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mission & value s Our Mission The mission of Communities Creating Opportunity is to bring people of all faiths together to build relationships, develop strong leaders, and improve the quality of life in our communities.

Our Values CCO believes. . . . • . . . our mission is rooted in the religious experience, social justice, and the conviction that the common good can be found in our common beliefs. • . . . our diverse cultures, ethnicities, faith traditions, and experiences enrich and strengthen us in pursuing our mission. • . . . people should have a say in the decisions that shape their lives. They know best what their families and communities need. Their voices need to be at the center of political life. • . . . every citizen, given the proper training, motivation and support can take extraordinary steps to improve the quality of life for their communities. • . . . government can play a vital role in improving society, but that citizens and local organizations need to have the power to influence policy and hold public officials accountable.


a letter

from our executive director Father Norman Rotert said to me not so long ago, “I am proud of what we have built.” He should be. 35 years ago, he was the first of thousands to proclaim through deed that the people of St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church at the corner of 58th and Euclid and the larger faith community of the Kansas City metro would not stand by and watch racial redlining tear apart a community. His conviction and the courage of the people of the Blue Hills neighborhood became something remarkable: an enduring federation of dozens of congregations and thousands of people working in tandem for the good of this community. Fr. Rotert has left an indelible legacy. Today, we are thrilled to also honor two other ministers who have made exceptional contributions to the Kansas and Missouri faith communities. Presiding Elder Joseph Forbes, the catalyst for CCO’s expansion into Kansas, leads our Board of Directors in active citizenry. Under his direction, Communities Creating Opportunity has leveraged over ten million dollars for home repair, led a Cover All Children campaign that resulted in tens of thousands of children having health care, and impacted over twenty housing, lending, health care, safety, and immigration policies and ordinances that improve the quality of life for Kansas City families. Reverend Wallace S. Hartsfield, Sr., pastor emeritus of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and founder of Missouri Faith Voices, was among the first to say “yes!” to community organizing in Kansas City. His inspirational leadership was the driving force

behind the creation of the Missouri Inter-Religious Roundtable, now Missouri Faith Voices, a 501(c)3 independent organization dedicated to building a prophetic voice for the state of Missouri. This evening is our chance to celebrate not only the legacy of these three exceptional clergymen, but of every “ordinary person” who has stepped into extraordinary leadership in this community through their work with CCO. Together we are building a Kansas City for All. To 35 more,

Eva Schulte, Diaconal Minister Executive Director


SPONSORSHIPS opportunity sponsors $1,000 Wynne Begun SEIU Healthcare Missouri

congregation & corporate sponsors - $500

friends of CCO $350

Law Offices of Gerald M. Handley KCMO Health Department More2 Russ and Dana Creydt and Kathleen Grove Visitation Jobs with Justice

Advanced Technology Solutions Salva Katosang and Gerhardt Braeckel Beth Torah Truman Medical Center Margo Quiriconi and Kauffman Foundation Platte Woods UMC St. James St. Peter’s Parish

b e c om e a s u s ta i n i ng s p on s or of cco! Your donations help us build the capacity to work with you toward a Kansas City for All. Commit tonight to becoming a monthly donor to sustain CCO’s mission, and receive the gift of one of our centerpieces - a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, handmade commemorative 35th Anniversary vase.

Vases made by our friends at Sommerville Pottery www.sommervillepottery.com


program of the evening Welcome

Rev. Jennifer Thomas, Immanuel Lutheran Church

35 Years of Communities Creating Opportunity Presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards

Mary Rabon and Carol Thrane, President-Elect and Vice President of the Board award recipients Father Norman Rotert, founder of Communities Creating Opportunity Reverend Wallace Hartsfield Sr., founder of Missouri Faith Voices Presiding Elder Joseph Forbes, President of the Board of Directors

Special Award

Presiding Elder Joseph Forbes, President of the Board Mary Rabon, Vice-President of the Board

