After being approached in 2016 by agencies who work with Omaha refugees, IPL has a new refugee training program that is educating refugees about their rental responsibilities and rights. The trainings are geared towards reducing the number of rental housing issues refugees are having. Through research done by OTOC intern Shannon Sein this summer, a curriculum has been developed to help refugees understand what a healthy rental agreement should look like, both in what they are expected to do as tenants and what their landlord is supposed to do. They talk about the importance of paying rent on time and what a security deposit is for, as well as tips on how to get it back at the end of your lease. Refugees can be taken advantage of if they do not what to expect and what their rights are, and we want to equip refugee communities to know how to handle these issues. Several trainings were done over the summer and will continue.
On August 15 and 16th, OTOC leaders Mark Hoeger and Karen McElroy and IPL Executive Director Joe Higgs joined community leaders from across the United States in Houston, Texas to discuss how to work across race and class lines in these polarized times. Karen, Mark and all of the eighty leaders and organizers present in Houston were part of organizations affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundations, the largest and oldest community organizing network in the United States.
The leaders met with Dr. Glenn Loury, Professor of Social Sciences and Economics at Brown University, and author of Race, Incarceration and American Values. Dr Loury is a leading scholar in the fields of economics, politics and social structures affecting African American communities in the US. Loury’s work documents the changing face of racism, from the end of Jim Crow laws, to the more recent impact of mass incarceration of people of color.
The meetings took place in the days immediately following the troubling events in Charlottesville and Loury emphasized that relying on identity politics is not going to result in meaningful change. Rather, he encouraged the leaders and organizers present to keep doing the patient work of organizing to build relationships across lines of race, class and culture in order to develop strong coalitions of people who will seek the common good of their community, not just narrow special interests.
Mark Hoeger notes that “it made me appreciate anew the importance of what we at OTOC/IPL in Omaha and all the IAF affiliate organizations across the country are doing” in regards to having structural organized efforts to equality through the democratic system.
To Karen McElroy, the experience was a way to explore what other organizations are doing and how OTOC can improve housing inequality, early voting, and post incarceration programs. On the days immediately after the racial violence in Charlottesville, we came away renewed in our commitment to the careful, patient work of building relationships.
Tom and Margaret Hoarty opened their gracious Country Club home for IPL’s annual fundraiser held in conjunction with Omaha Gives!, the 24-hour community giving day.
Over 100 people dropped by for food, drink and conversation with others who are working to make Omaha a more just community. Refugee cooks prepared great food, many contributed their favorite bottle of wine and there many fun people to meet.
IPL and OTOC leaders worked together to make this day a great success for IPL.
Of the 193 medium sized organizations, IPL ranked in the top 4% for the total number of donors
And IPL ranked in top 3% for the total amount raised by medium sized organizations
You gave over $31,000 to support our critical work training emerging leaders in our community—Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!
In one of the most exciting parts of the evening, IPL once again won a First Place participation award of $3,000. The award went to the medium sized organization with the greatest number of contributions during the last 8 hours.
Thanks so much for your generous support.
IPL is working with leaders of Omaha Together One Community (OTOC), the Women’s Fund, Nebraska Appleseed, Voices for Children and others to educate members of the public and the Unicameral about the impact that Pay Day Lending has on working families.
Pay Day Lenders are currently allowed to charge interest and fees reaching 461% APR in Nebraska, one of the highest in the country. For instance, if you went to a Pay Day Lender to borrow $300 to fix your car or purchase medicine, it would cost you $530 in interest and fees to borrow that $300 for just 5 months.
Some Nebraskans have paid as much as $10,000 in fees for a $500 loan which they were not able to pay back over several years. Borrowers must pay back all of the principal, interest and fees in two weeks or renew the loan and pay only the interest–no partial payments of principal are allowed. This is a trap for desperate families who have no other options.
IPL helped OTOC and community leaders learn about LB 194 sponsored by Senators Vargas and Linehan that would have reduced the allowable fees so that borrows could actually pay of the loan instead of becoming caught in an endless debt trap. LB 194 is currently caught in the Banking Committee and will not receive a vote this year at the Unicameral. IPL and our partners will continue to educate around this issue.
This annual OTOC event brought together 500 OTOC and community leaders for an evening of good food and desserts, great music and a terrific silent auction with over 300 items for any budget.
Kyle Knapp–Acoustic Folk
St. Benedict the Moor Gospel Choir
Juan Carlos Veloso–Spanish Ballad
Short Month, A lot of Action
February was a busy month at Institute of Public Leadership. We helped organized 6 events at Urban Abbey in collaboration with OTOC-Omaha Together One Community. Over the course of the month, over 200 engaged citizens attended either an Issues Café or a game night of playing Mexican Bingo (La Loteria).
