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Capacity Building That’s Conscious of the Moment

July 8, 2020

ANHD’s Director of Capacity Building Lays Out What’s Happening with the Center for Community Leadership This Fall

As the city slowly begins re-opening, we are continuing to work to make sure the next year of the Center for Community Leadership (CCL) is just as robust and engaging as ever. This Q&A with ANHD’s Director of Capacity Building Armando Moritz-Chapelliquen highlights the coming changes as CCL moves forward.


There is so much happening in New York City right now. Why is CCL still important?

Supporting organizers has never been more important. ANHD’s Center for Community Leadership (CCL) trains grassroots leaders and supports community organizations with the skills and resources needed to strengthen their potential to affect systematic change. In addition to what they learn together, the community CCLers create extends across issue areas and sustains organizers for the long and difficult work of building community power.

At a time when communities are mobilizing to challenge systems of racism and oppression while facing disinvestment and an unparalleled health and economic crisis, we at ANHD are refocusing our efforts to make CCL as valuable as possible to the organizers leading work in the streets and in their communities.


What is happening with CCL this fall?

The CCL Introductory and Advanced Courses will be returning in September and we’re currently accepting Intro and Advanced Course applications! Applications are due August 7th, and as an alum of the Advanced Course, I strongly encourage everyone to apply.

Given that we don’t know how things will be this fall with coronavirus, we are preparing to run classes digitally. This past year’s class did an incredible job shifting to video calls, and I was personally excited to see classes use the digital space to troubleshoot challenges and draw on each other’s experiences to work through the beginning months of quarantine and the current moment of political upheaval.

Additionally, as ANHD as a whole has adjusted to working remotely, we’re continuing to think through how our stand-alone training series — whether it’s a data training or our Tenant Organizer Workshop Series — intersect and overlap with the CCL curriculum. We had great success this past year using our trainings to expand on topics introduced in CCL, and we’ll be looking to do that again this coming year.


You mentioned the CCL Academy, but what about the Apprenticeship?

This was a difficult decision, but we’re pausing the CCL Apprenticeship for this coming year. Given the looming budget difficulties many of us in the non-profit sector are facing (or are about to face), we want to respect capacity limitations of host organizations to train a 10-month Apprentice while also working double or triple duty to support the communities that have suffered most during these past months. Additionally, in a time when organizing is more crucial than ever, it is important for ANHD to run a program that fully respects the labor of organizers, both in practice and in pay.

The CCL Apprenticeship has historically been an on-ramp to get formally trained and begin a career as an organizer. This is important for the individuals, our organizations, and our movement as a whole. ANHD has every intention of restoring the Apprenticeship, and we believe the way we do that is by being boldly honest what CCL is: a training institute for organizers to be leaders in the movement for social, economic, and racial justice.


You mentioned social, economic and racial justice. I thought CCL was just for housing organizers?

CCL has been open to organizers from different issue areas. The curriculum is applicable to many different issue areas beyond housing. Popular education is important whether you’re mobilizing a tenant association, mass transit riders, or public school parents. And when organizers for those communities learn together, it creates a richer learning environment and stronger movement overall.

This also means being holistic in how we teach. It is easy to use the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to learn lessons about good organizing. However, there is so much to learn — and so many people to learn from — in the present moment. We are excited to re-evaluate our curriculum to see how we can best elevate these voices to strengthen the campaigns and movements of today.


Are there any other changes for CCL next year?

We are also exploring ways to better connect our Introductory and Advanced classes. We’ll be seeing what sessions, topic areas, and guest speakers are constructive as joint Academy sessions.

And while we want organizers and organizing directors to continue to use CCL to develop and enhance individuals' skills, we also want them to utilize CCL as a way to strengthen the quality of their organization’s organizing and advocacy capacity. To help shift organizational engagement in this direction, we’re piloting a new tuition rate for CCL this fall called the Academy Bundle: If an ANHD member organization enrolls 1 organizer in the Intro class and 1 in the Advanced Course, their tuition rate will be $3,500 — $500 less than the standard member rate. We are limiting Academy Bundle seats to 4 organizations this fall, and this rate is only available to ANHD member organizations.

Finally, enrolled CCL participants will not have to pay to attend any ANHD trainings for the duration of the CCL class year (September - June), opening up new opportunities for them to learn beyond the CCL classroom.


It sounds like a lot is changing.

We’ll continue to cover many of the same topics in the Introductory and Advanced Courses, including (but not limited to) The Role of the Organizer, Political Education, Leadership Development, Basebuilding, Coalitions, and Campaigns. The core substance of the program is staying the same; how we provide it is changing with the reality we are all facing. We’re living through a very challenging time, so the best thing we can do programmatically is adjust in a way that supports organizers by continuing to provide the space for those organizers to grow.

Over the past 11 years, CCL has supported organizers in leading successful campaigns and effective coalitions; all of that advocacy has enhanced the quality of organizing here in New York City and wherever our alumni go. If we’re going to come out of this moment — whether as individuals, organizations, or as a society — we need to be honest about how effective organizing can be and what it looks like in order to create the transformational change we need to see.


Applications for the CCL Introductory Course & CCL Advanced Course are now live. Submissions are due by August 7th. Any questions? Contact Director of Capacity Building Armando Moritz-Chapelliquen (Armando.C@anhd.org).

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