The PICO Community Organizing Model
In PICO's congregation-community model, congregations of all denominations and faiths serve as the institutional base for community organizations. Rather than bring people together simply based on common issues like housing or education, the faith-based or broad-based organizing model makes values and relationships the glue that holds organizations together.
PICO builds community organizations based on religious congregations, schools and community centers, which are often the only stable civic gathering places in many neighborhoods. As a result PICO federations are able to engage thousands of people and sustain long-term campaigns to bring about systematic change at all levels of government.
PICO helps congregations identify and solve local neighborhood issues before addressing broader issues at a city, state or national level. As a result PICO federations are deeply rooted in local communities.
PICO provides intensive leadership training that teaches people how to use the tools of democracy to improve their communities. As a result PICO federations are led by ordinary people who have learned to successfully use the levers of power to bring resources and political attention to their communities.
PICO brings people together based on faith and values not just issues or anger. As a result PICO federations have the ability to act on a comprehensive vision for their communities, cities and regions.
PICO challenges its leaders to listen to the concerns and ideas of their neighbors through individual one-on-one meetings, house meetings and listening campaigns. As a result, PICO federations establish a broad following and choose issues that matter most to their communities.
PICO takes the time for leaders to meet with public officials and policy experts to research how things work and who really has the power to make changes. As a result PICO leaders become the experts and are able to get to the root causes of problems facing their communities.
PICO teaches the art of compromise and negotiation. As a result PICO federations find common ground with public officials who are both Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, to bring needed changes to communities.
PICO does public business in public through large action meetings. As a result, PICO organizations gain the reputation for being able to gather together large numbers of people over and over to hold themselves and public officials accountable.
PICO influences public policy from the ground up by starting with local problems faced by families and then doing careful research. As a result PICO organizations have created some of the most valuable policy innovations in housing, education, health care and public safety in the United States.