In 2012, CAFE invested in laying a framework for large-scale community organizing among local environmental groups in Sonoma County. A professional community organizer was hired to develop relationships with local leaders and groups directly impacted by environmental issues.
Based on needs identified, a series of basebuilding forums were designed and conducted with the aim of expanding the capacity of grassroots environmental groups. The goal was both to make each group more effective in the work they do, and to build relationships between groups through the development of sophisticated leaders. Virtually all of these groups, while highly skilled in the science of environmental issues, were less skilled when it came to public outreach and communication. Based on this assessment, forums focused on relationship building, running effective meetings, board development, and messaging.
Over 100 people from 30 local organizations across Sonoma County participated. These forums were a unique endeavor amongst environmental organizations in our community. Turnout exceeded set goals, and the response from participants in written evaluations was overwhelmingly positive.