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Community Organizing and Development Through Nonprofits

A two-day Theological Commons conference Sept. 19 and 20

The Theological Commons at MTSO presents “Community Organizing and Development Through Nonprofits” to guide you through the basics of community development. You’ll hear enlightening anecdotes and glean valuable nuts-and-bolts advice from successful leaders of both faith-based and non-faith-based nonprofits.

Along with the practical knowledge it offers, this time spent with others who share your passion for nonprofit work provides a great opportunity to broaden your network of friends and colleagues.

Help us spread the news. Here’s a printable letter-size poster.

Conference topics:

  • Community development and organizing
  • Grant writing
  • Nonprofit tax law
  • Identifying needs: collaborating and building connections in community
  • Starting a nonprofit, from the basement to the streets
  • Asset-based community development

Tuition and CEUs

Tuition includes Saturday’s complimentary continental breakfast and lunch.

Tuition: $50
Tuition and 1 CEU: $75

Student rate: $10
Need-based scholarships are available. Email for more information.

Register online now.

Schedule of events

Friday, Sept. 19

7 p.m. Keynote
8:30 p.m. Coffeehouse/social time

Saturday, Sept. 20

9:30 a.m. Continental breakfast
10 a.m. Breakout sessions
11:30 a.m. Lunch and networking
1 p.m. Breakout sessions
2 p.m. Break
2:30 p.m. Closing keynote

Keynote speakers

Rev. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Ph.D., an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is the director of the Micah Institute and associate professor of systematic theology at New York Theological Seminary. With another of our keynote speakers, Alexia Salvatierra, he coauthored the recently published book Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World, rated five stars on Amazon. He also serves as assistant pastor of Evangelism at Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City. Rev. Heltzel holds a B.A. from Wheaton College, an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Boston University. These courses, combined with his childhood years in Mississippi, inform his work with a deep commitment to the power of words and music, to social justice and to a global movement of radical change and collective activism.

Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serves as a consultant for a variety of organizations, including World Vision USA/World Vision International/Women of Vision, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, the Christian Community Development Association the Womens’ Donor Network, Auburn Theological Seminary, Interfaith Worker Justice, People Invested in Communities Organizing (PICO) and Sojourners. She is an adjunct faculty member at the New York Theological Seminary and Biola University, and for 11 years she was the executive director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE). Salvatierra is coauthor of the book Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World.

Rev. Dr. Troy Jackson is director of the AMOS Project, a faith-based effort that organizes congregations to work for racial and economic justice in Cincinnati. Troy previously served as Pastor of University Christian Church in Cincinnati for 19 years. He is the coauthor of the forthcoming book Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith. Due out Sept. 23, the book can be ordered from Amazon. His book Becoming King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Making of a National Leader explores the critical role the grassroots Montgomery Movement played in the development of King. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Jackson earned his Ph.D. in United States history from the University of Kentucky. He is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and Sojourners.


All “Developing Community” events are held on the campus of Methodist Theological School in Ohio, 3081 Columbus Pike in Delaware, Ohio. Here is a Google map. From Columbus, it’s easily reached by traveling 10 miles north of I-270 on U.S Route 23. Parking is free.

Register online now.

Questions? Contact Kathy Dickson at or 740-362-3440.