Technical Assistance (TA) Team

Through CCHE, The Praxis Project to coordinate technical assistance to provide grantees with individualized assistance, trainings, tools and more. Our team of technical assistance providers have been drawn from the country's leaders in grassroots organizing, capacity building, research and evaluation, communications and new media.

Berkeley Media Studies Group Center for Media Justice Colectivo Flatlander Design Studio for Social Intervention Environmental Justice Resource Center The Highlander Center Movement/Media Research and Action Project Movement Strategy Center Northwest Federation of Community Organizations Prevention Institute Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education Loyola Marymount University’s Psychology Applied Research Center (LMU-PARC) The Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) is a cutting edge research organization founded in 1993 by leading media researchers Lawrence Wallack and Lori Dorfman. Since its inception, BMSG has led in the communications research field by developing participatory research methods that support social justice initiatives in effectively communicating values-based, tested messages. BMSG has authored several definitive content analyses in a wide range of areas including youth violence, affirmative action coverage and children’s television. They examine how controversial issues are discussed in the news and help clarify the arguments for and against issues so that advocates learn to understand the continuum of debate and anticipate opposing viewpoints. For their journalist education work, BMSG partners with journalists and journalism professors to create tools and bring training directly into newsrooms. Their many publications include News For a Change, Reporting on Violence: a Handbook for Journalists, and Voices for Change: A Taxonomy of Public Communications Campaigns and Their Evaluation Challenges. The Center for Media Justice builds communications power and defends the communication rights of youth, communities of color, and organizing groups working for racial and economic justice. Launched in 2001 to counter racial stereotypes and anti-youth bias in the news, CMJ is a media strategy and action center dedicated to building a strategic and collaborative movement for justice by strengthening media strategy, capacity and action. Colectivo Flatlander is a Texas-based organization that works with groups throughout the Southwest and the Gulf Coast. The organization began as a collective and has worked thru strategic partnerships with the venerable Highlander Research and Education Center, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the American Friends Service Committee. Since 2002 Colectivo has served organizations and groups by providing practical organizing tools, critical analysis and spaces for dialogue-- mostly in Spanish and applying a Popular Education methodology. Flatlander has an extensive network of groups and allies, many of whom are working with immigrant communities. The Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI) was founded January 2005. It is dedicated to changing how social change is imagined, developed and deployed here in the United States. The organization has created a design studio for the progressive arm of the nonprofit sector in order to support the ability to create new forms of effective social intervention and the exploration of new ways to be interventionists.DS4SI borrows methodologies from design practices and implements them in unconventional and innovate ways. They have worked with urban designers, cultural architects, game designers, performance artists and youth to translate design theory into large urban games, block parties, t-shirts and political campaigns. On-going projects include the Youth Activism Design Institute, the Cultural Commons Project, Bodies Borders and Boundaries and artists-in-residence.DS4SI believes that creating a space for design and intentionally supporting the development of a sector-specific design practice is imperative in order for the sector to break out of its box of exhausted forms. The Environmental Justice Resource Center was formed at Clark Atlanta University in 1994 to serve as a research, policy, and information clearinghouse on issues related to environmental justice, race, the environment, civil and human rights. The overall goal of the center is to assist, support, train and educate people of color including students, professionals and grassroots community leaders, with the goal of facilitating their inclusion into the mainstream of decision making. The center is multi-disciplinary in its focus and approach. It serves as a bridge among the social and behavioral sciences, health professionals, natural and physical sciences, engineering, management and legal disciplines to solve environmental and health problems. The centers programs build on the work that its staff has been engaged in for over two decades. The Highlander Center was founded in 1932 to serve as an adult education center for community workers involved in social and economic justice movements. The goal of Highlander is to provide education and support to poor and working people fighting economic injustice, poverty, prejudice, and environmental destruction. They help grassroots leaders create the tools necessary for building broad-based movements for change. The founding principle and guiding philosophy of Highlander is that the answers to the problems facing society lie in the experiences of ordinary people. Highlander has an extensive network of diverse organizations throughout the south. Movement/Media Research and Action Project is a national network of social researchers and activists led by Dr. Charlotte Ryan. Dr. Ryan is a professor in the Sociology Department of University of Massachusetts at Lowell who studies how social groups organize for change, paying particular attention to the role of mass media and communication in those change efforts. Her most recent