Creating a Kansas City for All! Eva Schulte, Executive Director

2012 Leadership Recognition

Damon Daniel, Regional Organizing Director Molly Fleming-Pierre, Policy Director

Announcements Closing Prayer

Rev. Rayfield Burns, Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church


Highlights from Communities leadership highlights • • •

Recruited and developed 11 fellows Gathered 53,000 + signatures to Cap the Rate and Raise the Wage Contacted more than 53,000 voters • 200,000 + phone calls made • 21,410 phone conversations • 10,611 door knocks • 2,672 door conversations • 34,565 postcards sent

congregational highlights • • • • • • • • • •

• • •

Ezekial Revival hosted by Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church Show Me Economic Dignity celebration hosted by St. Mark Hope and Peace CCO and Concerned Clergy voter registration training and canvass Reimagining the Land hosted by Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church State Senate Candidate Forum Hosted by St. Peter CME KCKS Let My People Vote March, St. Peter CME KCKS Creating Sustainable Places Social Equity Community Conversation Responsible Banking Resolution in KCMO Ban the Box Ordinance KCMO Lifelines Pathway to Restoration Summit, Hosted by Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center COGIC (St. Peter CME and Roswell Church of Christ) CCO KS Lifelines TOC School Board Candidate Forum hosted by Visitation Catholic Church and MORE2 congregations Health Care Forum hosted by Congregation Beth Torah Health Care Forum hosted by St. Peter CME

CCO TIMELINE

1977

Kansas City Organizing Project (KCOP) is founded to confront predatory lending and economic blockbusting tearing apart a Southeast Kansas City neighborhood.

1989

In an effort to counter a crack cocaine epidemic, the Kansas City Church Community Organization (formerly KCOP) successfully pushed for increased enforcement of anti-drug laws and developed DART, the Drug Abatement Response Team, to close more than 200 drug houses over an 8-year period.

1994

The Agenda for Youth results in the renovation and opening of the TroostMidtown Community Center and a 30% drop in crime in the first two years of the mayor’s Hot Summer Nights Program, developed in conjunction with CCO leaders.

1997

KC Church Community Organization leverages hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve streets, demolish dangerous buildings, and support general maintenance and upkeep in a campaign for Livable Neighborhoods.

2001

As payday loans become an increasing cancer in Kansas City’s low income community, KC Church Community Organization confronts the payday lending industries attempts to overturn usury laws.


Creating Opportunity 2012 issue success • • • • • • • •

2004

$4 million awarded to Kansas City to develop an innovative clinical and community intervention strategy for better health outcomes for the underserved and uninsured Olivet Institutional Baptist Church with Tremont Neighborhood Association awarded Neighborhood Grant (KCKS) Established 2 school-based health clinics in Wyandotte County 350,000 signatures gathered in coalition with other Missouri partners to Cap the Rate and Raise the Wage Tremont Neighborhood Association, Livable Neighborhood Grant Served 180 Youth at Deferred Action event Prevented deportation of Jesus, an undocumented youth from our community Secured commitments to grocery stores in Kansas City food deserts

The Build Communities, Not Just Houses campaign leverages $10 million for neighborhood-targeted home repair.

2006

KCCCO leaders and congregations push for increased access to health care for children, eventually securing the reinstatement of health care coverage to 6,000 Missouri children in the Cover All Children campaign.

2007

Kansas City Church Community Organization becomes Communities Creating Opportunity.

2011

Communities Creating Opportunity becomes a member of Missouri Faith Voices, the newly formed state-wide network of congregations and clergy leaders dedicated to building a prophetic voice for the state of Missouri.

2012

Communities Creating Opportunity launches the Economic Dignity campaign and, in an unprecedented joining of forces, unites the faith community with labor and community organizations from across the state of Missouri to gather more than 300,000 signatures for two ballot initiatives to cap interest rates on payday loans and raise the minimum wage.


