Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action (BUILD) is an organization of 24 religious congregations located in Lexington, Kentucky. BUILD is an interfaith, interracial, grassroots, multi-issue, proactive organization. Since its inception in 2003, BUILD has been constituent-led and employs the practices of direct-action community organizing. BUILD is developing a powerful grassroots organization, made up of congregations situated in low-to moderate-income communities that are capable of creating system-wide change in Lexington.
The goals of BUILD are:
· To develop a responsible organization to address local issues of concern to member congregations/groups, through a process of education, training, research, and action.
· To strengthen the individual congregations/groups by training existing leaders in organizing skills, identifying and training potential leaders, building the participation of larger numbers of their members, and attracting the participation of new members.
· To build and deepen relationships among diverse segments of our community by bringing together groups from various cultural, economic, and religious backgrounds around common interests.
· To enable religious congregations and neighborhood groups to act on our shared values of human worth, dignity, and justice.
In past years, BUILD leaders have engaged in other issues of justice. In the area of drugs, BUILD leaders discovered that 80-90 percent of people incarcerated in Lexington-Fayette County are there for reasons related to substance abuse. For those who do not receive treatment while they're incarcerated, up to 66 percent of them are rearrested. There was a drug treatment program in the jail for men that lowered the recidivism rate to 19 percent. BUILD leaders were shocked to discover that there was no program for women. BUILD leaders took the responsibility of holding the city mayor and council accountable for providing $175,000 in the city budget to create a women's drug treatment program in the jail, and continue to ensure this money is allocated. In healthcare, BUILD leaders discovered that they were 40,000 adults in Lexington that we uninsured and were going to emergency rooms for primary care, costing the community and taxpayers millions of dollars.BUILD pressed health care providers to ensure primary care was made accessible to more people, and now almost $8 million in health care is provided to more than 14,000 uninsured adults each year in our community.In public transportation, BUILD leaders discovered that people could not find transportation to get to work. Upon further investigation, leaders found that the businesses were having trouble filling positions for the same reason. BUILD leaders successfully got Lextran to design a bus system that gets people to work. These are not the only problems in Lexington. While the need in these areas is fairly obvious, the greater need may be less apparent. That need is a way for people, specifically those suffering the effects of poverty, to rise up and change systems and practices that make it impossible to escape poverty. To do this, congregations need power and BUILD acts as a vehicle to build power to create system wide change.
Lexington-Fayette County is known as an affluent, well educated community. It is home of both the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University. Lexington enjoys an economic climate that includes a mix of manufacturing, financial, and light industry components. In many ways, Lexington is a very prosperous community. However, this is only half of the story.Of the estimated 301,569 individuals living in Lexington, 17.4% of them are living in poverty. Some areas of Fayette County have nearly 40% of their residents living in poverty. Additionally, Lexington has a county-wide unemployment rate of 6.7%, but some areas of the county have unemployment rates of up to 47%. Lexington ranks #75 in the nation’s highest unemployment rates. The work of BUILD, through congregation-based community organizing, is specifically designed to empower individuals to join together to make long-lasting institutional changes within Lexington. Emphasis is placed on engaging those who are directly experiencing the effects of systemic problems so that they are challenged and trained to build power in order to change their situations.
2010 Leadership Development Goals
1. Develop and strengthen teams in new and existing congregations.
2. Train at least 50 people locally on how to effectively surface issues through a listening process.
3. Engage at least 50 people in a local orientation workshop designed to expose the concept of organizing to new congregations.
4. Train at least 50 people locally on how to conduct issue research and action.
5. Send at least 15 people to national DART training on the principles and techniques of community organizing.
6. Locally train at least 40 leaders on conducting a successful support drive.
7. Increase membership by at least 2 congregations.
8. Hold at least one assembly with at least 250 people present to elect new officers for the organization.
9. Hold at least one assembly with over 1000 people present to secure commitments for change from local decision makers.
2010 Institutional Change Goals
1. Conduct follow-up meetings with public officials on commitments that have already been obtained.
2. Examine public officials’ plan of action to insure the needs of the people are being met.
3. Hold a large assembly with at least 250 people present for public officials to report on the progress made towards goals and to select two new problems areas to take action on.
4. Form issue committees with representatives from each of our member congregations to begin research into these new problem areas.
5. Hold a public assembly with more than 1000 people present. At this assembly, pursue and obtain specific commitments for change from the public officials who have the power to implement that change.
6. Conduct follow-up meetings with local officials to hold them accountable to their commitments and to ensure they are making progress in the time agreed upon.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507