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FOR Strategic Plan 2011-2015


Preamble

As the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA (FOR) approaches the end of the current five-year plan it offers for adoption this framework for the coming five years, which will end in its 100th anniversary. Our principal tasks are to have and project hope in the face of hopelessness, and to never give up the struggle to secure a world without war with peace and justice for all.

In preparation for, researching, and writing a new plan, we have found broad support for the current formulation of the mission, vision, values of the organization as follows:

Mission Statement

FOR seeks to replace violence, war, racism and economic injustice with nonviolence, peace and justice. We are an interfaith organization committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change. We educate, train, build coalitions, and engage in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally, and globally.”

Vision Statement

FOR envisions a world of justice, peace, and freedom. It is a revolutionary vision of a beloved community where differences are respected, conflicts are addressed nonviolently, oppressive structures are dismantled, and where people live in harmony with the earth, nurtured by diverse spiritual traditions that foster compassion, solidarity, and reconciliation.”

Values Statement

  • Active nonviolence — as a way of personal life and as a means to achieving racial, economic, and gender justice and reconciliation;
  • Economic, racial and gender justice — we envision “The Beloved Community” as inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., requiring us to ensure all are seen as equal in value and rights and all are held in regard and relationships of love;
  • Belief — we come together in unity from that place beyond fact that inspires us to act with courage and in spiritual connection;
  • Relationships — we seek to act in community with each other and in our individual and collective communities with regard, respect, mutual accountability, and joy;
  • Honor and Respect — we may disagree but always offer respect for each person’s life and the dignity of all living beings. We seek paths to reconciliation with those who oppose;
  • Diversity — we embrace diversity of belief, action, culture, and life styles and commit to honor all life and all those who seek peace through nonviolence; and
  • Integrity — we seek to be at peace as we seek peace. We strive to learn, to teach, and to live with consistency of word and deed.

These underlying bases of the work of FOR are as relevant and apt today as when they were adopted.

Our theory of social change is that it is a movement toward greater equality and justice. It begins at the individual level working locally through active efforts by dedicated, passionate people, many of whom act from spiritual leadings, whose clarity of purpose and vision and success actively moves through communities and structures representing wider and wider circles of peoples until systems are transformed in sustainable ways for the foreseeable future. Our field of intended effective social change is that of structural violence in the United States and propagated by the United States throughout the world.

Premises

Why does FOR exist? What is our purpose, our goal? FOR exists to explore the power of love and truth for resolving human conflict through nonviolent reconciliation, in order to secure a world without war with peace and justice for all.

What do we do? How will we achieve that goal? Working through transformative nonviolence and grounded in our faith and faith traditions, we pursue social change and personal and structural transformation. We seek to establish our strongest collaborative relationships with local chapters, religious peace fellowships, and affiliates and other branches of FOR globally.

Who are we? We are an intentionally loosely knit collection of variously organized individuals and groups, attempting an experience of the beloved community, nurtured by diverse spiritual traditions, united by attributions of membership in the FOR including: public statements of a conscious choice of conscience, participation in local chapters and affiliates, religious peace fellowships, or partner organizations, contributions, and attendance at FOR events. The work is also advanced by engaging an employed staff and volunteers, especially on an elected national council, and in structures of task forces, working groups and advisory groups. We are a branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and relate to branches in more than 50 other countries through a Secretariat in Alkmaar, The Netherlands.

Where are we located? While predominantly living and working in the United States of America, through various migrations (economic, social, political) and by virtue of specific programs, we are present all around the world. We have a national office in Nyack, New York, and staff is located in the field of service across the United States and around the world, sometimes to serve specific program needs, sometimes to meet personal preferences.

