The Panel helps community groups organize using the following strategies:
We organize communities to create infrastructure, set goals and develop action plans for better schools, safer neighborhoods, accountable government, and more. We are invited into communities where we help residents develop the tools to realize their vision of social justice, economic prosperity, accountable government, and improved quality of life. We currently work with groups in fifteen communities in South Arkansas and counties in the Fayetteville Shale.
The Panel supports new leaders with the big-picture components of the political process, such as how to build a policy campaign, as well as the smaller but crucial details of effective organizational development, like meeting facilitation and fundraising, that allow groups to affect change through their own efforts in their own communities.
Since 1998, the Panel has coordinated the Arkansas Citizens First Congress (CFC), a multi-issue advocacy coalition that campaigns for good policies on education, economic development, environment, civil rights, government and election reform, public health and agriculture. The Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Campaign (OTL), another coalition we support, connects grassroots advocates and established education professionals to work towards research-proven education reforms.
We connect different regions of the state by building alliances and coalitions among diverse grassroots groups, nonprofits and institutions to help develop local and state policies that improve Arkansans’ quality of life. The Panel serves as a convener, advisor and information clearinghouse for members of these alliances. We produce reports on a wide range of issues including the academic achievement gap, the state’s unfair tax code, and the impacts of the natural gas industry.