The Main Street Alliance

The second WordPress website I built was in 2008 for a new organizing project known as The Main Street Alliance. It is a national network of small business groups organizing around issues like health care, living wages, and paid sick days.

As The Main Street Alliance’s network grew, so did their website needs. In 2011 I built my first set of parent-child themes and used a multi-site installation of WordPress that resulted in a network of interrelated, yet independent, websites for:

  • The Main Street Alliance
  • Idaho Main Street Alliance
  • Montana Small Business Alliance
  • New Jersey Main Street Alliance
  • Main Street Alliance of Oregon
  • Main Street Alliance of Washington

The Main Street Alliance’s national website featured my work until mid-2014. Many of state chapters use the theme I built for them still.

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Alliance for a Just Society

I stumbled into community organizing in 2003 by answering a job posting for a position as an Office Manager at Northwest Federation of Community Organizations. The organization has since expanded and changed its name to Alliance for a Just Society, but the focus remains on working with grassroots organizations around social, racial, and economical justice issues. During my time there, I was given the opportunity to learn and do a wide variety of things.

Below is a quick review of Alliance for a Just Society’s website over the years. Not coincidentally, it also parallels much of my development as a web designer. The timeline begins with the latest year on top.

2010-2014: WordPress

The organization changed its name to Alliance for a Just Society and I completely reconstructed its website. I used tutorials found on ThemeShaper to create a custom theme for use with WordPress.

Moving to WordPress allowed me to reach a goal that I had long been dreaming about – the ability to create sophisticated websites that I could hand over to someone else to run. No longer did adding or editing content have to go through me. Instead, writers were empowered to do it themselves, even if they did not have much technical knowledge.

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Health Rights Organizing Project

Health Rights Organizing Project ran from 2006-2010. It was one of several password-protected websites I created while at Alliance for a Just Society, formerly Northwest Federation of Community Organizations. It served as a clearinghouse of fact sheets, educational materials, and other resources for grassroots organizations to use.

This website was an effective tool for sharing materials with coalition partners that did not clog up email inboxes with attachments. Organizers preferred editing files stored in a centralized location rather than sending email attachments each time someone updated a document.


 

Immigrant Organizing Resource Center

Immigrant Organizing Resource Center ran from 2006-2010. It was one of a handful of password-protected websites I created while at Alliance for a Just Society, formerly Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, that served as a clearinghouse of fact sheets, educational materials, and other resources for grassroots organizations to use.

Organizers found that sharing materials with coalition partners through invitation-only websites served better than sending emails and clogging up inboxes with attachments. In addition, making revisions to already-shared files was easy to do compared to files sent as email attachments.