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TOLA: The Organizing and Leadership Academy

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Oakland, CA


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Our Story

Established in 2010, The Organizing and Leadership Academy’s (TOLA) mission is to train the next generation of grassroots organizers and leaders.

Our country faces significant challenges. Despite the wealth of our country, many people suffer because of the lack of affordable health care, the lack of good jobs, and poor educational opportunities. Low voter participation among young people and among the poor, and the need to integrate immigrants into the fabric of our society are persistent challenges. Nimbyism inhibits economic development or stalls projects that can provide jobs and housing. Our governmental institutions and elected officials are often overly influenced by Big Money or special interests.

To overcome these obstacles or to find solutions to these problems, an individual is often overwhelmed and overmatched. However, by working with others it’s possible to build enough power to solve problems. An effective organizer can be the catalyst for change. In communities around the country, effective organizers have sparked the civil rights movement, efforts to improve schools and economic development.

Many organizations are looking for organizers to work in communities to help address these problems. Individuals are also looking to learn practical and effective organizing skills to make improvements in their own communities. However, finding individuals who can develop into effective organizers, can be frustrating. Training people has also proven to be difficult and expensive.

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