People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER)
People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER) is an institutionally based community organization working in low-income areas of Venice, Mar Vista, Culver City, and Marina del Rey. POWER employs a community organizing strategy focused on relationship building and direct action to effect positive change within low-income communities. Since its inception in 1999, POWER has built relationships with over 2,500 community members. Through this process, POWER has identified the main issues of community concern, which (in order of priority) include, preserving affordable housing, education reform, welfare reform, safety and immigrant rights. POWER leaders hold public and private institutions accountable to grassroots people.
POWER’s goal is to identify and train community leaders who have energy and vision to help revitalize their neighborhoods. POWER leadership reflects the racial breakdown of these low-income communities: about 60% Latino and 40% African-American. Among Black and Latino POWER leaders, there is shared commitment to the organization fostered by action and relationship building. POWER leaders know that true community improvement can only be reached when blacks and Latinos unite to work together.
POWER builds social capital by uniting neighborhood leaders with neighborhood institutions to fight for social change. POWER’s organizing base is made up of four non-profit social service agencies (Westside Children’s Center, St. Joseph’s Center, Connections for Children, and Venice Family Clinic), a non-profit housing development corporation (Venice Community Housing Corporation), two tenant associations (Holiday Venice Tenant Action Committee and Mar Vista Tenant Association), and a neighborhood association (Venice Neighborhood Action Council). These organizations and associations extend services to and have relationships with over 200,000 people in the low-income areas of Venice, Mar Vista, Culver City, and Marina del Rey.