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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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    Spanish Training Equips Immigrant Parents in San Antonio for Action with Southside ISD Schools

    Only a few months after Spanish-language leadership development training was held in collaboration with the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, immigrant parents have begun to organize to better advocate for their children in public schools.    An opportunity emerged when Sandra, a member of El Carmen Catholic Church in San Antonio, attempted to join her son at his elementary school for lunch.  She was barred from entering the campus due to a district policy that parents present a Texas ID.  Sandra does not have -- and cannot obtain -- a Texas ID.  When COPS/Metro leaders requested a meeting with the Superintendent to discuss the policy, they were denied. Soon, 55 COPS/Metro leaders from El Carmen Catholic joined Sandra at the next Southside ISD School Board meeting and stood by her as she directly addressed the board.   “I want to be part of his education. I want to be there every step of the way. But the district is not allowing me to do so at this time, and I would like that to change.”  COPS/Metro is requesting a change to the policy so that all parents can access their children's schools. That night, the Board President alerted leaders that the Board would work with COPS/Metro to resolve the issue.  Officials from the district also agreed meet with leaders to resolve the issue. [Photo Credit: Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio] San Antonio Parents Without Texas IDs Barred from Southside ISD Schools, Texas Public Radio Parents Without Texas IDs Said They Were Barred from Southside ISD Campuses, Rivard Report  Southside ISD's ID Policy Has Some Parents Complaining it Leaves Them Out of Kid's Schooling, San Antonio Express-News Padres Denuncian Que Este Distrito Escolar Les Prohibe Entrar as las Escuelas Por No Tener Licencia de Conducir de Texas, Univision    
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    Catholic Diocese of Brownsville and Valley Interfaith Team Up to Offer Parish ID

    In collaboration with Catholic Bishop Daniel Flores, 500 Valley Interfaith leaders packed a hall in Las Milpas to publicly launch a parish ID strategy for the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  Developed in partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and three law enforcement agencies, new parish-issued identification cards will show a photo of the cardholder, name, date of birth, address and how long the cardholder has been a member of their parish. Bishop Flores emphasized: “The ID means something more than simply its implication that you have an identification...it means something much deeper: ‘I belong to a parish, and so in this community, I am not living in the shadows.’” On behalf of Catholic Charities, Sr. Norma Pimentel presented a $10,000 check to pay for printers for new ID cards.   Representatives from the police departments of Pharr, McAllen and Edinburg participated in the assembly, pledging to accept these cards as a form of valid identification in the event anyone needs to identify themselves to the police -- whether on a traffic stop or when filing a report.    “Too much of the focus is on the national and state conversation regarding immigration,” said Franciscan Father Tom Luczak, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Edinburg.  “This is a local strategy that gives my own parishioners the dignity of being able to identify themselves to a police officer. “This will positively affect them." [Photo Credit: photo above by Francisco Jimenez, The Monitor; photo at right by Paul Binz, The Valley Catholic]  IDs Give Parishioners Way to Say, 'I Belong,' Regardless of Legal Status, National Catholic Reporter Diocese, Valley Interfaith Team Up to Offer a New Kind of ID, The Valley Catholic Vally Nonprofit Announces ID Strategy in Parishes, KRGTV Valley Interfaith Clarifies Parish ID Strategy, The Monitor Valley Interfaith to Launch Local Parish ID Strategy, The Monitor [pdf]
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