honorees father norman rotert

Father Norman Rotert, a lifelong Missourian, civil rights activist, and community activist, graduated from Kenrick Seminary School of Theology in St. Louis in 1957 and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest that same year. During his tenure in the Catholic diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Fr. Rotert pastored eight different parishes and served as chaplain of Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Diocesan Director of Lay Activities, and Diocesan Vicar General. He has been appointed to be a member of the Rockhurst University Regents, Vicar for Social Concerns, Vicar for Charity and Social Action, and Diocesan Vocation Director among many other appointments. In 1977, Fr. Rotert, recognizing that real community transformation happens when people organize to address the root causes that undermine a neighborhood and tear families apart, founded Kansas City Organizing Project (KCOP) to respond to racial redlining and financial disinvestment in the city’s Southeast neighborhoods. From 1977 to 1984, KCOP organized neighborhoods, building eleven neighborhood organizations in low-income Kansas City communities, before changing its name to CCO and shifting attention to a series of community initiatives to fight drug infiltration, build and revitalize neighborhoods, seek equity for the working poor, advocate for accessible health care, and create opportunities for youth. Fr. Rotert’s spirit of activism and commitment to justice manifest in many other ways as well. In addition to his work with Communities Creating Opportunity, he is a founding member of Blue Hills Community Services and member of the Board of Directors of PICO National Network, and is the recipient of the Southtown Council’s American Citizen Award and Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Sullivan Award. He was honored with a Kansas City City Council resolution proclaiming him “a model of excellence as one of Kansas City’s premier civic housing leaders and humble servants” as well as a resolution passed by the Missouri House of Representatives honoring Fr. Rotert for “enhancing the quality of life in Kansas City.” Communities Creating Opportunity is proud to salute Fr. Rotert’s vision, courage and distinguished legacy with a Lifetime Achievement Award.


r e v e r e n d d o c t or wa l l ac e s. h a rt s f i e l d, s r . Reverend Doctor Wallace S. Hartsfield II is a minister, dedicated community activist, and civil servant who has never stopped believing in the power of people to confront the systemic injustices that hold them back. Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929 to the late Ruby Morrissette, Rev. Hartsfield served a 3-year tour of duty with the United States Army before receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Clark College in Atlanta, now Clark Atlanta University, in 1954. He went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Gammon Theological Seminary, now the Interdenominational Theological Center, in 1957. Rev. Hartsfield holds many honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Divinity degree from both Western Baptist Bible College in Kansas City, MO and Virginia Seminary and College of Lyncher, Virginia. He has served as pastor in Pickens, South Carolina; Wichita, Kansas; Barstow, Florida; and Brunswick, Georgia and is widely known for his theological integrity and oratorical skills. In 2008, Rev. Hartsfield retired as Senior Pastor from Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO after more than 40 years of service to Metropolitan and more than 55 years as a minister. His son, Rev. Dr. Wallace S. Hartsfield II, succeeded him. That same year, Rev. Hartsfield Sr. chaired the first Missouri Inter-Religious Roundtable, convening 60 clergy and 200 lay leaders at the Capitol in Jefferson City. The interest of clergy and congregations from across the state, coupled with Rev. Hartsfield’s leadership, vision, and an inspired theological reflection on Ezekiel and the valley of the dry bones, provided the impetus for the formation of Missouri Faith Voices, a statewide network of 200 congregations and faith-based community organizations, dedicated to engaging and empowering ordinary people for the good of the Missouri community. Missouri Faith Voices and Communities Creating Opportunity is proud to award Reverend Wallace Hartsfield Sr. with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his remarkable leadership and outstanding contributions to the Missouri faith community.


reverend joseph h. forbes Reverend Joseph H. Forbes, born into a family with five generations of African Methodist Episcopal ministers, is the third of five children born to the late Reverend Ahnin and Mrs. Rachel Forbes, Sr. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Elder Forbes is married to Mrs. Lola M. Forbes and has five children and three grandchildren. Elder Forbes has been in ministry for more than 50 years, and has served pastorates in Ohio, California, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. His accomplishments in these different locations are many and impressive, including raising the money to purchase property for a church building in his first year at St. John AME in Little Rock, CA; establishing a Head Start program at Bethel AME in Marysville, CA; and starting a food kitchen and emergency shelter while at Allen Chapel AME in Riverside, CA. In addition to his service to the AME church, Elder Forbes spent the ‘50s and ‘60s serving his country in both the United States Army and the Air Force. Rev. Forbes presently serves as Presiding Elder of the Kansas City North District of the Northwest Missouri Conference in the AME Church. Presiding Elder Forbes has long been a champion for social change. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Communities Creating Opportunity since 2005 and has served two terms as Board President. Elder Forbes was the primary driving force behind CCO’s expansion into Kansas and, as Board President, has overseen the growth of Communities Creating Opportunity into an organization with 100 participating congregations across state and county lines. It is a rare week that goes by without a glimpse of Elder Forbes at a meeting, in the office, or giving the opening prayer at a rally. His wise leadership, commitment to justice, and warm presence are gifts of immeasurable value to the CCO team and community. Communities Creating Opportunity is proud to present Presiding Elder Forbes with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his exceptional leadership in the Kansas City community and his faithful service to the CCO mission.


