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Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization records, 1966-1984.

Author: Lucius Walker; Ann Douglas; Marilyn Clement; Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (U.S.)
Edition/Format:   Archival material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The records of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), 1966-1984, document the origin and development of the organization within the context of the social and religious turmoil of the late 1960s, a period which gave rise to Third World theological perspectives, and the radical critique of racism and materialism in American society. IFCO records consist of files for the various programs and
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Named Person: James Forman
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Lucius Walker; Ann Douglas; Marilyn Clement; Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (U.S.)
OCLC Number: 122625927
Description: 41 linear feet.

Abstract:

The records of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), 1966-1984, document the origin and development of the organization within the context of the social and religious turmoil of the late 1960s, a period which gave rise to Third World theological perspectives, and the radical critique of racism and materialism in American society. IFCO records consist of files for the various programs and projects IFCO developed to assist poor and disadvantaged peoples gain justice, self-determination and economic independence, primarily in the United States, and to a lesser extent, Africa. Included are hundreds of proposals submitted by community, educational, health care and other organizations to IFCO's Grant Making Program, which provide documentation of community empowerment organizations in the United States from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s.

The minutes and correspondence in the Board of Director series do not encompass the full date span of the records on hand. As a result, they provide a limited picture, from the perspective of the board, of the organization's activities, its achievements and failures. The minutes that are available include those for the general board and executive committee meetings. Among the committee files are those for the financial development, membership, and personnel committees. Additional files include those for the Indian Board of Consultants, 1969-1970, and the Black Caucus, 1970. The proposal advisory committee (PAC) files, 1967-1975, are the most extensive board files, and document the significant role played by the PAC members in reviewing and selecting grant recipients. Files contain proposal summaries written by staff for review by PAC screening committee members, budgets, and minutes.

Administrative procedures, planning documents and reports, public relations files, financial records, directors' and staff files constitute the Administration series, 1966-1982. Included are the executive director's reports for the years 1970, 1971 and 1974 which describe the organization's financial difficulties and the impact of reductions in funding for IFCO's programs and projects. Also included are manuals developed to provide guidance for the review of proposals and the provision of technical assistance to grassroots and community organizations, another of IFCO's programmatic objectives. The planning document, "Concept Design for IFCO's Second Five Years, 1973," discusses the new international emphasis, highlights of its training agenda, and programs and projects such as regional offices, the economic development agency and the national organizers' conference.

The American Indian Projects series is the second largest series in the collection. There is information on a number of Indian tribes: Crow, Sioux, Comanche, Lakota, and Navajo, as well as inter-tribal organizations from around the country. File contents include proposals, agreements, reports, correspondence with several church denominational representatives, minutes of meetings, copies of treaties with the United States, and conference materials. IFCO also proposed the establishment of an American Indian task force to advise IFCO on American Indian affairs and communicate with urban, rural and regional tribal representatives. Files for the task force contain a proposal from IFCO requesting funding to establish the task force and evaluate proposals. There are several files on the American Indian Movement (AIM), which IFCO helped establish. Contents of these files include a feasibility-like study on AIM, minutes, correspondence, an activities' report, newsletters, and newspaper clippings.

There are also several files dealing with the Native American Consultation with Churches, a meeting convened at the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, South Dakota in 1975. The meeting was held in response to a request by church leaders who wanted to be educated about American Indians and the lack of resources in their communities. Individuals representing fourteen tribes and twelve denominations attended. The files contain materials from the planning meeting, summaries of workshops, plans regarding another meeting the following year, correspondence, resolutions and a petition on Native American concerns.

The Black United Fund, 1967-1974 series documents the formation of the National Black United Fund (NBUF) and local, independent, affiliated Black United Funds (BUF). There is correspondence between IFCO and the United Black Appeal regarding fund raising techniques, and with the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade, Inc., an organization IFCO funded to develop local BUFs; proposals from IFCO to other organizations to fund the NBUF. Other documents include agreements and research reports that show the development of the NBUF and local, autonomous BUFs under IFCO's auspices.

Economic Development Project, 1968-1973. The bulk of this series relates to the National Black Economic Development Conference (NBEDC) sponsored by IFCO in 1969. The files document the ensuing historic confrontation brought about by James Foreman's reading of the Black Manifesto at the conference and the ultimate rejection by white churches and synagogues of this black call for reparations. In addition, there are files for two other economic development conferences, both held in 1968, the Southern Economic Development Conference in New Orleans and the Rural Economic Development Conference in Waveland, MS., including copies of papers given at those conferences, which were not sponsored by IFCO. The files for the NBEDC include information on the steering committee that helped to plan the conference and various planning documents. Among the steering committee members were Julian Bond (also a panelist at the conference), Vincent Harding, Robert Browne, John Conyers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and attorney Howard Moore. There are speeches and papers presented at the conference, including NBEDC's position paper on economic development. There is also a copy of Forman's manifesto, a chronology of the events that occurred before the speech was delivered and the controversy that arose afterward, as well as extensive files on the responses from several denominations, and articles dealing with the negative reaction to the call for reparations.