Promises

Strategy: Ends, Goals, Means, Policies, Practices

  1. Inspire and support grassroots action by providing services to advance transformative nonviolence as the chosen method of creating social change and justice by members, local chapters and affiliates, religious peace fellowships, and partner organizations.
    1. Campaign, research/analysis and direct service will be the responsibility of a staff community with a programmatic orientation.
    2. There will five National Council Standing Committees: one related to providing direct service through a membership structure of individuals, local, regional and national chapters, religious peace fellowships, and collaborations. A second standing National Council Committee will oversee operations of FOR including personnel matters, a third will monitor finances and investments, and a fourth National Council Committee will oversee fund development and communications. The fifth National Council Committee will manage recruitment of new members to the National Council and nurture and growth of the National Council according to the by-laws.
    3. Recruitment and training of volunteers, and logistical services will be offered by national staff and volunteers to advance grassroots initiatives and actions.
      1. At the invitation of communities at risk of violence by a State agency, FOR will secure and support a practice of protective accompaniment.
      2. On the basis of perceived threats of violence, including active demonization of peoples and their leaders, FOR will secure and support a practice of civilian diplomacy.
      3. Advancing a pattern of collaboration, FOR will join other organizations in planning and delivering conferences, colloquia, symposia, retreats and meetings.
      4. To bear witness to the need to transform policies of our nation’s government FOR will support advocacy for policy change.
      5. To increase capacity, community and empowerment toward the attainment of our goals, FOR will support training of members and allies, with a focus on our current campaign areas and methods.
      6. To sustain its own governance a National Council Committee will annual add members to the National Council under procedures defined by the by-laws of the organization.
    4. Administrative capacity will be dedicated to the sustenance of local agency and action. A department of organizational advancement and communication will support the external functions of administrative, communications, and financial support. A department of operations will support the internal functions of administrative support.
      1. FOR will ensure its sustainability through an active development effort directed:
        1. first to the maintenance of strategic programmatic commitments as a national organization,
        2. second to the active support of local chapters, affiliates and religious peace fellowships,
        3. third to the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and its Branches, and,
        4. finally, to such collaborative connections and activities which campaigns and services create.
      2. These efforts will be elaborated in a development strategy that identifies constituencies, methods, and ways in which the efforts will articulate and draw on FOR’s program and administrative resources.
      3. FOR will maintain and develop a capacity to distribute and promote its campaigns through print, visual and electronic media, both its own publications and through publications and appearances in other media.
      4. In support of efforts to organize, train, and act at the grassroots level FOR will continue to welcome local, regional and national chapters, affiliates, and religious peace fellowships into affiliation with the national organization.
      5. In response to the request for agency on behalf of charitable goals consistent with its mission and purposes, FOR will serve as a fiscal sponsor to local, regional and national chapters and other groups whose work is fully aligned with FOR’s mission and purpose.
  2. Organize and support campaigns that advance transformative nonviolence as the chosen method of achieving social change and justice. The character of these goals and the strategic organizational commitment to reach them is what defines the effort as a campaign.
    1. Campaigns will be responsive to a defined set of criteria.
      1. Campaign goals will be specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely.
      2. Campaigns will be persuasively effective and fiscally responsible.
      3. Campaign goals will be consistent with the mission of FOR. They will make a demonstrable contribution to the use of transformative nonviolence to effect social change and social justice. They will attend to the movement of the spirit.
      4. Campaign goals will include a commitment to sustain the movement through intergenerational renewal.
      5. Campaigns will respond to and will engage local level organizing and participation.
      6. Campaigns will clarify the linkage between domestic and international issues.
    2. Campaigns will include engagements in the following areas.
      1. They will address the evil of militarism by advancing the dismantling of foreign U.S. military bases, the abolition of nuclear weapons, recognition of the right to conscientious objection to war, ending wars of aggression and practices of occupation, and the realignment of U.S. foreign policy to human development in the United States and around the world.
      2. They will address the evil of racism by advancing the work of anti-oppression, dismantling structures of violence, and eliminating poverty.
      3. They will address the evil of materialism by advancing practices of spiritual healing and health, interfaith understanding and action, and confronting the abuses of capital by corporations.
    3. Campaigns will be related to one another, and integrate with research, education, training, organizational, and service goals through three Task Forces: Social, Economic and Racial Justice; Latin America and the Caribbean; Middle East.
    4. In defining goals and campaigns, FOR will seek a balance between concrete commitments embodied in specific objectives and work plans, and the flexibility to move in new directions and respond to emerging or crisis concerns.
    5. Campaigns will be formally accountable through the Executive Director to the National Council, and be responsive to the recommendations of task forces and campaign partners. FOR staff will periodically evaluate campaigns to assess effectiveness, relevance, priorities, and direction, and report on those evaluations to the National Council.
  3. Support the needs of campaigns at the national level and the work of local chapters and affiliates through on-going research and analysis and the development of programmatic resources.
    1. Research and analysis will be carried out through the following activities:
      1. Publications, research results, and analysis will be developed to serve identifiable campaigns at the international, national and local levels.
      2. Research will be converted into study and training guides or resources whenever possible.
    2. National staff and volunteers will provide research and train a cadre of staff and volunteer researchers.
      1. Researchers will work through an active process of collaboration where possible with peer organizations and with academic and institute level organizations.
      2. Opportunities will be created for intergenerational relationships connecting those with long careers in the peace movement to students and recent graduates of rapidly expanding peace studies and other academic programs globally.

Adopted October 23, 2010.

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