How We Organize

Broad-based, institutional organizing

COPA is a broad-based organization consisting of member institutions. We are an organization of institutions, not individuals. Individuals come and go, but institutions such as churches, congregations, synagogues, schools, unions, and membership-based nonprofits are vessels of relationships among people with shared values of faith, democracy, solidarity and traditions of mutual obligation within the life of a community. We organize across institutions to bring together a diverse cross-section of the region, rich and poor, immigrant and citizen, English-speakers and Spanish-speakers, and people of any creed and race. Individual institutions have limited power to change the social, economic and political constraints on their families, but collectively, a mix of institutions can organize around mutual interests to achieve change for the common good.

There are 3 responsibilities for membership in COPA:

  1. To build a core team of leaders responsible for organizing within the institution.
  2. To participate in the broad-based organization of institutions.
  3. To pay membership dues.

For more information about membership in COPA, contact the COPA Office to speak to a leader or organizer. 

COPA organizes to develop leaders with power to take effective action in public life. The organizing cycle starts with conversations to build trust, identify interests and most importantly, to identify leaders with a desire for self-development to take effective action on behalf of their community. One-on-one meetings are held by COPA organizers and other primary leaders while house meetings are groups of 8-10 leaders held within the member institution.

Based on issues identified through individual meetings and house meetings, strategy teams will then conduct Research Actions. The purpose of Research Actions is to build relationships with public officials or private sector leaders, understand their interests and explore possible solutions. A Public Action is a public meeting of COPA leaders and the official(s) or private sector leaders to make public a negotiated agreement and demonstrate an exchange of power around a particular issue and plan of action.

Following every action or meeting, leaders take time for Evaluation as a means of learning and leadership development. Leaders reflect with the organizer on what was gained, what could have been done better, how did leaders change and grow, and strategize on the next steps.


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