COMM-ORG: The Community Organizing Website
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The COMM-ORG mission is to:

  • help connect people who care about the craft of community organizing.
  • find and provide information that organizers, scholars, and scholar-organizers can use to learn, teach, and do community organizing.
  • involve all COMM-ORG members in meeting those goals.

COMM-ORG is based on two basic beliefs:

  • community organizers and academics can both benefit by exchanging information and resources. The COMM-ORG membership is composed of about half academics and half practitioners (including some government officials and funders).
  • the Internet should remain a place where information and communication is freely available (meaning, at no cost). That means not only that everything on COMM-ORG is free, but that COMM-ORG runs on completely free open source software, including the Scientific Linux operating system, Apache web server, and Mailman list server software.

COMM-ORG defines community organizing as:

  • people without power getting power, both as individuals and as a community.
  • building relationships,and sometimes this is its primary goal.
  • beginning in a local area, often as small as a neighborhood.
  • building on shared experience--rooted in a place or a cultural identity.
  • often leading to development activities and/or larger social movements when it succeeds.


COMM-ORG began as an on-line seminar on the history of community organizing, moderated by Wendy Plotkin at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in late 1994, funded by a grant from the UIC Great Cities program and supported by H-Net, an international cooperative initiative in Humanities and Social Science computing. COMM-ORG has evolved into a conversation of scholars, community organizers, community development workers, and others. COMM-ORG moved to the University of Toledo in 1997, when Randy Stoecker took over the editorship. Since 2005 COMM-ORG has been housed with the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin.


Randy Stoecker moderated the COMM-ORG listserv until 2015 and still edits the COMM-ORG web site. I am currently Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, and have been providing support services to community organizing and development groups for over two decades, including ACORN, the West Bank Community Development Corporation, the Lagrange Village Council/Lagrange Development Corporation, Organizing Neighbors Yielding Excellence, SouthWest Madison Community Organizers, and others. If you wish, you can see my academic vita or e-folio. Please contact me with questions and/or concerns about COMM-ORG in general or this web site at


COMM-ORG is now sponsored by the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, formerly the Department of Rural Sociology, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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