Water Equity Clearinghouse



Gamaliel was founded in 1986 with the purpose of training community and faith leaders to become politically empowered and create organizations that brought together communities and individuals of all faiths and races. Now with 43 affiliates and 7 state offices in 16 states, Gamaliel helps people effectively participate in the political, environmental, social, and economic decisions that affect their lives.

Gamaliel is also strongly focused on policy advocacy and organizing to promote education transparency and accountability, immigration reform, and increased access to jobs and job training. Gamaliel recognizes the potential of infrastructure projects to create jobs, and strives to build the advocacy work of local affiliates.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

Gamaliel currently is looking into how their work can expose and unravel institutional racism beyond the transportation sector. While the Transportation Equity Network, a project by Gamaliel, works to make transportation systems across America more equitable, the organization is looking into how other infrastructure modes create jobs.

For example, a Gamaliel supported nonprofit in Buffalo, Voice Buffalo, established a Community Benefits Agreement with the Erie County Industrial Association on their Waterfront Development project. The agreement calls for minority hiring at 25 percent and hiring of women at five percent for Green LEED Standards at the Gold level, among other provisions.

MOSES, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, is another such group that has benefited from the support of Gamaliel. This organization also works to secure Community Benefits Agreements with businesses and infrastructure development projects, to ensure that a portion of jobs and training are reserved for low-income residents, people of color, and women. MOSES also helps bring to light issues of water inequity. A newly imposed drainage fee that charges non-residential property owners $750 per impervious acre of the property stands to foreclose 400 churches in Detroit. However, as MOSES points out, this is not a sewerage fee for treating sewage, but a fee to pay for the cost of draining rainfall from a property and is part of the ongoing fallout of Detroit's bankruptcy. MOSES’ work is building a movement with clergy, congregations, and community to increase water equity throughout Michigan.

St. Louis is another city in which a Community Benefits agreement was brokered with support from Gamaliel. In 2013, the Metropolitan Congregations United of St. Louis (MCU) and partners such as the NAACP worked with the St. Louis Metro Sewer District Board to achieve this step forward in providing green jobs and water equity for all communities.