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The Interfaith Education Fund (IEF) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that provides education, research, training and technical support to community organizations affiliated with the West / Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation.  Its focus is to equip ordinary people with the skills they need to be effective leaders in their workplace, in their congregations and in their communities. 

The Interfaith Education Fund provides education and training through:

Rooted in the tradition of the nation's oldest and largest organizing network, the Industrial Areas Foundation, the IEF has trained thousands of organizers and leaders across the West and Southwest US in the skills and practices of effective citizenship. We do so to ensure that ordinary citizens and residents know how to be more effective at making change in a proactive and positive manner, thereby recovering the nobility and virtue of public life.

Leaders and organizers trained by the Interfaith Education Fund have transformed local labor markets, changed public healthcare systems, turned around public schools, and renewed congregations seeking to be more effective in outreach and mission.     


  • Latest from the blog

    CCHD Recognizes W/SWIAF's Innovative Work with Parish Leaders in Western Dioceses:

    "...parishes are strengthened, unified, and revitalized." With a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the Interfaith Education Fund piloted a program in fall of 2016 called Recognizing the Stranger, a multiyear regional approach to the immigration issue, in seven southwestern dioceses. This year, it is expanding into 19 dioceses across the west and southwest US.  Says Senior IAF Organizer Joe Rubio, "The Recognizing the Stranger strategy works with local parishes to identify, train, and mentor immigrant leaders to build connections among themselves and with nonimmigrant allies in their parishes and the broader community.  It’s a collaborative effort among clergy, leaders, and organizers to develop capacity to tackle tough issues." According to CCHD Director Ralph McCloud, "Recognizing the Stranger is particularly successful because it captures the connections between what happens at Mass on Sunday morning, how families live their lives throughout the week, and how parishioners interact with members of the broader community. I have been impressed that participants seek true change.  In the process, parishes are strengthened, unified, and revitalized." Click links below for local stories of parish work and additional details about the strategy. Recognizing the Stranger, National Strategic Grant, CCHD Program Trains Leaders to Put Faith into Action, Texas Catholic Milestones: Catholic Campaign, TMO Offers Leadership Training for Hispanic Parishioners, Texas Catholic Herald ID Parroquiales Traen Alivio a Comunidad Inmigrante, Revista Católica
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    Church Divinity School of the Pacific Roots Community Organizing in Curriculum, Honors Ernesto Cortes Jr. with Degree

    When CDSP sought to strengthen its formation, emphasize the importance of relational skills and develop an understanding of public life, it began a relationship with the West / Southwest IAF to incorporate community organizing in its curriculum.  The organizing class -- taught as weeklong intensive in partnership with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) -- soon became a draw for students eager to establish a theological foundation under their organizing efforts. The partnership began in 2013 as a collaboration between the Bay Area IAF and CDSP.   The course is taught by senior organizers with the IAF network who induct seminarians in the skills and practices that help communities build relational power and a common agenda for collaborative work.  A CDSP faculty member teaches the theological portion of the course for those seeking a Masters of Divinity, which is designed to embed the training in a theological and ethical framework.   Says Dr. Jennifer Snow, associate professor of practical theology and director of extended learning, the course requires "thinking differently about power: building relationships with people, inviting people in to share the power with you as a leader.  It's a very specific strategy about trying to reach a more just society in our particular context." At its May commencement ceremony, CDSP recognized Ernesto Cortes with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Commencement Ceremony Video [skip to 1:16:38 for intro of Cortes] Commencement Ceremony Bulletin Church Meets Community and Vice Versa, Crossings [pdf] Blessed Are the Organizers, Crossings CDSP Prepares Seminarians for Public Life, Episcopal News Service Public Ministry in Practice, Episcopal News Service
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