ABOUT MAHONING VALLEY ORGANIZING COLLABORATIVE

Who We Are

What Does MVOC Do?

At MVOC, we believe that true change only occurs when individuals are actively engaged in the political, economic, and social decisions that affect their daily lives. Our staff, leaders, members, and partner organizations share a set of common values like justice and equality that sits at the core of our work in the community.

It is our mission to identify and develop leaders, organize neighborhoods, and build the capacity necessary to create positive community change. This work is accomplished by fulfilling several key principles:

TO ORGANIZE individuals, organizations, and neighborhoods working on quality of life issues in the Mahoning Valley into a supportive and united entity that can deliver people and get things done.

TO TRAIN individuals and organizations to identify the needs of the community and to hold public institutions accountable to meeting those needs.

TO PROVIDE RESOURCES through technical assistance and support, assist organizations in developing membership, raising funds, and identifying issues and problems that block attainment of a healthy community.

TO LINK neighborhoods to larger community initiatives - regional, statewide, and national - for the betterment of the Mahoning Valley.

TO GIVE HOPE to individuals and local grassroots organizations working to create sustainable neighborhoods and enhance their community together.

TO ENCOURAGE individuals and neighborhoods affected by an issue to create a campaign to address that issue.

What is Community Organizing?

Community organizing is a vehicle for everyday people to have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. Organizing involves finding and developing grassroots leaders, uniting diverse institutions such as churches, schools, and neighborhood groups around a shared self-interest, and building power to be able to achieve a vision for the community and create systemic change.

MVOC does so through several methods, including training and developing leaders, teaching strategies to build or rebuild networks of relationships, and assisting institutions to look outward and use creative strategies for community engagement. We also serve to link a broad range of institutions to collaborate, share resources, and examine problems with a comprehensive approach. Our analysis is that there is often very good work going on in communities but it is usually fragmented and happening in isolation.

Additionally, MVOC organizes institutions to have a collective voice in the decision making process to tackle social justice issues such as reducing concentrated poverty, improving the quality of life in the Mahoning Valley, and fighting racism and inequities based upon where one lives.

MVOC History

Decades of long-term disinvestment, declining industry, and chronic job loss in Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana counties - paired with a rapidly deteriorating national economy - led to the founding of the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative (MVOC) in 2008. MVOC is a broad-based, innovative community organization that seeks to improve quality of life in our region.

In just under six years, MVOC has built a vibrant base of individuals and institutions throughout the Mahoning Valley. We are in relationship with over 110 neighborhood groups, faith institutions, labor unions, and nonprofit agencies - all joined in the common goal of creating sustainable, positive change in our neighborhoods and community. Our work focuses on the issues and concerns that neighborhood residents have brought to the forefront.

MVOC is currently running four broad-based organizing campaigns: Economic Opportunity, Fighting Disinvestment, Healthy Communities, and Grassroots Organizing. Each of these have targeted issues and strategies that are connected through our shared values, with organizers and leaders tying those values directly back to our work in the community.

FAQs

What kind of organizations does MVOC work with?

MVOC engages in broad-based community organizing, meaning that we work with congregations, neighborhood groups and block watches, social service and non-profit agencies, labor unions, and other community partners.

How does my organization become a member of MVOC?

Membership guarantees support for MVOC's local organizing campaigns, and is based an organization's size and/or budget. Members receive active staff support and reduced training costs, as well as seats on the local Leadership Council, where collective, democratic decisions are made regarding organizing campaigns. Contact an organizer for more information about becoming a member of MVOC.

Where does MVOC get its funding?

MVOC receives its funding through foundation grants and membership dues.

Is MVOC affiliated with a political party?

No, MVOC is a non-partisan 501c3 organization focused on addressing quality of life issues in the Mahoning Valley. MVOC does not endorse nor support any specific candidate running for office.

What issues does MVOC work on?

For over five years, MVOC has worked on issues including vacant properties and disinvestment, neighborhood revitalization, landlord accountability, health equity, human trafficking, criminal justice reform, and other issues that affect the quality of life in Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties. For more information on the issues we work on, visit our Campaign pages.

Who makes the decisions at MVOC?
We are an organization that is dedicated to the creation of sustainable change on local, regional, and statewide platforms. As such, MVOC's grassroots Leadership Council - comprised of members, leaders, and representatives from participating institutions - make the decisions regarding which issues are addressed by our organizers. MVOC's Board of Directors - with representatives from neighborhood groups, faith institutions, labor unions, and other local agencies - oversees the MVOC's fiscal health and overall strategy.