1975 – First Conferences

1976 National Conference

“For years we neighborhood women have been working to improve our communities. We have done it unrecognized, often unthanked, and almost always without the help we have needed to be truly effective… The National Congress Of Neighborhood Women wants to change that. COME TO OUR NATIONAL CONFERENCE AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!”

Flyer NCNW National Conference, Neighborhood Women a Call for Action, 1976 Continue reading

1978 – Leadership Support Process

‘The education is that we had to change the nature of how women learned and make it communal and familial. We set up a community-based college because otherwise our education systems were draining all the best leaders away from the community, making them not appreciate their community and families. Then we created leadership support and women had to learn how to work with each other and support each other and not be competing with each other. They also had to learn how to do that. We established methods, tools and basic agreements on how women could work effectively to build and operate organizations. We saw that women leaders usually stayed in one place and they couldn’t delegate. They were leaders doing all the work and not learning really how to build real organizations, and learning to move within their communities.

Jan Peterson, NW Founder

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1980s – Institute of Women Community Development


‘As grassroots women and professional women from outside the neighborhood find each other and commit to the support of grassroots neighborhoods, partnerships emerge. They have a shared perspective about the connection between global and local issues. They identify with the seed, with the base, with the beginnings of social creations.’

Marie Cirillo, NW Board
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1982 – Neighborhood Women Living and Learning Centers

‘After thirty years in separate communities, we are ready to institutionalize the gains and insights of our local places. We’ve shared leadership support training and methodologies, annual institutes on community development and peer-to-peer exchanges. We have applied these learning to our community work. Our works are making an impact, our works have attracted partners. Our works, our style and our operating principles are being shared with larger numbers of local people. We are opening our doors to visitors, insisting that to learn from us requires submersing oneself in the community. Continue reading

1985 – GROOTS


As grassroots women we learn from one another in solidarity. Let all policymakers recognize for once and forever that our concerns are part of increasingly larger agendas- so that our vision will positively impact the effects of development on the lives of everyone.’

GROOTS International Network News, Vol. 1 Issue 1, June 1992
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1995 – Beijing Conference and Huairou Commission


‘The founding members and leaders of the Huairou Commission (HC) came out of the global women’s movement, working relentlessly to advance women’s meaningful participation in UN conferences and other global processes.  Among them we find members of Neighborhood Women and GROOTS. Grassroots women’s groups were largely absent from these global processes  for years.  A common concern was growing among women committed to advancing grassroots women in development Continue reading