Mission: Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) works to build the leadership and power of low-income parents (mostly mothers and grandmothers) in and across neighborhoods of low-income people of color throughout Chicago, in order to make communities and public policies more supportive of children and families.
Programs: To achieve this goal, COFI has developed a unique model of leadership development and organizing, Family Focused Organizing, that has successfully brought residents of historically disenfranchised communities into public life, often for the first time. COFI implements Family Focused Organizing through three programs:(1) Citywide organizing: COFI provides leadership training and organizing assistance to Parents Organized to Win, Educate, and Renew Policy Action Council (POWER-PAC), a citywide organization of 250 low-income African American and Latina parents. POWER-PAC is working to improve discipline and reduce conflicts in Chicago Public Schools, and to restore recess in the schools to promote healthy child development.(2) Local organizing: COFI provides leadership training, staff training, and organizing assistance to groups such as Austin Wide Parent Leaders, Cabrini Mothers in Power, Family Focus in Englewood and Lawndale, and Nuestra Familia to develop local leaders, build parent teams, and facilitate neighborhood-level community organizing in Chicago's low-income Latino and African American communities. (3) Shared learning: Through its Institute for Family Focused Organizing, COFI provides staff training and consultation with organizations nationwide who are interested in integrating the Family Focused Organizing model into their work. COFI also develops and circulates publications about Family Focused Organizing.
I have been involved with the work of COFI for almost 10 years. In the 10 years that I have been involved with the organization, I have seen hundreds of parents from across the city come through the COFI organizing training and become leaders in the homes, schools, and communities. COFI is a place that gives a voice to those who would otherwise be overlooked and ignored.
COFI is the greatest parent training that has been introduce to parents in the city of chicago and all over the state of illinois in order to really understanding what i am talking about you must attend one of their training you will come out of the training with new ideas about yourself, family, and community. You would want to become a Leader of your community and help others. Many others that have taken the training have made interesting things happen in their life. When you become a part of COFI it's like adding something new to your own family, because they care about you and what is happening in your life and will support you, whenever you need them.
I have worked with COFI and their team of POWER PAC parent leaders over the past 2 years as a community partner. They have been instrumental in helping our coalition think through how our initiatives can have a greater community impact. They have also been powerful partners as we work to close the racial wealth gap.