Michigan United

Theory of Change

Michigan United - Theory of Change

Michigan United is building a vibrant, inclusive movement in Michigan where community members are organizing to build power to affect change at local, state, and national levels. We are working to dismantle

systemic barriers perpetuating inequality by building power. Michigan United defines power as the ability to act, and it comes in the form of organized people and organized money. We focus on issues from a

racial, economic, and gender justice lens. We are a hub of people-centered leadership development, issue organizing, and civic power building. We are movement builders.

Michigan United’s theory of change is rooted in our core values. We start from the position that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential and live with dignity. We’re committed to bridging gaps and fostering unity across different communities, recognizing that our destinies are linked in the fight for equity and justice.

The Core Elements of Our Theory of Change:

1. We are people, member, and leader led.

● Marginalized or impacted communities are the foundation of real social change.

● Our people are the low-income, working-class, women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, Black, African American, Latino, Brown, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, African, people of diverse faiths, and other underrepresented and marginalized communities across Michigan.

● Our people have lived experiences and real stories connected to the issues and campaigns we work on.

● People are at the center and the forefront of everything we do and our decisions.

2. We must go deep and develop new leaders. This is slow work.

To win the change that our state and our communities need, we must invest in developing more leaders in communities across

our state.

By engaging communities and nurturing leaders from diverse backgrounds, we will create a groundswell of grassroots leaders

capable of bringing real change.

We conduct in-depth training programs to develop community organizers, leaders, and trainers.

We strive to be Michigan’s hub of learning how to live authentically, purposefully, and powerfully instead of how to simply exist.

We are building power and developing leaders for current and future generations.

3. Our greatest opportunities are local.

Regional Committees running strategic, people-centered campaigns are the stepping stones to state-level issue work and change.

We strive to build power that culminates into co-governing.

Local base building will bring new and unexpected leaders into the organization – not just the usual already politicized individuals.

Create change in the community by helping train political candidates, developing election plans, and changing the rules and laws that shape our experiences.

By initiating change locally, we address our communities' immediate needs and experiences.

We will organize and support strategic campaigns to address our communities' most pressing injustices, focusing on sustainable, long-term solutions.

4. We must be in person.

Building REAL relationships.

Engaging authentically and powerfully.

Mass mobilization–especially via phone or email–is limited in the power it can deliver in a digital and highly polarized time.

We believe in the power of authentic, face-to-face relationships to create meaningful collaboration.

5. We must be a political home and a trusted institution for our people.

We strive to be a truly independent institution that can speak out against anyone who gets in the way of winning on our issues, not acquiescing to power structures.

The focus is on issues, teaching people how to exercise and build power in and outside of elections. We provide legal services to our base to exemplify our commitment to a service-to-power model. We equip individuals with the tools and knowledge necessary for advocacy, change, and power building.

Amid uncertainty, strife, and mistrust, we aim to establish dependable institutions to rejuvenate public engagement and nurture emerging leaders.

We pledge to steer conversations away from worn-out paths and towards new dialogues that can spark radical reform.

6. We can’t do this alone.

We nurture deep relationships with allies and coalitions where we understand and engage in the broader movement ecosystem.

We cannot be everything for everyone. We are clear about who we are, our approach to the work, and our strengths.

Our coalition efforts emphasize the importance of solidarity among different communities, understanding that our struggles are interconnected and that we are stronger together.

Michigan United is dedicated to dismantling white supremacy and patriarchy, transforming lives through tangible victories and leadership development. We believe in the power of a united community driven by a shared vision and strategic action, capable of making significant impacts at local, state, and national levels. Our focus on organizing communities, training leaders, and tackling systemic barriers is crucial in shaping Michigan's future.

Our commitment to a movement that reflects our base is at the core of our work, guiding us as we organize and mobilize communities, build collective power, and seek just outcomes. We are steadfast in these principles, aiming to create a Michigan where government and economy are inclusive, accountable, and equitable.

Michigan United's approach is grounded in practicality, driven by our values, and focused on building a state where dignity, equity, and justice are realities, not just aspirations. Through strong relationship-building, continuous leadership development, and strategic collective action, we pave the way for the radical, systemic changes our communities need and deserve.


we can make change