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Grassroots Gathering 2014

Nik Belanger

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM (EDT)

Grassroots Gathering 2014

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Why should you come?

Meet new people: The Grassroots Gathering brings together supporters from all over Virginia.  Spend a weekend with like-minded organizers, activists, leaders, and members from across the state.

Learn something new: You'll learn about the issues, tactics, and philosophy that makes Virginia Organizing a strong grassroots organization. With a focus on the idea of POWER and the development of non-legislative campaigns, the Grassroots Gathering's workshops, panels, and speakers will address the development of strategic partnerships, the path forward on immigration reform, expansion of voting rights, and building successful local campaigns, among many other important questions.

Have fun! With more down time this year, the 2014 Grassroots Gathering will provide opportunities to relax, talk with friends, go swimming, or read a good book. The conference center has an indoor pool, basketball court, volleyball net, and beautiful gardens. Come ready to enjoy yourself!


Friday, September 5

5:00    Registration

7:30    Recognition Dinner 

Saturday, September 6

8:00    Breakfast | Open of Silent Auction | Registration

9:00    Mass Meeting | Special Guest: Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam

10:15  Workshops 

10:15-12:30 : Dig Deeper


Campaign Strategy Chart 

The Midwest Academy Strategy Chart is a great tool used to develop winning issue campaigns. This two-hour workshop will give you an opportunity to learn how to use the chart and to apply it to your own local campaigns.

Popular Education: Long Arc of History

Through a participatory experience, explore the long history of social justice organizing in the United States. Please come with an open mind and willingness to share your ideas.

10:15-11:15 : Skills to Win Campaigns

Virginia Organizing 101

New to Virginia Organizing? This workshop will give you an idea of Virginia Organizing's 19-year history, what issues we work on across the state and how you can get more involved in campaigns in your own community!

1-to-1 Conversations

Through intentional 1-to-1 conversations, we learn about important issues, identify potential members, and develop strong public relationships. Learn how and why we use 1-to-1 conversations to build a strong grassroots organization.

Speak Your Mind: Media Spokesperson Training

This training will help you hone in on your interests and skills to generate media coverage on important issues. After this workshop, you’ll be prepared to serve as a spokesperson for your local chapter on the issues that matter to you most.

Building Local Partnerships 

Thankfully, we are not alone in our work. Throughout the state, we have strong local partners. This workshop will focus on how to create and sustain those relationships in a way that builds power for your local campaigns.

Local Issue Identification

Whether your chapter is developing its first local issue or has been through a dozen campaigns, the issue selection process will lay the groundwork for the campaign. Come with a list of your most important issues.

Fundraising to build grassroots power

Are you nervous about asking people for money but want us to keep doing our great organizing?  Find out how to get over those jitters and learn how to be an effective fundraiser.

11:30-12:30 : Hot Topics in Local Chapters

Youth Listening Workshop 

Designed for high school and college students, this workshop is ALL ABOUT YOU. Join us for a casual discussion about how we can build a movement across generational lines with an eye on the future.

Climate Change Brainstorming

Climate change unquestionably threatens all Virginians. Join leaders from across the state for a facilitated brainstorm about how we might respond to the challenges.

Mass Transit 

Transportation has always served as an organizing focus for social justice groups like Virginia Organizing, from the Montgomery Bus Boycott of the 1950s to current campaigns across the state. What have we learned and how will we win?

Immigrant Rights

With Comprehensive Immigration Reform stalled in Congress, we can look back to local campaigns to protect immigrant rights.

Worker Rights

In Right-to-Work Virginia, fast food workers have started organizing for better pay and respect. Learn what issues matter most to workers and how we can work together to build a more just Virginia.

Ban the Box

At least nine cities in Virginia have removed criminal history questions from their job applications in an effort to give returning citizens a second chance. Please join this workshop if you were part of one of these campaigns or would like to start one.

12:30  Lunch

2:00    Workshops

2:00-3:00 : Making Change: Statewide and National 

Restoration of Rights 

Virginia Organizing served as a strong voice in the recent improvements to Virginia’s Restoration of Rights process. Come learn about the recent changes and how you can help others get their rights back!

Social Security: Caregiver Credit 

Over the past few years, Social Security has found itself under the knife in almost every budget debate. While we have played successful defense, the “Caregiver Credit” is an opportunity to take the offense and fight to expand Social Security.

Predatory Lending

Following positive steps in the last decade to rein in predatory payday and car title lenders, we have hit a wall in the General Assembly. This workshop will explore potential non-legislative and local solutions to the problem.

Are you Election Ready? 

With the state’s new photo ID law now in effect, it’s important for all of us and our communities to know what’s required on Election Day.

Chapter Fundraising: 20 Organizers by 2016!

As local chapters raise money so that we can reach our goal of 20 organizers across the state by 2016, many have developed new, creative ways to reach their own fundraising goals. Hear what’s worked, and share you own ideas!

Health Care Reform: Enrollment & Expansion

Join the Health Care Reform Strategy Committee for a discussion of the Affordable Care Act’s implementation in Virginia, including the ongoing Medicaid expansion fight and upcoming open enrollment. 


Alliance for a Just Society: Power in National Networks

Did you know that Virginia Organizing has affiliated with national networks comprised of other groups like us from all over the county? Come learn about the Alliance for a Just Society and how we build power through relationships!

3:30    OPEN TIME | Local Chapter Fair 

5:00    Mass Meeting | Special Guest: Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney

6:00    Supper

8:00    Fun Night & Games

Sunday, September 7

8:00    Breakfast

9:00    Regional Small Groups

10:30  Report Backs

11:00  Departure

Cost Sharing


So that we can continue to put our resources into building capacity, we ask that participants share in the cost of the Grassroots Gathering by paying a portion of the expense for your attendance.



Full cost for the weekend, meals included:


Full weekend (Shared lodge rooms)


Full weekend (20-bed dormitory)


One night (Shared lodge rooms)


One night (20-bed dormitory)


Friday only (no lodging)


Saturday only (no lodging)



Please pay what you can—less if you can’t afford the full cost, more if you can share in someone else’s cost. You can also work with your chapter to raise the money.  Don’t let the expense be a barrier to your participation! Your confidentiality will be respected. 

There are three ways to submit your payment:

¨ You can make a payment online (preferred):

Visit Click on the DONATE button to go to the PayPal site, then either enter your PayPal account information or, if you don't have a PayPal account, click “continue” to the left of the log-in box to pay with a credit card. After entering your information and moving to the next screen, please click on “Designate funds for [group]” and write “Grassroots Gathering.” This whole process takes less than five minutes!

¨ You can mail a check along with my registration form (preferred):

Virginia Organizing

703 Concord Ave.

Charlottesville, VA 22903

¨ You can pay when you arrive that weekend.







If you have questions or would like more information, please contact  Nik Belanger at 434-709-4953 or

Have questions about Grassroots Gathering 2014? Contact Nik Belanger

When & Where

Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center
707 4th St.
Blackstone, VA 23824

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM (EDT)

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Nik Belanger

If you have questions, please contact Nik Belanger at 434-709-4953 or

  Contact the Organizer

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