NOA Pulls Back From Brink

The National Organizers Alliance (NOA) released a letter this week to members updating us on the state of affairs in the fledging organization.  I’ve been a member since NOA’s early years in the 1990’s thanks to friends in Jobs with Justice and UUA Anti-Racism networks.  They have held amazing gatherings of organizers (of all stripes and colors), and I was able to attend one in 1999 in North Carolina’s Blue Mountains.  I used to give NOA memberships to friends as gifts, but recently with the departure of a newly hired Executive Director and financial difficulties, I’ve been holding off.  Glad to see that NOA is emerging from difficult times.  Here is NOA’s letter:

Dear Members, Allies and Supporters,                                                                   

As you may know, NOA has faced some challenges over the past year. The Steering Committee has been working hard to help the organization recover from the financial and capacity shortfalls that took place in 2004.

We are happy to report that over the last several months NOA has been able to gain a foothold. We have brought new leadership onto the Steering Committee, made dramatic improvements to the pension plan and secured operating funds for 2005 thanks to the generosity and commitment of our members and funders.

We are excited to inform you that the pension plan has moved through its restructuring, and is now actively seeking new group enrollments. Through small deposits each month, organizers have invested and grown $6m in their own retirement accounts. In the coming months we will be introducing groups to exciting new features including web-based accounts for individuals and organizations, simplified administration, and one-step billing. The strengthening of the pension plan has been made possible by the largely pro-bono efforts of Kat Rohr. We are pleased to announce that Kat has recently accepted the full-time position of pension director. She brings extensive knowledge in pension management, administrative oversight, and the field of social justice.

We are also pleased to inform you that Patrick Masterson has accepted the position of interim director. In this capacity he will be assisting the Steering Committee as we examine the future capacity of NOA. He has been working with NOA for the past few months as a consultant and brings experience in organizing and strategic program planning.

As we look toward next steps for NOA, we hope that you will join us in this effort by giving your feedback through our survey at www.noacentral.org. This survey is designed to get input from members and allies without being time consuming. Your input will help inform us as we consider the future of NOA. 

Lastly, we want to thank you for your patience and understanding as NOA has moved through this reorganization. Due to the staffing and budgetary constraints, NOA has not had the ability to communicate as widely with members as we would have liked. NOA members, supporters and allies have always been a generous and understanding group. This has been particularly apparent as we’ve moved through this period. Thank you for all the encouraging words to employees, Steering Committee members, and volunteers. Please know that your encouragement has truly made a difference. If you’d like to reach someone on staff, please call 202-543-6603 or e-mail to info@noacentral.org.

Sincerely,

The Steering Committee / Board of Trustees:

Wanda Salaman, Mothers on the Move

Idida Perez, West Town Leadership

Cathy Howell, AFL-CIO

Walter Davis, Southern Empowerment Project

Ericka Taylor, Public Welfare Foundation

Rusia Mohiuddin, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality

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