MAP is Back from our Hiatus with Fresh Eyes

Graphic with icon of people holding gears. Text reads: We're back! We're synthesizing our lessons from the MAPOut and appreciate our community's grace as we get our bearings to implement new changes.

We have some exciting news to share: our MAPOut is complete. After a four-month period of deep strategic planning, our team is returning with fresh eyes and an exciting new vision for how Movement Alliance Project is best positioned to contribute to building long-term movement power. 

As long-time supporters of MAP, we know our community is eager to hear more about what we learned, our strategic plan, and how the MAPOut has transformed us as a team and organization for the future. Believe us, we can’t wait to share more about our decisions and what they mean for how we rejoin you all in the work. But first, we need to make sure that we are dedicating the care, intention, and time needed in order to make our new strategy a success. So we’re asking for a little grace as we ease forward and get our bearings. There will absolutely be more to share soon. So stay tuned. In the meantime, we’d love to share a bit more about what we actually did during the MAPOut:

Over the last four months, our team of 11 paused our external work in order to dive deep into rest, study, our organizational strategy, goals and plans. Throughout the process we centered practices that made us more able to plan intentionally. This included: 

Taking Breaks: After a non-stop year of organizing during the pandemic, we were tired. We decided that to get the best thinking from our group, we first needed time for ourselves. Thus, we started the MAPOut with a staff-wide week-off. This allowed us to enter the planning process refreshed and ready. It also inspired us to build breaks into the rest of the process. We did our best to make sure that while we were going through this intense period, our staff had time away with family, friends, and community to rest and recharge. 

Studying and Political Education: Our time studying deeply together helped us build a shared understanding and analysis of our people’s conditions and how to develop strategies to transform them. We read about the history of organizing in Philly, talked through concepts like hegemony and revolutionary strategy, and discussed our vision for a better world. To supplement our reading, we also began research assessing current conditions in Philadelphia and in our movements. We brought in incredible guest speakers, skilled organizers from partner organizations, who shared with us their strategies for change-making.

Photo of MAP staff ‘graduating’ from our study phase.

Reflecting on Past Work and Making Hard Decisions: Before the MAPOut, we conducted an organizational assessment and surveyed our partners and staff on the impact of our work and our structure. During the MAPOut, we reviewed those surveys and reflected on our work from over the last 15 years. We had hard conversations. We talked about the moments when we’ve been the most impactful and won real change in Philadelphia and moments when we’ve struggled to craft clear plans or felt pulled in numerous directions. We discussed the concept of mission creep, and made a real commitment to choose strategy instead. We made some truly hard decisions and crafted a new strategy based on our vision for Philadelphia and our strengths as an organization. 

Outlining our Strategic Plan: Building on our powerful assessments and new and improved organizational strategy, we developed a strategic plan to implement the changes we’d identified. This plan will support us in carrying out the transitions necessary to make our new strategy successful. As we continue out of MAPOut, we’re in the beginning stages of implementation and can’t wait to share more. 

The clarity we have on our purpose & strategy is something we’ve been working hard to achieve, and I couldn’t be more proud of our decision to take the time we needed to get there. It’s hard to step away from the daily challenges this time is presenting our communities. But it was absolutely worth it. We want to extend a heartfelt thank you and express gratitude to all the ways our community supported us to take this time away. In so many ways, the work continued in our absence–and we have our partners, allies, and loving community to thank for that. 

We can’t wait to share more with you soon as we work towards a vision of long-term power for our communities in Philadelphia. 

With endless thanks and solidarity, 

Bryan, Clarise, Devren, Hannah, Helyx, Jacob, Jenessa, Mariam, Shari, Sophie and Zoraida

Movement Alliance Project