The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) is a broad-based organization that works to coalesce, train, and organize the communities of Greater Boston across religious, racial, ethnic, class, and neighborhood lines for the public good. Our primary goal is to develop local leadership and organized power to fight for social justice.
We strive to hold both public and private power holders accountable for their public responsibilities (see GBIO’s successes on issue campaigns here, as well as to initiate actions and programs of our own to solve community and economic problems (read about GBIO’s work on the Moving from Debt to Assets program here).
GBIO was founded by a group of 45 clergy and community leaders who began meeting in January of 1996. What motivated this founding group to begin building GBIO was a common desire to transcend the historic divisions in Boston that existed between neighborhoods, particularly around race and class issues.
These founders aimed to build a new organization which could help form relationships across these divides and provide a new vehicle for different constituencies to act together on common interests in ways which would be powerful and effective.
The founding group raised seed money from ten different religious denominations and the first staff organizer was hired in August 1997. In November of 1998, GBIO held its founding assembly with 4000 people from across Greater Boston. This watershed event was the largest and most diverse meeting held in Boston in the past 25 years.
GBIO is affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) , the nation’s first and largest network of multi-faith citizen organizations. Today, the IAF is made up of 65 organizations working in cities and metropolitan areas across the country, on issues ranging from healthcare to education to housing
GBIO works most closely with the 20 IAF organizations operating in the East, Midwest, and Southeast that have joined together to form Metro-IAF. Those organizations have accounted for the construction of thousands of units of affordable housing, pioneering work on health care reform, the transformation of dilapidated and underperforming urban area schools, and a whole host of other victories.