Communities Creating Opportunity wishes to thank the following for their excellent work and generosity tonight:

We also wish to acknowledge our legal support: Bob Latz, Steve Bough, Dale Irwin, Chris Grant, and John Miller A special thank you to the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department for welcoming us into their beautiful building and for their continual support of the work of Communities Creating Opportunity. Thank you to John Baumann, Founder of PICO National Network, whose work we continue and honor this evening. Finally, thank you to each and every leader who spent countless hours volunteering in the last year. Your tireless commitment to a Kansas City for All inspires us.


recognitions From Congregation Beth Torah, CCO committee Our committee would like to honor 3 people whose vision and leadership have helped define our social action work.  Rabbi Mark Levin our spiritual leader and teacher who shows us by his example that Tikkun Olam is a way of life and that we must be citizens who fix what is broken Joy Friedman our first CCO professional who taught us that the power of organizing and building relationships is the way to enhance community and effect real change Barry Daneman one of our founding CCO members who helped us shaped our vision, our path and our action on health care issues as we work to repair the world


In appreciation of her boundless creativity, tireless work ethic, devotion to excellence, and inspirational leadership, the Communities Creating Opportunity Board of Directors is proud to honor Eva as an outstanding Opportunity Creator and salute her vision of a Kansas City (and a Missouri! and a Kansas!) for All!

Thank you Eva!


Congratulations, Rev. Norman Rotert, Elder Joseph Forbes, and Rev. Wallace Hartsfield, Sr.

on being recognized for your leadership of Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO). We’re inspired by your vision and honor you for your tireless commitment. St. Peter’s Parish Pastor, Fr. Steve Cook

Making a difference in our communities. SEIU Healthcare Missouri & Kansas members are committed to strengthening the voice of working people and the communities we serve. We are proud to work with and support Communities Creating Opportunity.

www.seiuhcilin.org | 866-933-SEIU


Visitation Local Organizing Committee honors

Mary Ellen DeCoursey for her outstanding leadership

Mary Ellen inspires us with her exemplary and passionate work through: •

Visitation Local Organizing Committee

Kansas City School District Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Active membership in the School District DAC, SAC

On going relationship building with School District board members and key personnel

A desire to provide all of Kansas City’s children with a high quality education

Thank you Mary Ellen!

Organizer Damon Daniel offers special recognition to the following congregations that primarily serve African Americans by providing leadership in violence awareness, preaching economic liberations, helping people become more engaged in civic life through registering people to vote and helping people get to the polls on Election Day Congregations St. Peter CME, LOC KCKS Faith Deliverance Family Worship LOC, KCKS Olivet Institutional Baptist Church LOC, KCKS Roswell Church of Christ, KCKS Trinity Church of God in Christ True Vine Missionary Baptist Church LOC Bowers Memorial CME Concord Fortress of Hope Church Jamison Temple AME St. Mathews Catholic Church St. Luke’s UMC

2nd Presbyterian is proud to nominate

St. Therese Little Flower is proud to congratulate

Laurie Fisher

Fr. Norman Rotert

as an Opportunity Creator in Kansas City for her work as the chair of our social justice and peacemaking committee and her role with CCO around social innovation in health care, economic dignity and immigration reform.

as an Opportunity Creator

Because of Laurie’s leadership, we catch a glimpse of God’s kingdom here on earth.

He saw the problems, responded in hope, crafted solutions, inspired the faithful, and never gave up.


Rev. Jennifer Thomas Faithful leader and opportunity creator

The Immanuel Lutheran/ Volker Neighborhood Local Organizing Committee honors

Rev. Jennifer Thomas,

pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church Rev. Thomas: • Shares a gospel-inspired conviction in the power of the public church. • Motivates through leadership during citywide, interfaith organizing events. • Magnifies faith-based organizing through Missouri Faith Voices. • Encourages organizers in the Lutheran congregation she serves and in other faith communities.

Platte Woods United Methodist Church is proud to nominate

John Miller as an Opportunity Creator in Missouri for his untiring work on behalf of the Economic Dignity Initiatives. John’s work extended well beyond our church as he donated his time and legal expertise in a variety of ways. Whether working with CCO on a state level or gathering petition signatures and phone-banking, John set the bar for dedication to this effort, and we are happy to have him as one of our own!

