Fifteen years ago I was thrilled to be asked to help build a brand new organization called Protestants for the Common Good. Our purpose was to become an alternative to the political religious right by connecting our faith to public action. We have more than succeeded in this goal.
As you know, I will be stepping down as executive director no later than the end of June. This is the last letter you will receive from me requesting your financial support. I ask now for your help as we enter the next stage of our work.
Since 1996, working most often in coalition, PCG has fought to protect human services in Illinois, including support for an increase in the state income tax; passed limits on individual contributions to political campaigns; provided ex-offenders with the opportunity for a second chance; established an independent board to deliver health care in Cook county; curbed abusive pay day loans; achieved TANF (welfare) grant increases; passed laws on behalf of a cleaner environment; and successfully sponsored other legislative changes.
Our educational programs have reached out to individuals and churches, especially in the Chicago metropolitan area but also downstate. April was a particularly busy month with a total of ten outreach events including preaching, teaching, training and networking.
We are now moving toward closer collaboration with the Community Renewal Society, a faith-based organization with a distinguished 130-year commitment to social justice. We have moved our offices to their location as tenants. Our staff are already working on shared agenda items. A combined search committee is now seeking single leadership. Our boards are creating a joint Transition Task Force to examine the possibility of an eventual combined organization.
Together we can be stronger than we are separately. We may be able to extend our reach across all of Illinois. We can combine the base of churches that we have separately engaged. We can knit together our policy and community organizing skills.
We need your financial support as we explore these next steps. And your support is essential as we pursue our 2012 Legislative Priorities in Springfield throughout the remainder of this critical session of the Illinois General Assembly. We are fighting to address the needs of families who live in deep poverty by increasing the minimum wage and enacting charity care legislation.
As I come to the conclusion of my time as executive director, I am gratified by PCG’s strong witness for justice and confident of its future. I shall continue to support this great work. I trust you will too.