About The Praxis Project

Our mission is to build healthy communities by changing the power relationship between people of color and the institutional structures that affect their lives. We are an intermediary working to support local policy advocacy as part of a comprehensive strategy for change. Our emphasis is on developing fields of work in ways that encourage multi level, trans-disciplinary learning and collaboration. National, multi site initiatives are a core part of our work as they operate as "laboratories" where we work to extract lessons for application in other fields of work and vice versa so that we can move all of our work further, faster. This is part of our work to identify "fulcrum" points. These are approaches that help lift and advance a wide range of work like, for example, meta messaging -- communication strategies that cut across campaigns and issues for greater "echo" and impact.

The Praxis Change Model


Basic Tenets of Our Change Model
Building local power is critical to making real change. What are the building blocks of a new democracy? How will we learn to work together? Govern together? Working locally, we can more effectively make our voices heard, forge shared vision and even implement cutting edge initiatives. The local is especially important as our communities are often concentrated in urban and rural areas that are marginalized in the regular course of state and federal policymaking. As statewide initiatives tend to focus where legislative interest and power resides, these initiatives can contribute to the disenfranchisement of cities and rural areas and further privilege suburban areas. Building local power with national vision and coordination is building democracy from the bottom up.
Community organizing and capacity building are central to making sustained change. Advocates also need a supportive community in which they can explore new models, forge new alliances and learn from one another. Praxis is dedicated to the principles of popular education. Praxis provides training and education approaches that value participation and experiential learning. We are committed to building power in communities that are often marginalized in policymaking. Projects with the potential for building long term infrastructure for change are a priority as addressing root causes is a long term project. 
Not just more policy but better policy. Inspired by theoretical frameworks like Lefevre’s “Right to the City,” Sembello, Freire and Cabral, we have been grappling with how our work concretely contributes to real change. As a result, we have developed a three-stage ranking approach to our policy work. 
Effective change work requires effective use of technology. 
Our work must be based on good research and evaluation. This is the Information Age and research is the new currency in policymaking. Praxis develops information to help shape policy and strategy in this shifting social climate. Focus group testing, polling, mapping and data analysis are a critical part of our research and evaluation component. We examine the context as well as the content of policy initiatives to provide credible information that advocates can use.
Our Key Programs
New Cities/New Communitiesis a cross-disciplinary project to draw on some of the world’s best practices in the development of comprehensive, progressive local policies. These policies, taken together, will remake local communities into healthy, democratic, thriving places for all its residents.
Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE) program is a national funding and capacity building initiative to support diverse, community-based organizations and tribal groups in the development and implementation of effective, culturally competent, policy initiatives to advance food and recreation justice. Up to ten grantees will receive up to $250,000 over three years in 2009. There will be another funding cycle of ten grantees in 2010. The Call For Proposals is scheduled to be released in January 2009. To sign up to receive notice of the Call For Proposals, please visit us online at www.thepraxisproject.org
Working at the meta level requires supportive space for cross issue discussion, public opinion research that looks at overarching themes as well as organizing initiatives that enable work outside of the bounds of category. Meta Messaging Project works through forums, skill building sessions, research and collaborative strategy development to forge cross cutting, progressive communications frames while working to expand progressive infrastructure for disseminating messages. 
Movement Building Initiative provides funding, training, technical assistance, capacity building and e-advocacy initiatives that help increase the base of advocates engaged in social justice work with an emphasis on work at scale. Programs under this initiative include Building Capacity Building Power, a national initiative to support grassroots electoral work; and our Learning Circle series.
For more information, please visit us on the web at www.thepraxisproject.org



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