GEA’s strength and benefit is in its member organizations, aka “institutions”: the congregations, education organizations, nonprofits, and other civic organizations that share a concern for the common good of our community.
If your organization becomes a GEA member institution, we will work with you to build a “core team.” A core team is a group of volunteer leaders within a member institution. They intentionally build relationships among the organization’s members in order to listen for the community’s issues, and they find new volunteer leaders to engage in our work. The core team also acts as a liaison with GEA.
Member institutions commit to building teams of volunteer leaders to work on local issues that are agreed on by GEA’s full leadership. By joining with other institutions that have similar goals and concerns, GEA members increase their collective power and work to achieve victories on local and state-wide issues.
GEA member institutions have many reasons for joining. They see:
- that a core team can help to shift the culture of their organization into one that shares responsibility and leadership, is built on powerful relationships, and is responsive to the needs of their members
- the advantages of working with a diverse cross-cultural collection of organizations that are all concerned with social justice and community development
- the power of working in relationship with other organizations, which is ultimately more effective than working alone
- the richness of the relationships that can form in the process of working together
- the possibility of increased influence in the Puget Sound region
Other benefits of membership:
- Free registration for an unlimited number of members in the local Leadership Institutes
- Assistance with organizing local issue campaigns, as well as the ability to connect to Sound Alliance’s broader campaigns
- Assistance with organizing strategies within member organizations
- Representation in Sound Alliance-wide decision-making on the Sound Alliance Delegate Assembly
Member institutions pay annual dues to ensure Sound Alliance has a secure and independent core budget and to support the work of the organization. This enables Sound Alliance to be accountable to its member organizations, not outside funders.
I first encountered GEA through my housing co-operative and it was not a promising start. I saw the dues as a waste of money and successfully advocated for canceling our membership. My attitude changed when I went back to university and studied the theology of urban and international development. There I learned the theory behind community organizing and how it enables faith communities to work together with others for the common good. Since then I have benefited personally and professionally from my work with GEA and from the excellent IAF training. I hope that more leaders in Edmonton will come to appreciate the approach that IAF has used successfully in so many places.
For more information on becoming a member institution of GEA, please contact Joe Chrastil, Interim Organizer.