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Transforming Lives, Transforming Movement Building: Lessons from the National Domestic Workers Alliance Strategy - Organizing - Leadership (SOL) Initiative

December 18, 2014

Today's millions of domestic workers in the U.S. play a critical role in our society, whether caring for our children, providing home health care for our elderly, or keeping our homes clean for our families. With the demographic growth of the elderly and disabled, domestic workers will only become more essential to our society. Yet, despite the importance and intimacy of their work to those who hire them, domestic workers have been largely invisible to society, undervalued in the labor market, and excluded from basic workplace standards and protections. We begin the report by describing the National Domestic Workers Alliance Strategy -- Organizing -- Leadership (SOL) Initiative program -- its design and the participants -- and the key questions posed for this assessment. We then define the core concepts and framework that underlie the curriculum. The second half of the report is devoted to lifting up a new set of metrics for capturing indicators of transformational leadership. Based on the findings, we discuss valuable lessons for the program and conclude with implications for movement building. This analysis is based on a review of the literature on domestic worker organizing and on intersectionality; on quantitative and qualitative data we collected through surveys, small group discussions, interviews, and observations; and on documents related to SOL provided by National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). Using a mixed-method approach, we coded all the data and culled the results for common themes. Perhaps more important to note, the analysis in this report is the result of an iterative, co-creative process between USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), NDWA, Social Justice Leadership (SJL), and generative somatics (gs) -- the sort of process we have called for when recommending a new model of assessment. We thus offer this report as a collective effort in a learning process about a dynamic and evolving model of transformative leadership development, transformative organizing, and transformative movement building.

Transactions, Transformations, Translations: Metrics that Matter for Building, Scaling, and Funding Social Movements

October 25, 2011

This report provides an evaluative framework and key milestones to gauge movement building. Aiming to bridge the gap between the field of community organizing that relies on the one-on-one epiphanies of leaders and the growing philanthropic emphasis on evidence-based giving, the report stresses three main insights. The first is that any good set of movement metrics should capture quantity and quality, numbers and nuance, transactions and transformations. They are related -- an energized leader with a clear power analysis (a transformative measure) may turn out more members for a coalition rally (a transactional measure) -- and the report offers a matrix that weaves together both types of metrics across ten different movement-building strategies. The second is that a movement is more than one organization -- and if the whole is to be greater than the sum of its parts, we must measure accordingly. While report includes measures of success at the organizational level, it attempts to move beyond and focus on whether groups can align and work together to create a more powerful force for social change -- suggesting that in the same way that movements need to scale up to face the challenges of our times, metrics, too, must expand to capture the whole. The third is that metrics must be co-created, not imposed. Recognizing the gravity of the times and hoping to gauge their effectiveness, movement builders are eager to come up with a common language and framework for themselves -- and are developing the tools and capacities to do so. The report suggests that the funder-grantee relationship can build on this wisdom in the field and develop a set of evaluative measures that are not onerous requirements but tools for mutual accountability. The report also offers a set of recommendations to funders and the field, ranging from practical steps (like building a new toolbox of measures, improving the capacity to use them, and documenting innovation and experimentation) to more far-reaching suggestions about leadership development, the connection of policy outcomes with broader social change, and the need to generate movement-level measures. We, at USC PERE, hope this report contributes to a conversation about how to best capture transformations as well as transactions in social movement organizing, and how to build the broader public and philanthropic support necessary to realize the promise of a more inclusive America.

Coming Together: Lessons on Collaboration From California Works for Better Health

December 12, 2008

Details the collaborative process of the California Works for Better Health initiative to improve low-income workers' health through job quality. Presents lessons learned on how the partnerships' tone, context, and strategies affect the overall outcome.

Community Building, Community Bridging

January 31, 2004

A summary document of our research, entitled "Community Building, Community Bridging: Linking Neighborhood Improvement Initiatives and the New Regionalism in the San Francisco Bay Area," discusses the three initiatives and draws general lessons for those interested in how communities and regions could better work together.