The ISAIAH Trash Referendum by Peter Levine and Liz McKenna is a case study “about an organization in Minnesota called ISAIAH, a faith-based organization that works to expand the power and influence of people who have often been overlooked, especially poor people and people of color.
“This case examines what happened when, to support a new mayor with whom the organization wanted to work, ISAIAH became involved in a divisive issue—not of its own choosing—that revolved around garbage. ISAIAH faced at least three choices: 1) stay out of the fight over garbage; 2) use mobilizing techniques to help the mayor win the garbage issue; or 3) use relational organizing to enter into a power relationship with the mayor in the garbage fight—even though most of the people in ISAIAH’s networks didn’t care much about the issue.”
Practitioners, teachers, trainers, and organizations can use SNF Agora case studies to deepen skills, develop insights about how to approach strategic choices and dilemmas, and to get to know each other better and work more effectively. Each case tells a true story of a dilemma that confronted a real group of people. You can read the case and discuss what you would do in their circumstances.