book, with David Croteau and William Hoynes, is Rhyming Hope and History: Social Movement Scholarship and Activism (University of Minnesota Press, 2005). Dr. Ryan also supervises field work. Movement Strategy Center’s (MSC) strategic framework is to build the social justice movement by building the capacity of individuals, organizations, alliances, and sectors to be more collaborative, strategic and sustainable. MSC helps to build local, regional and national networks of activists across issues, constituencies and geographies. MSC supports activists in developing skills, shared culture, analysis and vision to work together in broad, cohesive alliances—with a strong emphasis on the leadership of base-building groups working to address the needs of low-income communities and communities of color. MSC has extensive experience applying their successful model to youth organizing organizations. The Northwest Federation of Community Organizations (NWFCO) is a regional network dedicated to systemic change by building strong state-affiliated organizations and by executing national and regional campaigns that advance economic, racial, and social justice. In the ten years since its founding, NWFCO has trained hundreds of community leaders who are taking action and making change in their communities. Prevention Institute is a national non-profit center dedicated to improving community health and well-being by building momentum for effective primary prevention in areas such as injury and violence prevention, traffic safety, health disparities, nutrition and physical activity, and youth development. One key goal is to help cultivate the seeds of changing eating and activity norms into a broad movement across the United States. PI has a breadth of experience working with key leaders across the country and providing consultation, technical assistance, and trainings to local, state, and national nutrition and physical activity projects. Their knowledge of nutrition and physical activity strategies has evolved over the last seven years. They completed an environmental scan for The California Endowment on Environmental Approaches to Improving Eating and Physical Activity Habits, building on the research base and promising practices from around the country. This work has been expanded in the Environmental Nutrition and Activity Community Tool (ENACT), which outlines proven and promising practices for improving opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating in schools, neighborhoods, and worksites. Prevention Institute is a founding partner and coordinator of The Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments, a California coalition focused on advancing an environmental and policy change agenda. Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education (SCOPE) develops multi-dimensional approaches that reduce and eliminate structural barriers to opportunities for poor and economically disadvantaged communities and communities of color. SCOPE pursues this work through four strategies: 1) Building models of increasing civic participation where poor and disadvantaged communities and communities of color can become active participants in public policy-making and initiatives that impact their lives; 2) Working to develop strategic alliances between diverse communities and constituencies that link addressing local social and economic conditions with regional initiatives and economic/social agendas; 3) Equipping poor and disadvantaged communities and communities of color with the strategic research/analysis, educational tools/methodologies, and the use of technology needed to understand the nature of structural economic changes and develop proactive responses, which address issues and needs; and 4) Providing training and strategic facilitation to ally organizations, in order to build connections, relationships, and collaborations at local, regional, state, national, and international levels. SCOPE has developed a number of tools that have set the standard for community building including the SCOPE Power Analysis process that is now used by thousands of community organizers nationwide. Loyola Marymount University's Applied Research Center (LMU-PARC) is modeled after the evaluation tradition of The Imoyase Group, a leading evaluation and action research organization whose diverse, multi-disciplinary team boasts several languages including Spanish, Thai, Amharic and Cantonese. Their participatory-based approach to evaluation and action research is grounded in their extensive experience in conducting research to support social change initiatives. PARC and Imoyase design public opinion and community surveys; and conduct focus groups, structured interviews, and telephone interviews in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual communities. They also have extensive translation capacity for culturally competent translation of messages and materials in several languages. Five factors make LMU - PARC uniquely effective: 1) The Psychology Department has immediate access to a cross-disciplinary team of scholars in Chicano Studies, African American Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Bioethics, Education, Language Studies, Business Administration, Life Sciences including Athletic Training faculty and Loyola Law School; 2) they are culturally grounded, which enhances their approach to research and evaluation; 3) their team is ethnically diverse, reflective of the of the United States’ and its broad range of social, economic, ethnic, and cultural demographics; 4) they are linguistically diverse, capable of speaking, interpreting and translating a variety of languages; and 5) their team are respected for their work throughout the United States, having established and respected bonds with a host of community-based organizations, foundations, and educational institutions across the country. The evaluation team is led by Dr. Cheryl Grills, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Loyola Marymount University.