In 2020, re:power Fund (our c3 entity) and our partners Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Center for Working Families Fund (CWFF) received a collaborative grant to support the work of BIPOC Women, Femmes, and GNC folks across the country, and more specifically the South.
These three partner organizations came together to assess the needs of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) women, femmes and gender non-confirming (GNC) folks to launch a pilot program investing in their leadership through training, coaching and leadership development, and supporting them in carrying out campaigns that build the power of BIPOC communities. What was conceived as a year-long in-person intensive training program, quickly pivoted into tailored virtual support for both organizations as we all endured an important year for civic engagement amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through our own trainings and this partnership, re:power conducted 16 trainings for more than 235 participants located in 15 different states, mainly in the South and Midwest─GA, SC, NC, MS, LA, VA, TN, TX, AZ, MI, PA, NV, NJ, NY, and the Pacific Northwest. We equipped trainees with skills and knowledge ranging from organizing and campaign planning, to digital and data strategies, to effective online facilitation, and we also held space for people to process grief and find strength and resilience in community.
Partnership with each organization
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
C3 Voter Registration work with Raiz and Black Organizing Program
In March, PPFA worked with re:power Fund to train 20 Planned Parenthood affiliate staff on core c3 voter registration organizing fundamentals. The mission was to train people of color on how to register voters through key data management skills such as VAN (particularly using the VR tab), building a field plan, and using social media/digital tools to find and identify opportunities to connect with BIPOC communities for the Shout Your Vote! campaign. Originally scheduled as a multi-day in-person training, re:power Fund responded to COVID-19 by quickly transitioning the event to a three-day virtual training with a focus on digital organizing, social media, and VAN as opposed to field tactics.
Participating affiliates included: Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Texas, Planned Parenthood Arizona, Planned Parenthood North Central States, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates.
Supporting an Equitable and Inclusive Shift to Online Spaces
In April, re:power Fund supported PPFA to make an equitable and intentional shift to online spaces by leading a training of trainers with over 50 affiliate staff on facilitating equity and learning in the online environment. This webinar provided an opportunity for participants to learn how to lead online inclusive learning spaces via Zoom. Participants also learned best practices on how to manage racial micro-aggressions and dog whistles in an online learning environment.
Supporting PPFA’s Black Organizing Program and Planned Parenthood Generation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Summit—August 2020
re:power Fund supported PPFA’s Black Organizing Program and Planned Parenthood Generation youth work by supporting the design and facilitation of the 2020 HBCU Summit. The summit took place virtually before the 2020 fall semester and included participation from over 30 HBCU student leaders and supporting staff. re:power Fund trainers led a session on issue campaign planning for 36 student leaders.
Center for Working Families Fund
The audience for this program was Black Women, Femmes, and GNC folks in the Southeast, including South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia new members. CWFF used re:power’s online trainings to build membership and support for Bet On Us, a project that offers a political home for Black women and gender nonconforming folks to organize their communities, build power and run for office. Bet on Us was built on the realization that Black women and GNC people are the backbone of our democracy, and that their input is critical to address the interlocking systems of oppression and racial capitalism that inform so many electoral and legislative decisions.
Training Topics and Highlights
- Starting in March and ending in September 2020, trainings took place monthly on the first Tuesday, for a total of 6 trainings. Topics included fundamental principles of organizing and power-building, one-to-one meetings, police reform versus defunding the police, and understanding and identifying self-interests.
- The majority (76% of attendees) of the Bet On Us attendees indicated in our closing poll that they had attended more than 3 Bet on Us Trainings.
- Even in areas where CWFF is newly expanding its reach, Black women and GNC folks have a clear appetite for engagement, especially in light of the vacuums left by exiting presidential campaigns.
- Several participants located specifically in more rural towns in GA indicated that the Bet On Us series was a unique and important space to help them build out their plans and skills for C3 voter engagement, specifically focused on Black folks in their cities and towns.
- Content from the Bet On Us training series impacted campaign culture during the general election. This resulted in a commitment to building multiracial and age diverse leaders, including deeply engaged campaign staff as young as age 14.
Coaching Across Both Organizations
In addition to trainings, re:power Fund provided individual strategic coaching sessions to PPFA and CWFF organizers. Coaching support for Bet On Us staff organizers in Georgia and South Carolina provided a space to debrief participant reactions and connect upfront training content to local hub meetings. PPFA organizers in Michigan and North Carolina sought support for internal affiliate culture changes and feedback on engaging and maintaining volunteer relationships through intentional digital organizing.
Over the course of two sessions per person (eight total sessions), organizers discussed:
- Relationship building
- Role clarity
- Understanding measures of success
- Coalition partners
- Working effectively online
- Intentional digital campaigns