City Life/Vida Urbana (City Life, CL/VU) is a multi-lingual, grassroots social, racial and economic justice organization founded in 1973 by activists from many movements in order to organize a movement for social, racial and economic justice led by those directly impacted by injustice. City Life promotes individual empowerment, develops community leaders, and builds collective power to effect systemic change and transform society.
City Life organizes and develops the leadership of working class Boston residents threatened with housing displacement in order to win individual and community-wide stabilization and promote affordable housing throughout Boston and beyond. The tactics and activities we use are intensive individualized outreach, weekly, bilingual mass meetings in two locations, direct action organizing and casework, paired with media, leadership development, public policy advocacy and coalition engagement.
Through tenant association organizing over the years, City Life’s staff organizers and tenant leaders, collaborating closely with community lawyers, have prevented evictions and protected vulnerable community members from being exploited by landlords. These efforts particularly target low-income communities of color and immigrant communities. Those threatened with the loss of their homes play a central role in stabilizing their housing and become community leaders who help neighbors stabilize their housing and advocate for affordable housing citywide.
City Life’s program consists of Tenant Association organizing campaigns in five Boston neighborhoods. Each campaign consists of intensive outreach, casework/legal advocacy, mass meetings, public protests in conjunction with media outreach, and coalition engagement.
Irene Glassman has worked in the nonprofit sector for over three decades in direct service, supervisory, and development roles, with a strong focus on strengthening social justice organizing groups which are led by those directly impacted by economic injustice. For over 10 years, as City Life/Vida Urbana’s grant writer, she has maintained and expanded institutional funding. In particularly, she has helped to increase multi-year foundation funding, including national grants for scaling City Life’s model of organizing in response to the foreclosure crisis. Prior to and concurrent with her role with City Life, Irene has procured foundation funding for grassroots labor organizing and welfare rights groups, such as Mass SERVE and Survivors Inc. Irene’s ability to combine facts and figures with compelling storytelling, combined with extensive knowledge about nonprofit effectiveness gained over 30 years of nonprofit work all contribute to her current ability to make a strong case for funding.
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