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What We Do

Grassroots Organizing Institute

Long-term Systematic Change

Our Grassroots Organizing Institute (GOI) supports reproductive and social justice organizations to build power for policy and systems change while working to achieve sustainability for the long haul. That’s exactly why Lanita Morris, Senior Program Manager leads this work.

Sista Fire

Meet Grassroots Organizing Institute Grantee Sista Fire

SISTA Fire was a key organization in the passing of the Rhode Island Doula Reimbursement Act. Through the Act, doula services are reimbursable by every Rhode Island insurance and Medicaid plan, increasing access for families and creating a pathway toward a living wage for working doulas. The Act also raised the Medicaid reimbursement for doula services from $800 to $1,500, which is the highest reimbursement rate in the country.

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mijente

Long-term, Systematic Change

Groundswell Fund believes that the greatest win for reproductive justice and social justice in the U.S. is not any single policy, legal or electoral victory.

While RJ organizations have been organizing in their communities for years and winning impressive gains, many of our grantees have told us they could be winning bigger and more often if they had an opportunity to strengthen their organizing power.

The GOI aims to provide organizing fundamentals along with tailored coaching support for each participating organization. The GOI program equips participating organizations with the skills and abilities to explore Integrated Voter Engagement (IVE) work should they choose to after graduating from the program.

Image courtesy of Mijente

What does participating in the GOI look like?

Each participating organization will receive the following:

  1. Grant support:
    • A $50,000 general support grant to cover a portion of the staff time needed to participate in the GOI and meet the programmatic benchmarks and goals.
    • A $20,000 grant to cover costs of base-building and direct outreach field programs.
  2. Political education: Ongoing education rooted in race, gender, class, and decolonization lens to create a shared understanding of the theories, strategies, and foundational texts that unify “organizers” across sectors. The education will be integrated so that the skills-building trainings and workshops are a part of the theory-to-action continuum.
  3. Convenings: Intensive, in-person gatherings with other cohort members for co-learning, skills-building, and relationship building. Skills-building workshops include trainings on how to:
    • Recruit and retain members/volunteers;
    • Utilize a Leadership Ladder of Engagement;
    • Identify community-informed issue priorities;
    • Develop campaign power maps and escalation tactics;
    • Manage alliance and coalition dynamics to advance your organization’s campaign;
    • Execute strategic communications that build the base and shape the narrative;
    • Have an effective one-on-one (and track it!).
  4. Direct coaching and mentorship: This includes up to 80 hours annually with a seasoned organizer who will coach key staff within the organization to develop internal systems to support effective organizing, design a campaign(s), create an achievable work plan(s), and implement that plan effectively.
  5. Database access and training: All participating organizations will use a functioning database to capture and use organizing data. In cases where organizations do not already have a database, the GOI program will provide contracts with an external provider.
  6. Mind-body practices: Access to self-care and mind-body self-awareness modalities — such as Somatics, Forward Stance, mindfulness meditation, and yoga — which accelerate culture change, build group cohesion, and foster sustainability in movement-building work.

Key Staff

Lanita Morris 

Senior Program Manager, Grassroots Organizing Institute

Grassroots Organizing Institute Coach Roster

Chinyere’ Tutashinda

Lisa María Castellanos

Xavier Maatra