Thomas Merton Center, Inc.

Rating: 3.65 stars   17 reviews

Issues: International

Location: 5125 Penn Ave Pittsburgh PA 15224 USA

Mission: We are people from diverse philosophies and faiths who find common ground in the nonviolent struggle to bring about a more peaceful and just world. We work to raise the moral questions involved in the issues of war, poverty, racism, and oppression.
Programs: Over thirty projects and campaigns. See www.thomasmertoncenter.org/what_we_do.htm for more information.
Write a Review
Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I continue to be amazed at the accomplishments of the Thomas Merton Center - especially now at its 40th Anniversary year!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Diane McMahon

The Thomas Merton Center is dedicated to bringing about a more peaceful and just world. In 2011 we are focusing on four important areas - environmental justice, economic justice, prisoner's rights and ending the war.

This requires a willingness to speak the truth, at the most difficult times, and to do it for the good of all humanity, and not for individual advancement.

Members of the Thomas Merton Center take on this challenge on a daily basis. They are supported by a community of committed activists who have willingly joined together to find support and strength in these difficult times.

We invite you to join with us in the struggle.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Actions, critical discourse and within planful strategies that look to create deep and sustaining impact in the greater Pittsburgh area.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ask more people to join with us in this important work that strives for advocacy and justice for all.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

Absolutely nothing positive going on there. GLBT folks are being gay bashed right in their neighborhood and the Thomas Merton Center remains silent. Don`t waste your money on this organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

its animosity toward most activists who are not associated with them

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

abolish it and start over with a new group

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

there wasn't anything to do as a volunteer and it was boring and a waste of time. Merton Center is a zombie compared to what it used to be, and it should move over or quit so that young people can use its resources to actually DO things.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

wasting my time.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

bring back the young activists the board drove away.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

None

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

have something going on there at all times instead of nothing

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

no

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

bored, angry

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a board member, volunteer and consultant at the Center. There is plenty to be critical of. We haven't figured everything out and we're human and it's hard to please everyone. This one star review is written by someone who has continually slammed us in the press, to various large groups of email recipients, unsolicited sent email and letters to our members and been red-baiting me (I am proud to be a socialist and won't take that as some kind out outdated, hysterical blanket condemnation of my work and who I am). Her story is full of misunderstandings about how things work, using little bits of information to prove evil intent and pulling various details that are of no consequence. Every single point is dripping in hypocrisy and lies. It's the ravings of a seriously upset woman and I can respect her outrage on a personal level, but it is not representative of most criticisms of the organization because it's only been experienced by a single person. No one else has demanded unfettered, free access for a project that currently takes up about 1/3 of our rented space. What is true of things ignored and not provided to Book'Em, ones that are true, is true of other projects and the Center. We did not keep up the building and we have had a rough transition to a Center run entirely by part-time staff and volunteers.

It's a great organization. Most cities don't have a peace and social justice center and we do. Pittsburgh is better for it, but we can certainly use it more effectively. Unfortunately, the Center suffers from what much of the left in the U.S. and globally does - fragmentation, demoralization, lack of practical training of new activists in basic organizational skills, lack of communication between groups and cow-towing to the Democrats. We are also a non-profit and those are hard to run. We currently run on very little paid staff labor and so there have been slip-ups, but we have assembled an amazing group of very dedicated volunteers (those who do not ask of the Center, such as this reviewer, that which would be insane and counter-productive to give up to merely a single project out of many) and a very committed membership. We have NOT lost 2/3 of our membership. Some mythical 1,000 number is floated from 2000, I'm not sure if we ever have that many and there was a time when people who were not members were counted as them (such as those who came to our award dinner, that routinely draws non-members). Our membership has grown quite a bit recently, considering how difficult it is for us to reach out and do the work necessary to do this because we are so strapped getting the bare necessities covered.

I wish we were able to be THE clearing house for progressive activism in the Pittsburgh area. But we are much too white, much too old and fail to convince others on the left in the city to join in with us, identify with us and work with us. We represent a rather tiny portion of the activism happening in Pittsburgh - we are better than not having a Center, but not up to the tasks ahead if we don't change things drastically and get seriously. We should engage with communities of color more and with young people, many of whom are just plain not involved in activism or only hooked into certain venues, not to the city as a whole and its activist community. We should also have more constructive relationship with our anarchist and anti-authoritarian brothers and sisters. There will be disagreements, but they are not worthy of keeping us from working together if it would benefit us both to do so and cultivate a more cohesive, organized, effective resistance to all the problems we are facing. We are on the same side and there is just too much to accomplish.

All the exploitation, oppression and injustice is out there and there are a lot of people resisting it, but we have to get together, get more people on our side, etc, if we will win and really change things. I believe it can and must and will happen, but it won't happen automatically.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen it organize protests and facilitate activism in a way other organizations can't really pull off.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it more serious about activism, more cohesive, reach out more, get real about practical matters of finances, outreach, etc.

Was this review helpful?