From the very beginning of OF/BY/FOR ALL, we’ve dreamed big. Our goal is to empower millions of people to share their voices by equipping civic and cultural organizations to become more inclusive, relevant, empowering spaces.
Because we dream big, we focused our first 15 months on exploring how to build a change program for scale. We love hosting bootcamps and in-person trainings. We love working closely with individual organizations. But we don’t see that as the path to building a movement. We believe the greatest potential for change rests not in our hands but in the hands of brave, creative practitioners trying out new inclusive practices all over the world. We want to empower changemakers to do their best work, share, and grow together. So we are putting most of our energy into building a signature online program - the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network - that equips organizations of all sizes to make inclusive change within a global online learning community.
This month, we hit three big milestones related to this effort. We launched the third wave of the Change Network, welcoming ten amazing new organizations into an updated version of the program. We received 501c3 tax status, which enables us to move forward as an independent, tax-exempt nonprofit organization. And we hired Mateo Mossey, an amazing community organizer and trainer, to join our team.
We’re watching the Third Wave closely to see whether we are ready to start scaling in 2020. One of the most painful things we do right now is say “not yet” to people who want to join the Change Network. We want to be able to say yes to everyone who is ready and eager to lead change. Our hope is that this new updated version of the Change Network will be strong, stable, and effective enough to welcome twice as many member organizations next year as this year.
And if we’re going to do that, we need help. That’s why we launched the search this summer that brought Mateo Mossey to our team. Mateo is joining founding staff member Lauren Benetua as a Community Catalyst. Community Catalysts (or CATs, as we call them) work with members of the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network to help support and drive institutional change. Catalysts are part trainer, part coach, part teammate in this journey to build more inclusive institutions.
Mateo comes to us with a deep commitment to equity and inclusion and a rich set of experiences in community organizing and creative practice. Mateo has worked to empower and support foster youth, farmworkers, and rural LGBTQ activists while pursuing music and artistic pursuits outside of work as a way to celebrate and share culture. They have experience in program management, leadership development, and social media management. Add in a love of learning, a streak of goofiness, and deep empathy for different perspectives, and you have an amazing new OF/BY/FOR ALL team member. Check out Mateo’s video below to learn more about them.
I feel so blessed and grateful to all our partners who are helping us grow. We are honored by your trust and support, and we’re going to keep pushing to make this vision reality. We plan to bring on new staff members, Change Network members, and funding partners in the months to come. I hope you’ll be among them. I can’t wait to write updates about the change you are leading, the inclusive work you are doing, and the journey all of us are taking to become of, by, and for all.