Home

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

    'Recognizing the Stranger' Reaches 100+ in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas

    Leaders from 22 parishes and missions in the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville and 5 local nonprofits, participated in bilingual 'Recognizing the Stranger' leadership training sponsored by CCHD, the Organizers Institute and Mission & Ministry Impact.  They were joined by Bishop Daniel Flores who spoke at length about the Synod, the disciplined art of listening it requires and what it will take to rebuild the church.  Ministry leaders from several counties learned how to put their faith in action through institutional organizing practices designed to strengthen their parishes and fortify their communities.  The sessions covered baptism and the mission of the church, relational power and how to build an institutional team to carry out the work of the Church by examining the work of Nehemiah.
    read more

    VIP Teaches Leaders How to Confront Wage Theft as a Parish

    [Excerpt] Fighting wage theft on the community and parish level can be especially effective. A big part of building any coalition is talking directly to people about their problems and really listening to them, said Jason Lowry, an organizer with the Valley Interfaith Project based in Phoenix. "Once you figure out what the stories are, there are all kinds of ways you can pull together people who are willing to take action on it. It needs to be truly a grassroots effort." Such actions also help congregations rethink their role locally, he says, and allow them to "reclaim turf." Monica Dorcey, who has been a leader with Valley Interfaith Project for 15 years, recently worked with a network of churches in Phoenix to get more low-income people vaccinated. In general, the basic tool for reaching people, according to Dorcey, is a neighborhood walk, going door-to-door, passing out flyers, setting up house meetings. "Even the ice cream lady who goes all over the neighborhood is involved. It creates a buzz in the neighborhood" as well as generating positive publicity, she said. "If you don't rush through it, you can have a real conversation not just about what you're interested in, but about what else is going on. You can have opportunities for people to say what's on their mind," she said. In the case of a topic like wage theft, "it's not something people readily talk about. You have to put yourself in a position where they can open up about it," Dorcey said. If someone has complaints about some type of wage theft, the goal would be first to help the person "share their story in a clear, concise way." Then, she suggested, a delegation of parish members might approach the individual's employer. "Say 'We don't expect our people to be treated that way. We respectfully ask you to rectify this situation.' Make it clear that this is something we're working on and we're not going away," she said. If that happens, she added, "Word would get around. The church might become known as a place to go" to redress injustices. [Photo Credit: CNS / Reuters / Mike Blake] On This Labor Day, Advocating for Just Wages Means Fighting Company Theft, National Catholic Reporter [pdf]
    read more
    See all posts

get updates