PATH TO POWER: Structuring our work for statewide impact
At the April 4 virtual state assembly, “Creating Our Path to Power,” we reviewed a proposed organizational structure for Mothers Out Front Massachusetts. On April 18, we will meet again by zoom to vote on adopting this proposal. Your vote is important. Please join us on April 18, 3:30-5:30 pm: RSVP here.
Since Mothers Out Front’s founding seven years ago, the vision has been to build a national movement that is both locally rooted and able to make change happen at the state and national levels. We know that most moms and other caregivers who join our movement want to engage at the community level, and when we act locally we are able to break the overwhelming problem of climate change down into actionable pieces. At the same time, we know that we have to scale our power and work at state and national levels to address a problem of such magnitude.
Over the last seven years, Mothers Out Front Massachusetts has grown rapidly and become increasingly successful. We now have 22 Community Chapters, multiple statewide campaigns and resource teams, a Massachusetts Leadership Team, and paid staff. The organizational structure that worked well in our early years no longer provides the degree of coordination and nimble response needed to keep moving forward.
This need to better positions ourselves for the future lead to the recent creation of the Path to Power Leadership Team, including founders Kelsey Wirth and Vanessa Rule, state leadership, and our state organizing manager. They were joined by Marshall Ganz, founder of the Leading Change Network (a major influence on Mothers Out Front) and two consultants from that organization, Natalie and Jake.
Working together, they followed the process outlined in the diagram below and designed a new organizational structure presented in the Path to Power MA Structure Proposal (Links to the Proposal and the Executive Summary)
The proposed new structure is designed to preserve the best of Mothers Out Front Massachusetts, while strengthening our collective power to effect transformative change in the Commonwealth. Going forward, it also provides:
- representational leadership
- clarity of roles and mutual accountability
- clear and nimble decision-making processes
The Mothers Out Front Massachusetts Path to Power Charter defines the different types of local and statewide leadership teams that are created in MOF-MA to support the work of our members across the state. The Charter explains how our members delegate decision-making authority to these teams through a democratic process of voting. It describes team commitments, and outlines the teams’ clear areas of responsibility. And it describes how our members come together to choose and implement statewide campaigns that leverage the power we build locally for statewide impact, and beyond.
This Charter is intended to be adapted as our movement grows, and as we learn more about how we want to more effectively organize ourselves.
The basic components of our new MA structure are shown in this diagram. Definitions are provided at the end of this article.
What it means to be a member of Mothers Out Front is defined by our national organization. Members commit to representing and advancing Mothers Out Front’s values, and contribute annual dues to support the organization. (There is a waiver for anyone unable to contribute that amount for dues).
Why dues? Why now? Dues make a reliable membership count possible. Membership numbers show our growing power as an organization. Dues reduce dependence on outside funding.
Active members are members who a) participate in an orientation to Mothers Out Front’s organizing framework, and b) take action at least once every six months (e.g., attending a meeting, event, or action; materially assisting in organizing work).
In Massachusetts, active members vote on who represents them on Community Leadership Teams (CLTs). All chapters are represented proportionally in the annual Massachusetts State Assembly.
The Community Chapter and Community Leadership Team are our fundamental building blocks.
A Community Chapter includes all MOF members in a community. Anyone over the age of 18 can join as a member of a Community Chapter.
A Community Leadership Team (CLT) is the smaller, representative leadership team of a Community Chapter, elected by active members of the Chapter. The CLT’s role is to organize Chapter work, including choosing and implementing a local campaign, engaging members, and growing membership.
The Massachusetts Leadership Team (MALT) is the representative leadership team of our MA Chapter (which includes all members of MOF-MA). The MALT includes elected representatives from our Community Chapters, Campaign Team representatives, and Resource Team representatives. The MALT’s role is to set statewide policy, ensure members have the support they need from Resource and Campaign Teams, and regularly assess the overall health of our movement in Massachusetts.
The Core Team is a sub-team of the MALT, elected by the MALT, that handles emergent issues that affect our statewide organization in a timely way, organizes the work of the MALT, and ensures coordination of our statewide organizing.
The Statewide Assembly is the annual community-building, learning and decision-making event where MA members come together to consider and vote on statewide campaigns (every other year), and to confirm MALT membership. Every Community Chapter can vote at the State Assembly, with the number of votes proportional to the number of members in their community.
A Campaign Team develops and implements statewide campaigns that are chosen by MOF-MA members at the State Assembly. Campaign Teams have representation on the MALT and Core Team to ensure statewide campaigns are integrated into and aligned with our broader movement. Nominees for Campaign Team coordinators and representatives to the MALT and Core Team are included in campaign proposals and voted on at the State Assembly.
Resource Teams provide support for essential organizational functions and guidance on cross-cutting substantive and practical issues as defined by the MALT (E.g., Legislative Team, Training Team, Communications Team, Environmental Justice Team). Membership on a Resource Team is open to all members of MOF-MA who commit to the Team’s goals. Resource Teams are overseen by the MALT.