CIO Strategic Plan: Introduction
Why Plan and Why Now?
The Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) is a diverse, grassroots organization working to build a multi-racial, multicultural movement for immigrant and refugee rights through education, civic engagement and policy advocacy, community organizing and mobilization, and intergenerational leadership development.
CIO is a dynamic, growing community-based organization. When we were founded in 2003, our focus was on immediately responding to anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant attacks in the wake of 9/11. Since then, we have broadened our focus to include strategies aimed at building power within immigrant and refugee communities.
Over the past seven years, CIO has engaged thousands of individuals from diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, trained new immigrant and refugee community leaders, produced dozens of educational events, mobilized countless immigrant and refugee community members to resist public policy attacks against them, and continued to respond to individual incidents of discrimination and harassment in our community as they arise.
Since becoming a membership organization in March 2007, we have recruited a strong base of engaged immigrant and refugee members from over 60 countries of origin. The energy of these members has strengthened CIO’s programs and supported a staff of committed individuals. These recent successes have created both opportunities and challenges, and the Center for Intercultural Organizing felt that it was time for a new set of goals and priorities.
Therefore, in May 2008, the Board, staff members and key stakeholders began the process of creating a strategic plan to direct the next four years of organizational growth and strengthen CIO’s ability to achieve our vision of a multi-ethnic, multicultural democracy inclusive of all.
The Center’s Board of Directors is excited to implement this strategic plan and lead the organization into its next four years of productive and healthy expansion. Through CIO’s leadership development and educational programs, our emerging leaders will take on decision-making roles in the community, while empowering others to do the same. CIO’s work will impact both local and national policy change that improves the lives of immigrants and refugees and the Center will become a respected resource for community-based research and multi-ethnic programming. In addition, the Center will remain a welcoming space for the community to gather and work across cultures to build a vibrant and diverse movement for immigrant and refugee inclusion. And, of course, we recognize the need to revaluate our goals and strategies in order to align ourselves with shifting conditions on the ground. We believe this strategic plan provides the flexibility necessary to stay relevant to the immigrant and refugee individuals, families and communities most affected by social, political and economic injustice.
– Ben Lischner, Board President, 2009