August 21, 2017

Coalition Building

Empowering underrepresented communities towards long-term political power.

PowerPAC believes in the power of grassroots organizing. We understand that building deep and lasting relationship with community organizations and voters is what makes campaigns more impactful. Targeting, messaging, strategy and effectively run mobilization campaigns are all key components to successful campaigns, but so is coalition building. While is not an issue-focused organization, in the course of our work with progressive people of color, we do take a stand on key issues affecting our communities. The main impetus behind this approach is to build relationships and common goals with issue based and civic engagement focused grassroots groups. We work with allies on the ground to strengthen their ability to fight the good fight. We believe that building strong community coalitions ensures political power for communities of color. 

For example, we have been active in environmental issue work in California (Communities United to Oppose Prop 23) and North Carolina (Sierra Club’s effort to build support in our communities). We have also worked closely with the ACLU on eliminating the death penalty in California. We have been supporting the work of the Center for Community Change to reduce poverty nationally. As we go forward we are looking at returning voter rights to ex-offenders in Florida and election reform just about everywhere.

Since our founding, we have used this strategy to building political power all over California and in the last 3 years have branched out into states across nation. Through our independent expenditure work in 2018 and then again with the Crooked Media collaboration in 2020, we have been able to move somewhere around $7 million to community groups in “battleground states” targeting critical elections, such as the Mississippi Senate race or races for Congress, Senate, and Governor in Georgia. In the course of our work we have built relationships with people and organizations in each of these. You can see some of these relationships in our 2020 State Debriefs

  • In 2014, PowerPAC participated with Marisa Abrejano, Professor at UC San Diego, to conduct an analysis of our work in the 2014 Anaheim City Elections. In 2014 the average turnout in the area was 44.5%, while turnout of those contacted by our mobilization effort had increased to 62.2%. We have participated in similar studies in 2012 and 2016 with similar results for our work in the state of California and across the country.
  • In 2016, working with our sister organization Southern Engagement Foundation, PowerPAC built a partnership with the Sierra Club and North Carolina Blueprint Project. Using local organizations to introduce environmental issues to Black voters, PowerPAC built an Integrated Voter Engagement campaign designed to educate and identify 1000 Black climate change voters, while introducing them to the mission and vision of the Sierra Club.  This one-month, six-county canvass operation — complemented by direct mail, telephone, and online presence — exceeded expectations, contacting 28,723 households and identifying 6,698 Black climate change voters (close to seven times our goal), while also laying the foundation for a lasting relationship between those voters, local indigenous organizations who drove the canvass, and Sierra Club chapters who left better equipped to lead the charge for environmental justice.