Organizations that provide direct services – such as housing, food, and counseling – fill critical needs in communities. But these needs are also symptoms of systemic problems. How do organizations address both the symptoms and the systemic inequities that cause them? How does addressing systemic issues inform, strengthen, and sustain direct service work? For many organizations, meaningful constituent participation is at the center of addressing the symptoms and fixing the systems that cause them. 

CUP teamed up with New York Foundation, Building Movement Project, and designers WeShouldDoItAll to create Engage to Change. This slide deck breaks down the connection between direct service work and supporting higher level social and policy change. Drawing from the work and leadership of service organizations in the New York Foundation’s Learning Lab, this tool uses case studies to illustrate specific actions organizations can take to integrate meaningful constituent participation into their work, and how their work stands to benefit by doing so.

Download your copy of the slide deck here!

Resources & Links

The New York Foundation is a steadfast supporter of community organizing and advocacy. Their grants support community-initiated solutions to solve local problems, constituents mobilizing for adequate and equitable resources, and groups organizing a collective voice among those whose voices have not been heard.

The Building Movement Project develops research, tools, training materials and opportunities for partnership that bolster nonprofit organizations’ ability to support the voice and power of the people they serve.

Special Thanks to the participants in the New York Foundation’s Learning Lab:

Bridge Street Local Development Corporation, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Fifth Avenue Committee, Henry Street Settlement, Jacob Riis Settlement House, MinKwon Center for Community Action, Neighbors Together, Queens Community House, Red Hook Initiative, Resilience Advocacy Project, Union Settlement House, United Neighborhood Houses


Project Lead
Ingrid Haftel

Project Support
Oscar Nuñez
Christine Gaspar

New York Foundation
Maria Mottola

Building Movement Project
Frances Kunreuther
Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

    WSDIA | WeShouldDoItAll

    Carolina Moscoso