The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) is an organization of institutions dedicated to developing power and leadership among citizens in order to transform the city. We work to create relational power that can build and strengthen each member institution as well as shape public policy for the common good. TMO was formed in 1980 to give a voice to people who are usually excluded from major decisions that affect their lives. TMO is a part of a larger network of organizations known as the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a nationwide organizing institute with a fifty year history. TMO is also part of the West / Southwest IAF regional network and the Industrial Areas Foundation national network.

TMO believes that a truly democratic society requires the active participation of ordinary citizens. When people lack the means to connect to power and participate effectively in public life, social relationships disintegrate. Our model of relational organizing helps build real community. It generates social capital through a tight web of relationships across lines of race, ethnicity, class, faith, and geography. This social capital enables us to participate fully in public life and to become more effective actors in our communities.

Cardinal DiNardo Congratulates TMO & Texas IAF

1604 - Cardinal DiNardo's Letter of CongratulationsOn the eve of the Texas IAF's 40+ anniversary celebration, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston offered his congratulations for TMO and the Texas IAF's dedication over the previous four decades. He writes, "I know that in offering my gratitude for your presence and leadership in the Houston area, I speak for so many individuals who are grateful for the transformative effects that The Metropolitan Organization (TMO).....[has] brought about for so many."

Read original letter by Cardinal DiNardo

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Archbishop Fiorenza Commends Work of TMO and Texas IAF

1604 - Bishop Fiorenza's Letter of CongratulationsRecalling the early days of IAF-inspired organizing of faith communities in Houston, Bishop Fiorenza sent his congratulations to the Texas IAF on the eve of its 40+ year anniversary. He writes, " It is a happy moment for me to congratulate all who have...participated in making human life more just and equitable in Houston due to outstanding efforts of TMO / GCLC." After listing local achievements, he adds, "It is evident that the work of TMO / GCLC and the Texas IAF are supporting the Church's mission to be a witness of compassion by putting faith into action."

Read original letter by Archbishop Fiorenza here

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30 Years of (TMO) Transformation


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600 TMO Leaders Challenge Mayoral Candidates on Issues

1510 - TMO - Mayoral Accountability AssemblyAt a pre-election accountability assembly attended by 600 TMO leaders
at New Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, top mayoral candidates mostly agreed to support TMO's inequality agenda, which included police staffing, road improvements and wages. All except one candidate pledged $1 Million out of the City budget for expansion workforce development program Capital IDEA-Houston.

Costello Highlights City's Budget Woes at TMO Forum, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

Exigen Respuestas de Candidatos a Alcadia, Univision

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TMO Celebrates Jan Wilbur's Legacy of Leadership

1509 - TMO - Jan Wilbur - Obituary

Please join us as we celebrate Jan Wilbur's legacy on Saturday, November 14th at 2 pm at First Congregational Church, 10840 Beinhorn Rd., Houston 77024 (Katy freeway going toward San Antonio and exit on Voss Rd. )

Jan Wilbur was essential to the creation of The Metropolitan Organization (TMO). In the words of Sr. Christine Stephens, Wilbur "worked side by side with me to build the Houston sponsoring committee. I went on to organize and she became the first and only president of TMO... [She was] a great lady."

Wilbur was a founding member of The Metropolitan Organization of Houston (TMO) in 1980. While there, she worked to pair low-income people with those who had means in order to make a difference in their lives.

Says Wilbur's daughter Rita, "She wanted people to have the power to determine their own lives." In line with that, voter registration cards will be distributed at her memorial service.

[Photo: Courtesy of Wilbur family]

Activist Wilbur Dedicated Her Life to Helping Others, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

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Texas IAF Leverages $5 Million for Job Training

Following up on its $5 million win from the last legislative session in 2013, Texas IAF leaders - including several from TMO - succeeded in ensuring that the Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant program (and its $5 million in funding) stayed on the Texas budget. This means that Texas IAF workforce development programs like Capital IDEA-Houston, Project ARRIBA, VIDA, Project QUEST, SkillsQuest and Capital IDEA of Austin can apply for these funds to expand the job training they currently offer.

Capital IDEA-Houston, founded by TMO, is an integral strategy to train people out of low-wage employment and into living wage careers.

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Texas IAF, Allies Kill Anti-Sanctuary Bill

1503 - Texas IAF - Immigration TestimonyLeaders from Texas IAF organizations across the state, including TMO leader Rev. John Ogletree of First Metropolitan Church of Houston, drove into Austin for the bi-annual legislative session to fight Senate Bill 185. This bill would have outlawed sanctuary cities in Texas and threatened local efforts to build better relations between police and communities. The intervention of Texas IAF leaders, including testimony by Rev. Ogletree and Fr. Carlos Zuniga (Valley Interfaith), and allies, succeeded in killing the bill.

In photo, Fr. Carlos Zuniga of Valley Interfaith and Rev. John Ogletree of TMO testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security.

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Lyons Elementary Parent Leaders Victorious Against Rezoning

1505 - TMO - Lyons Elementary School Victory - CroppedTMO Lyons parents won an 8-1 school board vote against proposed boundary changes to their school. The changes would have sent students from one of the top ranked schools in the state to one ranked in the lowest 18% statewide. Parents signed up 600 petitioners opposed to the change to convinced board members this was a bad idea.

Rosa Rivera told board members, "We want you to listen to us. Don't move our children." Demonstrating that the voices of organized parents get heard, the board rejected the the proposed plan.

Split HISD Board Rejects Most Rezoning Plans, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

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Lyons Elementary Leaders Delay Board Vote on Rezoning Plan

1503 - TMO - Lyons Elementary School ActionTMO leaders and parents of children attending Lyons Elementary held a pre-board meeting press conference to detail their concerns about the latest HISD proposal to rezone elementary schools. Rosa Rivera argued that a plan to shift new students to nearby elementary schools would negatively impact the education of her children as the nearby schools are not as high quality as Lyons. "Before they start to do all these movements, I would like HISD to improve the schools."

Trustees decided to postpone the vote.

Parents Upset About HISD Relocation Proposal, KPRC

HISD Board Tables Rezoning Plan Amid Concerns, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

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More Than Tweaks Needed to Fix Metro Bus Service

1502 - TMO - HC - Harris County Metro Flex Routes - Gary CoronadoAccording to regular Metro bus rider Julia Ramirez, it is going to take a lot more than minor changes to make bus service in Houston more rider friendly. She notes that her commute takes at least two hours each way, and requires three transfers. She presents a four-step proposal for wholesale improvement in the article below. [Photo Credit: Gary Coronado, Houston Chronicle ]

More Than Tweaks Needed to Achieve Rider-Friendly Bus Service, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

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