Brockton Interfaith Community (BIC) works to build a healthy community where our families, congregations, and businesses can thrive. Established in 1990 by area clergy and lay leaders who were concerned with the pressing needs in the city, BIC members work to address the root cause of problems in the community that are affecting the standard of living for the residents. We do this by being change agents who propose policy, method and legislative improvements. Members are trained by professional community organizers and are taught how to think strategically and live into their full power.
At its inception, BIC focused solely on having an impact on a local level. After winning a series of campaigns- including the conversion of prostitution housing into an elderly center and the reopening of the Cosgrove pool, BIC leaders began to see a number of ways in which they could not win the changes they desired by focusing solely on the city.
Due to this, over the course of our 25+year history, BIC has engaged in campaigns on the local, state, and national level impacting the lives of thousands. Some of our recent efforts included:
- – Fighting against the proposed Brockton casino, planned for next door and in front of the only 2 city high schools,
- – Playing a key role as a member of MCAN and a part of the Raise Up MA coalition in passing the highest statewide minimum wage and most progressive sick time policy in the country
- – Working with PICO (of which we are affiliated nationally) to reduce the foreclosure rate through improvements to HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) program and former Congressman Barney Frank to see to the creation of the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program that help hundreds of unemployed MA families save their homes
For over 25 years, Brockton Interfaith Community has been working to change the balance of power in low and moderate income communities. By making sure all people have a seat at the table of power in their local community, state capital, and even Washington, D.C., BIC builds the civic capacity necessary for a healthy, functioning, democratic system. BIC trains its diverse members to improve their community by building good relationships, identifying common concerns, finding solutions, and taking action for the public good.
To do this work effectively, BIC has developed a well-tested model of faith-based, grassroots organizing where (a) Relationships are the building blocks, (b) Local leadership creates long-lasting change, and (c) Careful research and cultivations of allies produce innovative policy solutions.
History and Achievements
- – Supported opening of a new Health Center
- – Community Policing brought to Main St. near St. Patrick’s church. This led to the closing of a drug/prostitution house that was across the street that eventually demolished and replaced with the Senior Center
- – Statewide funding campaign that brought annual grant money to Brockton for police officers
- – In 1996, negotiated agreements with 3 banks to establish Soft Second Affordable Mortgage Program for first time homeowners in Brockton
- – Organized at the state and local level to establish free after school programs
- – Jobs – BIC forms partnership with local trade unions to provide apprenticeship programs for Brockton workers
- – BIC Nehemiah phase I – 8 affordable homes for hardworking families were built
- – Organized city campaign to signup families earning less than $40,000/year for MassHealth insurance
- – Organized to get city officials to expand funding for ESOL classes, reducing the waiting line in Brockton by 33%. These classes are still called BIC classes
- – Initiated a proposal that gives immigrants with health care experience a chance to either return to the healthcare field or move up into a higher paying position. This led to a $490,000 grant for this program and BIC recruited almost all the training participants from its own membership and the community
- – Organized for the passing, saving and increasing of the Shannon Grant, the anti-gang and violence Grant. Brockton directly benefited by receiving $680 thousand in funding use for youth crime prevention and police overtime
- – Helped see to the installation of an afterschool program at East Junior High
- – Organized DPH grant, initially $150,000 now $200,000, that was given to the YMCA for the youth violence prevention program
- – Received commitments from the Mayor for more Street Outreach Workers
- – Working to have a local CORI ordinance passed as well as statewide legislation to help ex-offenders more quickly integrate into society
- – Helped pass CORI reform Bill
- – Helped pass statewide Foreclosure Bill to protect homeowners and tenants
- – Through co-hosting meetings with the Federal Reserve and the Office of Consumer Affairs, which led to changes in HAMP policy: lenders are no longer allowed to move forward with a foreclosure when someone is in the process of receiving or being reviewed for a HAMP modification.
- – Supported and saw through Congressman Frank’s $1 billion loan program to unemployed homeowners, included in the Frank/Dodd Wall Street financial reform bill
- – Got the city of Brockton to divest from Bank of America; moving the $179 million payroll to a local community bank
- – Brought MAPs, Merit Apprenticeship Program, to Brockton to help ex-offenders achieve living wage work
- – Worked with the School Superintendent toward a new Affirmative Action Plan for Brockton Public Schools
- – Spent two years (2012–2014) in our Public Safety Committee, through the Prevention Not Prosecution Campaign, to bring about a Specialty Drug Court to Brockton and Plymouth County
- – Campaigned and helped to win the highest state minimum wage (2014) and state legislation to give earned sick time for all, improving the lives of over 1 million low wage workers.