As important as the issues are that C.O.P.S. and Metro Alliance address, the relationships that leaders develop and foster within their institutions and among leaders from the racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse institutions that comprise C.O.P.S./Metro Alliance are the foundation of broad-based community organizing.
Some of the successful projects Metro Alliance and C.O.P.S. continue to work on:
After School Challenge Program:
Securing over $15.6 million in city funding for after-school enrichment programs throughout the city since 1992. The program is presently available in eight school districts at 132 schools and serves 11,000 children.
San Antonio Education Partnership:
Collaborating with businesses, communities, school districts, and universities, scholarships are awarded to public high school students who graduate with at least a B average and 95% attendance record. Since 1989, the San Antonio Education Partnership has invested more than $11 million in scholarships and produced more than 2,400 college graduates. It supports more than 3,300 current college students.
A nationally recognized community-based economic development program serving San Antonio since 1992. Places unemployed and underemployed high school graduates in a supportive, long-term job training program for high-skill, high-wage jobs available in San Antonio.
Worked with local city, county, hospital district, and school districts to require living wages be paid to all employees. Changed the City of San Antonio’s tax abatement policy to require corporate abatement recipients to pay living wages to their employees.
Directed over $25 million of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to critical street, drainage and housing needs in the central, southern and eastern areas of the city. Leveraged over $2 billion in infrastructure and education bonds by working with the San Antonio, Harlandale, North East Independent School Districts, the Alamo Community College District, the City of San Antonio, and Bexar County in successfully shaping and passing important bond proposals.
C.O.P.S. and Metro Alliance leaders work with elected officials to ensure that promised services are delivered through regular meetings and accountability sessions. The organizations also meet regularly with business leaders, city staff, and other decision makers throughout the city and state.
COPS/Metro's strength is in its members: the religious institutions, labor locals, and other nonprofit and civic institutions that share a concern for community and are rooted in traditions of democracy. COPS/Metro is broad-based and works in the interest of our community's families, as an interfaith organization that embraces a membership of both religious and secular institutions.
As COPS/Metro members, institutions commit to building "organizing teams" or “action teams” of leaders and potential leaders to work on local issues identified by the team. By joining with other institutions that have similar goals and concerns, COPS/Metro members increase their collective power and work to achieve victories on local and city-wide issues. Member institutions pay dues to ensure COPS/Metro has a secure and independent core budget.
Current dues-paying member institutions include:
- American Federation of Teachers
- Congregation of Divine Providence
- Divine Redeemer Presbyterian
- El Carmen
- First Unitarian Universalist
- Holy Family
- Holy Redeemer
- Holy Rosary
- Immaculate Conception
- Macedonia Baptist Church
- Our Lady of Guadalupe - Helotes
- Our Lady of Guadalupe - San Antonio
- Presentation Sisters
- Sacred Heart
- San Antonio Alliance of Teachers & ESPs
- San Antonio Firefighters Association
- San Juan de los Lagos
- Sisters of the Holy Spirit
- Southside Education Association
- St. Alphonsus
- St. Bonaventure
- St. Francis of Assisi
- St. John Baptist Church
- St. Leo the Great
- St. Margaret Mary
- St. Philip of Jesus
- St. Timothy
If you are interested in forming an organizing team with your local institution, contact the COPS/Metro Alliance office.
The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) began in Chicago in 1940 under the leadership of Saul Alinsky, author of Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals. IAF Network organizations throughout the United States and England work on multiple issues and develop structures through which ordinary citizens can effectively negotiate with the government and private institutions that affect their lives. There are no individual members of IAF organizations; rather institutions make human and financial commitments to participate in these networks.
San Antonio has two IAF organizations. In 1974, Communities Organized for Public Service (C.O.P.S.) formed the first IAF organization in the Southwest Network. Two additional IAF organizations formed in San Antonio in the early 1980s: the East Side Alliance, composed of African American and Hispanic low- and lower-middle income churches, and the Metropolitan Congregational Alliance, which included South, Central, and Northwest area Anglo and Hispanic Protestant lower-middle and middle-income churches. The Metro Alliance formed in 1989 through a merger of the East Side Alliance and the Metropolitan Congregational Alliance. Today, C.O.P.S. and the Metro Alliance share many resources and work collaboratively. Like other IAF organizations, COPS/Metro is a broad-based citizens' organization comprised of religious and other non-profit institutions.
● To provide a historical record of the achievements of a nationally recognized broad-based community organization
● To provide a record and access to materials for current and future researchers
● To offer an educational mechanism that can serve as a heritage tool for future generations so that they can more fully understand the impact of their parents’ work in gathering the power needed to make San Antonio a more vibrant and equitable city
● To provide a repository for an oral history collection connected with the archival material
● To showcase material from the collection at an exhibit commemorating the organization’s 40+ years of organizing
The finding aid for the COPS/Metro Alliance archives is available online.