History & Background
Faith Coalition was founded in 2008, and incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit organization in 2009 to address the injustices of racism and poverty in the central Illinois region. It was founded because a group of faith and community leaders believed in a vision for the common good. This vision is being realized, not through social service and charity, but through leadership training, relationship development, issue identification and public action. Faith Coalition is comprised of 35 congregations, non-profits and union labor organizations. It provides a means for members of religious congregations and community organizations to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their communities. The issue work or Faith Coalition focuses on workforce diversity and economic equity, reform of the criminal justice system, equitable education funding for all, civic engagement and immigration reform.
Where do we serve?
Faith Coalition for the Common Good serves primarily three cities in central Illinois. Beardstown-Rushville (population 6,800) is home of the Cargill Pork Processing plant where 20,000 hogs are butchered each day. Decatur (population 70,522) is the largest city of Macon County, where nearly a quarter of residents are living in poverty. Springfield (population 115,888), capital city of Illinois, is a city exemplifying a great disparity between those who live on the east side, largely minorities and low income people, compared to those living on the west side of the city.
What is our leadership structure?
One delegate represents each of 35 member institutions. Task force chair persons represent each of the five issue task forces. In April of each year, delegate members elect 15 persons (including the five task force chairs) to serve as the Board of Directors. At least 50% of board members must be low income and/or minority individuals who are actively involved in the issue work of Faith Coalition. Board officers are elected by the Board of Directors and serve a one year term, with an option to serve three additional one year terms. The Faith Coalition Board of Directors makes decisions for the organization regarding staff, budget, and procedures.
The Board of Directors meets monthly. The Executive Board (four officers) meet monthly, prior to each board meeting to plan the agenda and to prioritize action items.
Core teams are created within each member institution to help strengthen the base of that church/organization and work within its framework to organize its members to act publicly.
The majority of Issue task force members are low income individuals who are personally impacted by the injustices in which they are working to change. Each of our four issue task forces meet at least once a month and task force committees often meet more than once a month. Issue task force members are responsible for strategic planning; they decide which issues to address, the actions to be taken, and build relationships with public decision makers. Issue task forces and core teams advise the Board of Directors regarding their current activities, issues and actions. Task force co-chairs serve on the Board of Directors to keep the board members involved in the work. Issue task forces and core teams are the heart of Faith Coalition for the Common Good. They move Faith Coalition into the public arena and truly impact systemic change.
Faith Coalition for the Common Good leaders partner with State and National leaders/organizations to bring about systemic change. These partnerships have included:
- The Faith Coalition joined a state wide coalition called "Funding IL's Future" to help push for education funding reform in Illinois.
- Education task force leaders developed a relationship with the newly hired Springfield School District Superintendent, Jennifer Gill, and her cabinet to work on bullying and issues affecting African American student achievement.
- We deepened our relationship with the Springfield branch of the NAACP and worked together to register voters and GOTV.
- Jobs task force leaders developed and deepened relationships with local state legislators: Sen. Andy Manar, Sen. Sam McCann, and Rep. Sue Scherer.
- Immigration task force developed a relationship with US Congressman Rodney Davis, although he does not support our views on immigration reform.
- A new relationship was developed with Police Chief Winslow and the newly elected Sangamon County Sheriff, Wes Barr. This was important as our organization and community dealt with the tension around the Ferguson, MO decision.
- New relationships were also developed with other Springfield east side neighborhood organizations: CeaseFire, Keeping it 200, BeefEaterz and The Outlet. We worked together to host a prayer vigil and small group discussion following the Ferguson, MO decision.
- FCCG African immigrant leaders developed a relationship with the Beardstown mayor and he participated in their African Day Celebration
- A relationship has also been developed with a Minority Contractor in Quincy. This relationship may lead to FCCG's expansion to the western part of the state.
- In August, 2014, we joined our sister organizations in Gamaliel of Illinois in hosting a public meeting with over 1000 people in attendance! Then-Governor Pat Quinn and many state legislators attended the meeting and made commitments to our state wide and local equity issues – Jobs, Education, and raising the Minimum Wage. Senator Dick Durbin sent a representative to the meeting and his commitment was to work with us to increase federal minority and female hiring goals.