Grant Making Program, 1966-1980, is the largest series in the collection, containing nearly 1,000 proposals from organizations throughout the United States and Africa. Proposals were received from various ethnic groups in the United States (black, Chicano, Asian-American, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican), poor and working class urban communities, agricultural and rural communities, and from a variety of organizations, including social service, community and grass roots organizations, health care, church groups, self-help groups, employment and training agencies, publishers, and educational organizations, among others. Folder contents include the proposal, reports, printed material and correspondence. Also in the series are files kept by the staff regarding the administration of the grant making program, including preliminary and follow-up files on the proposal review process from 1967 through 1986. There are status reports on the amount of money dispensed to a community group or organization, evaluations of proposals and recommendations by year, and information on model project.

Mexican-American and Chicano series, 1968-1976. Most of the files in this series contain proposals for community development projects, leadership training seminars, and educational programs. Contents of the files include proposal summaries and evaluations, a few newsletters and correspondence. There is also a list of IFCO's funding of Chicano and Mexican-American projects from 1968 to 1971.

Michigan-Ohio Community Organization Council Program series, 1967-1975 contains information on IFCO's attempts to develop a coalition that would replicate IFCO's role on a regional level. There are files for the Michigan Community Organization Council and the Ohio Council for Community Organizations, as well as information on the development of the coalition. Reports, proposals and correspondence provide details of the experiment, its achievements and problems. Folder contents include minutes, proposal evaluations and recommendations, financial reports and statements, and field reports. A 1975 report summarizes IFCO's efforts to implement this program and the problems that prevented it from becoming a successful model.

The Relief for Africans in Need in the Sahel (RAINS) series, 1973-1978, includes IFCO board minutes containing a discussion of the procedures for granting funds for famine relief. Additionally, the decision by IFCO's International Task Force on African Affairs, convened in 1978, to refocus the program on a broader geographical area, particularly Southern Africa, is reflected in the task force's minutes. The National Council of Churches' Policy Statement on Southern Africa, and a program proposal written by IFCO executive director, Ann Douglas, to develop farm land and an infrastructure in the Sahel to avert future doughts, complete this series.

The Training Institutes Program, 1968-1976, series documents IFCO's attempts to develop a national and later, an international, training program. Included are correspondence, reports, minutes and program evaluations. Although relatively sparse, the files show the trajectory of IFCO's planning in this area. Among the files are proposals for training in leadership development and community organizing, a 1969 report to the IFCO Training Committee, and a file for IFCO's first project, a Ministers Leadership Training Program which they did for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. There are also files for the Community Organizers Training Institute (COTI) established in 1972 in Washington, D.C., and the Amilcar Cabral Training Institute, 1973-1974.

The National Organizers Conference in 1976 was one of IFCO's most successful projects, and was planned by a forty-one member steering committee, including IFCO staff. In addition to steering committee planning documents, file contents include correspondence, mailing lists, notes, panelists' papers and biographical sketches, conference evaluation forms, and an analysis of the conference possibly prepared by IFCO's Assistant Executive Director Marilyn Clement, one of the primary organizers of the conference.

Organizations series, 1966-1981. Organization and subject files were kept separately by IFCO staff. The organization files usually contain a history of the organization, and occasionally correspondence between the organization and foundation staff. Both series are arranged alphabetically. Types of materials that can be found in the Organization series files are reports, flyers, minutes, newspaper clippings, brochures, studies, and newsletters. For the majority of the organizations represented in this series there is usually one folder, with some exceptions. The National Council of the Churches of Christ/Division of Church and Society (NCC/DCS) is represented by several folders, including correspondence and minutes for the Racial Justice Working Group. The files also contain proposals, correspondence, minutes, guidelines for program evaluation teams, reports, a 1973 program and budget, news releases, and newspaper clippings. Found among the Racial Justice files is a report of the alleged 1972 Wilmington, North Carolina (racial) Insurrection.

The Subjects, 1966-1984, series files usually includes literature apparently retained by foundation staff to keep them knowledgeable and abreast of topics, issues and organizations related to their work. The files encompass a wide range of topics and contain newspaper clippings, brochures, form letters, and reports. There are several folders on Africa, the Black Affairs Council, the Black Efforts for Soul in Television (Washington, D.C.), the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and several files on "Vietnam."

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