The Issues Cafés covered a wide range of topics and were engaging and educational. The Issues Cafes were hosted by OTOC action teams, but we invited numerous other friends and community leaders to learn and teach with us. The topics ranged from the changing landscape of immigrants and refugees, to transportation. The Transportation Issues Café was the only café that was not hosted by an OTOC action team. Sarah Johnson and Angie Eikenberry, from Mode Shift Omaha, informed us on how we can benefit individually and as a community from embracing alternative transportation options.
Follow OTOC and IPL on Facebook to see pictures and recaps of these events, and to find out about future events of a similar nature. Join us as we learn and teach, so that we can be agents of positive change in our communities.
The Following OTOC Action Teams hosted events
- Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization
- Pay Day Lending
- Immigration and Refugee
- Mexican Bingo (La Loteria)
- Environmental Sustainability
- Transportation (Hosted by Mode Shift Omaha)
IPL trained leaders of Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) will hold 4 Issue Cafes and their annual night of Mexican Bingo at Urban Abbey during February. The Issue Cafes all begin at 6:45 and Mexican Bingo starts at 6:30 p.m.
OTOC leaders have invited great speakers to inform you about these key issues:
Wed. Feb 2–Leaders of OTOC’s Housing Action team with the head of Building Code Enforcement from Council Bluffs which recently adopted an ordinance requiring registration and periodic inspection of all rental properties.
Tues. Feb 7–Nebraska Appleseed Attorney Ken Smith, Lisa Sock and others who are part of a coalition of groups working to reduce the amount of interest and fees that pay day lenders can charge from over 400% per year to only about 35%.
Fri. Feb 11–OTOC’s Fun Committee will once again host this fun family event where we play Mexican Bingo, eat from a great Taco Bar and win cool prizes.
Wed. Feb 15–OTOC’s Immigration and Refugee Action Team will invite local experts to help us understand possible impact of changes in law at federal and state level and how we can get involved.
Wed. Feb 22–OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Team will invite local experts to explain two important concerns: Carbon Fee and Dividend to properly price the impact of carbon on our environment and assuring that Omaha’s water supply is not threatened by intensive chicken production upstream.
350 OTOC leaders from 30 congregations and community organizations met on Monday, October 17 with Candidates for US Congress, Brad Ashford and Don Bacon, and candidates for OPPD Board Craig Moody and Tom Mulligan.
Watch the news clip and make note of peoples concerns. This is a prime example of why IPL’s role, of training leaders to build stronger communities, will be so important in 2017 and beyond.
The need is greater than ever for leaders who can work in their communities to spark conversations on difficult issues and to work to reach real solutions to problems.
You can do something to help fill that need — donate to the Institute for Public Leadership during its Holiday Campaign and your tax-deductible contribution will immediately get put to work. The IPL Board has set an ambitious yet reachable goal of $20,000 for the Holiday Campaign.Your donation, large or small, can help reach that goal by Dec. 10.
With your support, IPL can continue to empower diverse and emerging communities by developing leaders with skills training, research and organizing support. IPL, with its affiliate organization Omaha Together One Community, then helps those leaders act for justice and the common good.
With your support, IPL can continue efforts such as
- Training refugees to be leaders in their communities on the rights and responsibilities of being tenants
- Working with Omaha and neighborhood leaders on projects such as the Land Bank to make our city a better place to live
- Organizing forums where citizens can get information on issues
- Bringing together diverse communities with events like the Interfaith Solidarity Service and Refugee Culture Night
Donating is easy. You can click on the button below that will take you to the secure online donation site or you can mail a check to Institute for Public Leadership, 3624 Lafayette Ave., Omaha, NE, 68131-1363.
On Wednesday, July 27th eight IPL and OTOC affiliated leaders attended a training workshop on nonprofit advocacy and lobbying. The full day training workshop was organized by the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands and was hosted on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Included in the workshop were three informative and interactive sessions:
Nonprofit Lobbying 101: This session emphasized the importance of lobbying in order to advance missions and achieve policy goals as a nonprofit organization. The session was extremely educational and outlined the parameters in which nonprofits may operate when engaging in non-partisan lobbying.
Nonprofit Lobbying 201: The second session provided insight into how the Unicameral operates, including processes like bill introductions, committee hearings, priority bills, and floor debates. It later described how the state budget operates and impacts our missions and concluded with ideas about how to confront the issues posed by monetary policy.
Nonpartisan Voter Engagement for Nonprofits: The final session highlighted the role nonprofits can play in boosting civic participation and voter turnout among people who care about and are affected by various issues and ideals. Attendees were given information and ideas for how to effectively provide resources to make voting as easy as possible for the greater community.
IPL and OTOC participants found the workshop extremely beneficial and they look forward to sharing what they learned with you!