OCOís mission is to develop leaders who build organization and use power for systemic change improving the quality of life for their families. OCO, founded in 1977, continues to help grassroots leaders organize their communities to work on issues affecting them directly and to seek justice. Congregations and schools with diverse membership serve as our base throughout the city of Oakland. We are faith-based and non-sectarian, and we are affiliated with the PICO network (People Improving Communities through Organizing). We build community and identify concerns through one-on-one visits and house meetings. Leaders with staff support research underlying causes and possible solutions to community issues. Through community forums, OCO forges public and private partnerships to change policy and bring resources to address the issues identified. Local committees are the focal point for leadership development. Power comes from relationships. We build power for our community to use in positive ways, to achieve institutional change and to make our city a better place to live for all families.
Through community organizing, OCO has transformed lives of hundreds of leaders and thousands of families. We have the the community force to: create more than 40 high performing new small autonomous schools serving more than 10,000 students sustain school small school reform for 12 years with seven superintendent changes secure investment of more than $300 million in new school construction establish "beat health" policing programs abating over 1000 drug houses establish "ceasefire/lifelines" program intervening and creating alternatives for those at greatest risk of gun violence secured funding for several hundred affordable housing units lead Oak to Ninth Community Benefits Coalition securng 300 entry level construction jobs and 400 affordable housing units secured most progressive policy in California preventing auto towing saving immigrant families hundreds of dollars provide thousands of families free legal support in securing pathways to citizenship increase funding for community health clinics and access to health insurance for children in collaboration with PICO
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