The Florida Transformative Organizing Initiative (TOI) is a leadership program designed by SJL and Florida New Majority (FNM) with the purpose of catalyzing a new form and scale of organizing that can help transform the social justice movement in Florida. Based on SJL’s Florida Transformative Leadership Program and modeled after NY TOI, the program provides leadership training and organizational development for FNM and all of its partner organizations to increase the effectiveness and impact of individuals, organizations, and alliances in Florida.
FL TOI in 2010-11 involved four multi-day retreats as well as individual coaching and organizational coaching throughout the year with 50 participants from 15 organizations. Trainings and coaching are grounded in the Five Core Practices of Effective Leadership for Social Justice and support participants in merging four critical elements into an effective model of Transformative Organizing:
- Grassroots issue-based organizing
- Non-partisan electoral organizing to scale
- Values and vision
- Transformation of Self
Both SJL staff and FL TOI participants evaluated the 2010-11 program as a great success in terms of the level of trust-building and political cohesion that developed as a result of the pilot program. In its first year, the program focused on three main topics:
Organizational/Movement Performance: assessing the current state of the organizations and the alliance, its effectiveness and its impact; developing and implementing tools to improve performance of the alliance and the participating organizations; improving the ability of staff to meet goals; and developing a culture of planning and performance.
Strategy Development: understanding and analyzing the conditions and politics of Florida; learning and using tools to navigate the landscape and make informed decisions about strategy.
Transformation of Self: identifying unconscious behaviors and habits that impede effectiveness; generating self-awareness of the impacts of behavior on oneself and on others; and developing practices to intentionally embody new qualities and behaviors.
SJL and participating organizations have built on the Florida TLP and evolved FL TOI to further advance a model of Transformative Organizing and the work of the Florida New Majority in the areas of grassroots issue-based organized, non-partisan electoral organizing to scale, values and vision and transformative leadership development. As far as we can tell, these four essential elements are happening nowhere else at scale in the country other than Florida. This collaborative effort thus holds tremendous potential and may have far-reaching implications for the evolution of community organizing in the U.S.
Florida TOI Organizations
- American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Northeast Region
- American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Mid-State Region
- Coalition for Fair and Comprehensive Tax Reform
- Farm Workers Association of Florida
- Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center
- Florida Immigrant Coalition
- Florida Legal Services, Community Justice Project
- Jobs with Justice (South Florida)
- Jobs with Justice (Central Florida)
- Miami Workers Center
- Power U Center for Social Change
- Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy
- Students Working for Equal Rights