GVAT began organizing in February 2016*. To date we have serious interest from over 50 faith groups, unions, community groups, issue based not for profits and educational organizations. We have start-up funding. We have charitable status. We have a broadly representative sponsorship committee. We have attracted the almost full time volunteer services of 2 seasoned organizers and professional IT support. We have the confidence of a number of established leaders in the region and the curiosity of many residents.
GVAT is based on a model that’s proven itself effective over the long term in bringing about grassroots, values-based social change. It’s one of 85 similar groups around the world loosely affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation. Founded 1940 in Chicago, the IAF is an effective tool for social change. Victoria is the 4th Canadian city to create an organization based on this model. In the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany, IAF affiliates have formed strong coalitions of issue-based groups, faith communities and unions to work together to advance shared priorities.
GVAT is bringing together individuals belonging to various local civic groups of all types, through the following process:
- Meetings with individuals and “house meetings” designed for information sessions and informal Q&A – please see the Events page to sign up for one that suits your schedule.
- “Listening campaigns” conducted by trained volunteers within each group, to determine the social needs they perceive as the most important or urgent.
- The results of the listening campaigns are pooled and common ground sought by consensus. The items on the final list of priorities are those supported by all groups, in order to focus on goals common to all.
- “Asks” will then be identified, i.e. winnable actions to be put forward to achieve the goals chosen.
For example, in Vancouver on 9 October, 2014, a meeting was held between local politicians from the various parties and delegations of 52 member organizations within the Metro Vancouver Alliance (MVA). These groups represented over 200,000 people from across the Lower Mainland. Over 800 people filled the hall to hear MVA’s proposals on local priorities such as living wage, affordable housing and improved transit. Through this process, the City of Vancouver agreed that the City and its contractors will be liveable wage employers.
As our numbers grow, Victoria will establish its own priorities and action plans… with your help.
*The story of the GVAT’s roots can be found here: How We Became Interested in Broad-based Organizing