Official Website  
line decor
 About Us
line decor

Phase One (1965-1985)

The practice of organizing in local neighborhoods through the churches he pastored.

Robert Linthicum began ordained ministry as a Presbyterian minister by serving four churches: Berean Presbyterian in Milwaukee (1963-1965), First Presbyterian of Rockford, IL (1965-1969), Edgewater Presbyterian in Chicago (1969-1975) and Grosse Pointe Woods Presbyterian in Detroit (1975-1985). It was at Rockford First Church that he first learned about and began using in his ministry the strategy of community organizing. In each of these situations, Dr. Linthicum moved them into significant engagement in their neighborhoods, as well as carrying the full practice of ministry in those churches. Dr. Linthicum also moved them into significant engagement in their neighborhoods.

In Rockford, Illinois, it resulted in the formation of a people's community organization (WESCO) that brought about major reform in police practices and in educational reform for Rockford's African-American community. In Chicago, the Organization of the North East (ONE) was born, bringing in its wake a major economic reinvestment in the neighborhood and significant crime reduction; it was because of this work that Dr. Linthicum's church was selected by the National Council of Churches as one of America's most outstanding churches "having a meaningful ministry in a rapidly-changing society." In Detroit, the organization of People in Faith United (PIFU) brought together Dr. Linthicum's affluent congregation and Detroit's poorest African-American community that resulted in the construction of over a hundred homes upon which that community's poor made their down-payment through their "sweat equity," and a major contract with Chrysler Corporation that built a Dodge Truck factory that employed that community's residents at such a rate that the unemployment rate went from 67% to 7% in less than a year!

The result of effective organizing is politics practiced more justly, wealth more equitably distributed and a deeper relationship of the people with each other and with God.

Phase Two (1985-1999)

From local organizing to organizing throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In 1985, Dr. Linthicum was called to World Vision International (the largest private relief and development agency in the world) to head its international urban work. He introduced WVI to the strategy of community organizing, and 28 community organizations were birthed in the slums and squatter settlements of 21 cities in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mexico, the Philippines, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Dr. Linthicum and his colleague, Mr. Ken Luscombe, trained over 200 indigenous people to be part of the World Vision International community organizing team. Using the organizing strategies they learned, 500 women "untouchables" (Dalits) in one city in India convinced the state government to build 6,000 homes for them and to sell it to Dalit families for $30 a piece. In Nairobi, Kenya, the people organized to create over 50 community-run businesses that provided employment at good wages to cover 5,000 people. In Brazil, favella residents were successful in getting the national government to pass and implement legislation that protected the rights of children and stopped local government assassination of street-children. Such miracles occurred in city after city as the people organized to create their own destiny.

Dr. Linthicum left World Vision International in 1996 to accept the presidency of Partners in Urban Transformation; PIUT works with churches and people's organizations for effective engagement in public life. But his work with World Vision International and with many other American and Global South mission and development agencies continued. This included "on the ground" organizing in an ethnic-focused ministry to Hispanics, Koreans, Formosans and African-Americans in Los Angeles and in sharing in the building of a broad-based organization of nearly 100 churches, parishes and unions to address issues of workforce development, mortgage foreclosure, public schools, crime and safety and immigration - ONE LA-IAF. Dr. Linthicum retired from PIUT in 2009 and was named its President Emeritus.

Phase Three (1987-Present)-->

The teaching of community organizing principles and strategies to enable the empowerment of the poor.

That teaching includes three distinct efforts. The first effort was intensive training in academic settings (1987-2005). Dr. Linthicum was called in a part-time teaching capacity to Eastern University (Philadelphia, PA) in 1987 to teach in their Graduate School of Economics as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Community Organizing, and continued in this role until retirement in 2003. This graduate school is notable in that its mission is not to prepare people for the business world but to train exectives who are heading community and economic development agencies. Dr. Linthicum trained over 300 who now head community development and organizing actions around the world, and he stays in touch with scores of them. Besides his teaching at Eastern University and at other graduate schools in the U.S., Dr. Linthicum has also lectured at graduate schools in Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, India, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Thailand.

The second effort in Phase Three has been short-term training of both clergy and community workers in the fields of community organizing, economic development, mission strategizing and urban ministry. Over 19,000 people from over 90 cities in 21 countries have participated in more than 150 short-term urban consultations and workshops led by Dr. Linthicum. An additional 10,000 people have taken one of the six courses on DVD that he has taught.

The third effort in Phase Three is that of the creation and delivery of printed and visual resources. Dr. Linthicum has written 14 books, over a hundred professional and popular papers, and created 11 curricula (as well as the above-mentioned six DVD courses), all of which can be used by individuals or in larger learning communities. These resources continue to be distributed through viaShalom (see the How to Order link on the left).

Now that Dr. Linthicum is retired from active ministry, he is spending considerable time in writing books (see the Works in Progress link on the left), remains "hands-on" in organizing with the Industrial Areas Foundation in the Inland Empire region of southern California and occasionally preaches and lectures. Retirement has also afforded him opportunity for quality-time with his wife Marlene, his children and grandchildren.

line decor
 Web development: Tarch Enterprises © 2010 all rights reserved.
line decor