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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.     


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    COPA Supports Synod Process with Catholic Bishop in California

    [Excerpt] "The Diocese of Monterey is in the beginning stages of the synod, training parish groups to go out and listen to the experiences of everyone, including those on the margins. Bishop Garcia and Deacon David Ford, who is leading the process in the diocese, both have experience working with community organizing groups in the past. They were quick to enlist their help with the synod. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” said Bishop Garcia, who had been meeting with Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, or COPA, since he arrived in Monterey. COPA is an association of community organizers based in California. “There are already some processes out there,” the bishop said. COPA “does a really good job of getting the pulse of the people. We’ve been really happy about how, at least initially, it’s going.” Diocesan leaders [held] five separate regional meetings to train leaders throughout the diocese about how to carry out the synod at their parish. Bishop Garcia invited pastors to attend along with a group of parishioners who would lead the synod at their church." [In photos: (top) Bishop Daniel Garcia delivers opening remarks at one of five regional training sessions; (middle right) COPA leaders initiate synodal conversations.] A California Bishop Invited Community Organizers to Help with the Synod. So Far, It’s Working, America: The Jesuit Review [pdf]
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    '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.
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