As we are blessed, may she be blessed!

Missouri Jobs with Justice Congratulates Communities Creating Opportunity on 35 powerful years!

Greater Gilgal Baptist Bible Church is proud to nominate

Pastor Rev. Lloyd D. Fields as an Opportunity Creator

We look forward to many more years of collaboration! 2725 Clifton, St. Louis, MO 63139 Ph: 314.644.0466, Fax: 314.647.9910 www.mojwj.org www.kcjwj.org

Thank you for your tireless efforts in the fight for economic Dignity for All in the Kansas City Area.


Immanuel Lutheran Church is proud to nominate

Mary Jo Moore as an opportunity creator in the Volker neighborhood. Mary Jo collected over 1,000 signatures during the Economic Dignity Campaign.

The Liberty Team honors

Reverend Susan McCann for her outstanding leadership


CCO staff Eva Schulte, Diaconal Minister

Heather Simmons

Amanda Mayhew

Executive Director

Development Director

Operations Organizer

Damon Daniel

Jerry Jones

Megan Black

Regional Organizing Director

Lead Health Care Organizer

Program Manager

Molly Fleming-Pierre

Alice Chamberlain

Policy Director

Community Organizer

Rev. Deth Im

Kathryn Evans

Dir. of Clergy Organizing & Congregational Development Community Organizer

board of directors Presiding Elder Joseph Forbes, President

Rev. Norman Rotert, Founder

Wynne Begun

African Methodist Episcopal, at-large

Catholic, at-large

Congregation Beth Torah

Mary Rabon, President-Elect

Rev. Rayfield Burns

Claudia Nelson

St. James United Methodist

Metropolitan Missionary Baptist

Greater Gilgal Baptist

Carol Thrane, Vice President

Don Arney

Mary Cosgrove Spence

Presbyterian, at-large

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Visitation Catholic

Patricia Peebles, Treasurer

Rev. Shirley Fletcher

St. Peter’s Catholic

St. Peter’s Christian Methodist Episcopal

Rev. Donna Simon, Secretary

Patricia Orr

St. Mark Hope and Peace

Olivet Institutional Baptist

participating congregations Beth Judah Ministries Church of God in Christ

Northmoor United Methodist Church

St James United Methodist Church

Bowers Memorial CME Church

Olivet Institutional Baptist Church

St Louis Catholic Church

Calvary Temple Baptist Church

Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church

St Lukes United Methodist Church

Canaan Worship Center

Our Lady of the Presentation Catholic Church

St Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church

Centennial United Methodist Church

Palestine Baptist Church

St Mark’s Catholic Church

Christ the King Catholic Church

Paseo Baptist Church

St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church

Concord Fortress of Hope Church

Platte Woods United Methodist Church

St Matthew Apostle Catholic Church

Congregation Beth Torah

Renaissance United Methodist Church

St Monica Catholic Church

Cornerstone Bible Church

Revival of Hope Ministries

St Patrick’s Catholic Church

Ebenezer AME Church

Roswell Church of Christ

St Paul’s Episcopal Church

Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center

Sacred Heart Guadalupe

St Peter CME Church

Friendship Baptist Church

Second Presbyterian Church

St Peter’s Catholic Church

Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral

Sheffield Family Life Center

St Regis Catholic Church

Grace Episcopal Church

St Anthony Catholic Church

St Sabina Catholic Church

Grace United Methodist Church

St Bernadette’s Catholic Church

St Therese Little Flower Catholic Church

Greater Gilgal Missionary Baptist Church

St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

St Therese Parkville

Guardian Angels Catholic Church

St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church

St Thomas More Catholic Church

Holy Family Catholic Church

St Elizabeth Catholic Church

Swope Parkway Church of Christ

Holy Spirit Catholic Church

St Francis Xavier

Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ

Immanuel Lutheran Church

St Gabriels Catholic Church

True Vine Missionary Baptist Church

Jamison Temple Missionary Baptist Church

St James Catholic Church

Visitation Catholic Church

Macedonia Baptist Church

St James Catholic Church - Liberty

Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church

St James Lutheran Church


400 Troost Ave, Suite 4300 Kansas City, MO 64108 816-221-9900 (p) 816-842-1587 (f) info@cco.org www.CCO.org


CCO Program Booklet