To create substantive changes within our society that will eliminate the causes and conditions that allow poverty to continue to exist in our communities.
CEI creates change from the ground up. Sustainable systemic change goals, strategies and tactics must be defined by people directly impacted, and outcomes must be achieved through diverse community coalitions that share a stake in success.
CEI’s goals coalesce around its initiatives. These initiatives are driven by our overarching vision and mission to build economically strong communities for all and oppose unfair corporate practices.
CEI identifies egregious corporate practices and public polices that allow those practices to thrive: negatively impacting workers, consumers, children and families. We work as a facilitator for systemic economic change through partnerships with existing nonprofits, military and political entities, faith-based and business organizations in the following ways:
• Community Organizing
• Community Based Research & Education
• Public Policy and Corporate Reforms
• Social Enterprise Development
Since CEI’s founding in late 2001, our capacity has been dependent upon our unique partnership approach. As a facilitator for change, CEI brings together individuals and organizations around initiatives with wide-ranging impacts. This range allows CEI to engage with diverse interests and ideologies around a common cause. The projects that arise as a result of our community based research and coalition building give depth and longevity to our work. We remain since our inception, a small nimble organization with minimal operational overhead, even as we continue to evolve to take advantage of emerging technologies that enhance our overall effectiveness and efficiency.
CEI capabilities are directly correlated to our capacity. The diversity and richness of the coalitions and partners CEI engages in this work results in a tremendous amount of collective expertise, skill, energy, compassion and wisdom.
Each initiative, and the projects that arise as a result, offer up opportunities for incremental success that builds over longer periods of time. These successes are celebrated and offered up to the community and to coalition members as a mechanism for sustaining the incredible amounts of effort needed to make progress toward achieving our overarching mission. Indications of success include but are not limited to:
• Public Policy changes (legislative and administrative; local, regional, national)
• Positive Economic changes (individual work, family & children; local, regional, national economies)
Grandparent and Kinship Families
Huge progress was made from 2017 to 2018 in increasing the number of eligible families who applied for, and received the grandparent raising grandchildren stipend ($75/m), by working with the Governor’s office and state agency administrators (Dept. of Children and Families – DCS). Expansion of eligibility and outreach by DCS is a direct result of AZGA advocacy efforts and a significant public policy victory.
Payday Lending Reform
CEI won a first and only victory banning payday lenders in AZ saving vulnerable consumers 35 million dollars per year in usurious interest rates and fees. CEI now helps communities across the country combat similar 400% interest rate payday loans.
Reform of Labor Brokers
CEI pushed through legislation holding for-profit day labor companies accountable in AZ and NM and helped three nonprofits in the Gulf Coast region launch nonprofit labor brokering enterprises to better meet the needs of workers and employers.