Published in May 2019, “Strengthening a Nascent Field: Lessons from the Building Leadership and Organizing Capacity Initiative” documents the impact of PFF’s BLOC Initiative on CT’s youth organizing landscape. It also outlines the lessons we learned along the way and key takeaways for funders interested in advancing social change.
BLOC, which began in 2013, was crafted in direct response to the infrastructure gaps identified in PFF’s field scan “A New Role for Connecticut Youth: Leaders of Social Change.” Drawing from the results of a participatory evaluation conducted by Dr. Dana Wright the report describes the contemporary youth organizing landscape in Connecticut, the impact of BLOC on the organizational and organizing capacity of BLOC partners, successful campaigns launched by BLOC groups, and the emergence of new youth-led coalitions anchored in a racial justice analysis and fueled by a movement mindset. The report also outlines five practices that will advance philanthropic efforts to meaningfully invest in organizing, capacity building, leadership development, and field building.
1. Take the long view.
2. Rather than focusing on proving efficacy, ask organizations to commit to learning and evolving over time.
3. Start by asking organizations to “be” together, rather than “do” together.
4. Directly engage the constituents of the organizations you are supporting, including young people.
5. Interrogate your role and how you hold power.