IPL and OTOC hold Summer training series attended by over 90 leaders

Karen McElroy and Joe Higgs at front of room
Karen McElroy and Gloria Austerberry of the OTOC Housing Team teach about Action by discussing their work to increase demolition funds

IPL worked with leaders of Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) to hold three summer training sessions about the principles and practices of community organizing. Over 90 people over 35 congregations and community organizations attended at least one of the sessions and average attendance was over 50 for the three sessions which occurred on the 2nd Monday of June, July and August. The final training session was led by IPL Director Joe Higgs and several OTOC leaders including Carol Beaty, Kevin Graham, Gloria Austerberry and Karen McElroy. The final session focused on:

Developing a Core Team of Leaders: How you identify and develop a team of leaders in your own church or organization so you can work with them for the common good.

Preparing for a listening campaign: How can we organize a series of small group meetings to listen carefully to the issues that affect the families in our congregation and community? OTOC plans to engage in a listening campaign this Fall and will hold a meeting in each member institution to review the work of OTOC Action Team and determine if there are new issues and new leaders who want to work for the common good. 

Session 2 Marshal Johnson at front of room
Rev. Marshall Johnson helped lead two of the three sessions on principles and practices of community organizing

OTOC is an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation and leaders who are active in OTOC member institutions are welcomed to go to regional and national training programs in community organizing.



The next IAF National training program scheduled is set for:

Monday, Nov. 16th at 3:30 p.m.

Until  Friday, Nov. 20th at 12:00 noon

Loretto Spirituality Center Littleton, Colorado

Cost is $700 for room and board for those staying at the Spirituality Center

 Seminars for Leaders involved in Organizing

IPL is  affiliated with the Interfaith Education Fund which organizes educational seminars with leading academics about topics that are relevant to leaders involved in community organizing. The next scheduled seminar is February 5 and 6 in Dallas, Texas with two leading theologians:

Charles Mathewes is Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia where he teaches religious ethics and religious thought. He is the author of Evil and the Augustinian Tradition and A Theology of Public Life, The Republic of Grace, and Understanding Religious Ethics.

Luke Bretherton is a Professor of Theological Ethics and Senior Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics at the Duke Divinity School. He is the author of Hospitality as Holiness: Christian Witness Amid Moral Diversity. His recent work has focused on faith-based organizations, the church’s involvement in social welfare provision, community organizing, the treatment of refugees, and fair trade.

Contact the IPL office is you are interested in attending either of these great opportunities to learn.


Thirteen Omaha leaders attend 3 day leadership training in Des Moines

Fr. Craig Loecker and Sarita Penka of St. Leo the Great

Institute for Public Leadership (IPL) and OTOC worked with our Iowa-based sister organization, AMOS IPL, to organize and conduct a three-day leadership training program in Des Moines on August 2-4.

Sr Rosalie and Vicki Pratt
Vicki Pratt of Second Unitarian and Sr. Rosalie Riccobono of St. Pius X Catholic
Lisa Jones and Kelly Patton
Kelly Patton of St. Luke United Methodist and Lisa Jones of St. Pius X
Lizzie and Erin of Creighton
Lizzie McLaren and Erin Dorpinghaus of Creighton Center for Service and Justice
Angela Batson2
Angela Batson of Urban Abbey

Thirteen people from Omaha and 30 from Iowa attended the training to help them better understand the conceptual framework and fundamental practices of community organizing during three days of engaging training sessions, meeting new people and sharing stories about their work for the common good in their own communities. Participants from Omaha included:

Mags and Sarita
Margarita Higgs of St. Benedict the Moor
Kevin Kuehl of Creighton Center for Service and Justice

Sr. Cynthia

IPL collaborates in refugee community workshop to fight drug use

Institute for Public Leadership (IPL) collaborated with several other local organizations to organize a workshop on July 28 to educate refugee families living in North Omaha about the dangers of methamphetamines and alcohol abuse. The need for these workshops first emerged in discussions of the Refugee Mental Health committee which IPL helped organize in 2014. Heartland Family Services and OmaPemry Training in July 2015 with two talking

Omaha Police Department took the lead in organizing the event.IPL and several of our collaborators have worked together to develop a number of ways to help refugees learn about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.

talking to health providersOPD Captain Shana Ray was the subject of a recent front page story about her work with refugee communities and their reporters took pictures at this event.

Click on the link below to read the story about Captain Ray and see more pictures from the workshop:

Omaha World Herald “In the Heart of the Community”

large group talking about drugs