- Voting for most valuable organizing awards is now closed.
Voting for 2013 is now CLOSED.
Check out this year's incredible crop of nominees!
Over the past four years, we've honored some of the most innovative technologies, best-constructed campaigns, and inspiring organizers in the progressive movement.
This year's Most Valuable Organizing Awards were voted on over the past several weeks and the top vote getters have been sent to the Most Valuable Organizing Awards Selection Committee. Made up of several organizers across a broad spectrum of fields and experience, we asked our committee members why they organize. Please take a look at their answers.
Anna Galland (Executive Director, MoveOn.org) - I organize to make our country a place where everyone can thrive.
Becky Bond (Political Director, CREDO) - I organize because that's the only way we can win together victories big and small in the fight for women's rights, environment, equality, peace and social justice.
Betsy Hoover (Partner, 270 Strategies) - I am passionate about bringing people together with shared beliefs who can change the world. The power that we have, when we work together, is amazing. Helping people tap into that power and realize their strength is a gift and a drive that goes beyond any single issue or fight for me. There are a lot of things I want to change to make the world better. Organizing is the best way to create that change.
Bryan Whitaker (Chief Operating Officer, NGPVAN) - Evil wins when good people do nothing.
Carlene Bechen (Neighborhood Team Leader, Oregon Area Progressives) - Moving our country in a progressive direction that recognizes the worth of each person, values education and protects the environment is a priority for me. The only way I know to do that is to organize and work for change.
Carmen Berkley (Director of Civil, Human and Women’s Rights, AFL-CIO) - I believe in giving back to others what was given to me and my family through union and progressive organizing. Including but not limited to: a good education, healthcare, a good job, a good salary and the ability to marry whoever he hell I want.
Charlene Carruthers (National Coordinator, Black Youth Project 100) – “We who believe in freedom cannot rest” -- Ella Baker. I organize because this work is a radical practice of building movement towards liberation. I believe wholeheartedly in the imperative for freedom and justice for all people, particularly for those who are systemically oppressed. I want to live in a world where Black and Brown people, queer people, those who are undocumented and incarcerated are free. It's gonna take a lot of organizing to get there and I'm committed to doing my part and developing other people to do the same.
Ethan Roeder (Executive Director, New Organizing Institute) - Two dudes recently won the Nobel Prize for discovering the Higgs boson (the Higgsiest of the bosons). Did two dudes discover the Higgs boson? Not really. More like 6,000 people around the world. That's why I organize. We're going to figure out how to live on this planet. We're going to create loving societies that cultivate the best in humans. We're going to find a way to put a taco into a Doritos shell (Update: holy shit this already exists). But no two dudes are going to get us there. We're all in this together, so wear deodorant and organize. Note: I actually stole the whole Higgs boson peace prize riff from a friend. The taco joke is mine, though.
Evan Eslinger (Organizational Specialist, National Education Association) - The ability of groups of people to organize in order to effect the greater good is the most essential ingredient in democracy and it's the most powerful weapon imaginable against injustice and inequality.
Heather Cronk (Co-Director, GetEQUAL) - I organize for full LGBTQ equality because from the swamps of Florida to the hills of Kentucky to the big sky of Montana, LGBTQ Americans don't have time to wait for equality to come to us -- we must demand it ourselves, and continue driving the United States toward the promise of equality and justice for all.
Heather T Booth (Democracy Partners) - So that all people can live with dignity and respect. So that we can make those in unaccountable power, accountable and change the relations of power. So that we can all live in a world with liberty, equality, justice and sustainability for all.
Henry Kraemer (Secretary of States, The Bus Federation) - I organize to empower the voices of our amazingly vibrant, diverse, badass Millennial Generation. I organize to reinvent our democracy for this century. And I organize because otherwise I'd go nuts.
Jamie McGonnigal (RootsCamp Director, New Organizing Institute) – I organize so that Newtown, Trayvon Martin, Troy Davis, Gwen Araujo and Matthew Shepard won’t happen again and so Edie Windsor, Malala Yousafzai, and Batkid will.
Jess Morales (Senior Digital Strategist, AFL-CIO) - Because I believe in the power of the little guy against Goliath. And because it's the only thing that's ever worked.
Kwesi Chappin (Eastern Organizing Manager, Sierra Club) - I love the game, I love the hustle.....
Laura Derrick (2012 Most Valuable Organizer) - Organizing builds power for the many who have little, community so we are not alone in our struggles, skills to better ourselves, and dignity for all.
Marshall Ganz (Senior Lecturer in Public Advocacy, Harvard Kennedy School) If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself alone, what am I? If not now, when?
Maxwell Love (Vice President, United States Student Association) - Organizing to me is story-telling for truth, justice, and building power through relationships with momentum-driven mobilization and structures that win against the status quo.
Rashad Robinson (Executive Director, ColorofChange) - I believe in a simple, fundamental truth: When oppressed people win, they win for everyone. The legislative, legal and cultural victories of the civil rights movement, immigrants rights, feminist or gay rights movements don’t just open up opportunities for the oppressed groups leading those movements - they empower all of us. At ColorOfChange, we believe in making our democracy - our country - work for all us. We must all understand this principle if we are going to really stand up to what we’re up against.
Raven Brooks (Executive Director, Netroots Nation) - The world is filled with inequalities and some of the largest problems humanity has faced. The only way to tackle those problems is to dig in and start organizing people. It's a contribution that I enjoy making and it reenergizes me every day.
Sarah El-Amine (National Grassroots Organizing Director, Organizing for Action) - Because I can't help myself! And because people all have a light in them, communities are stronger when we work together, and we can't rely on just casting our vote, we have to cast our whole influence (thank you, good Sir Thoreau). Also, I have more energy than a stampede of (happy) bulls and five amazing younger siblings who deserve to live in a world that gets a little better each day. Follow me on Twitter for OFA organizing highlights from across the country, management/leadership thoughts, travel tips, and organizational development theory!: @Sara_ela
If you want to know more about the contest, you can read the rules and FAQ.