors
- Kimberly Freeman Brown. KFB Consulting
- Adria Goodson. Pahara Institute
- Richard Healey. Grassroots Policy Project
- Charlotte Ryan. Media Research and Action Project and the 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