About Building One America

Building One America was launched in September 2009 at a national gathering in Washington, DC of 700 local leaders from several Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West states who came together to discuss the common challenges confronting older, developed towns in their regions and states as well as to create a national network for shared organizing, training and leadership development.

Building One America advances its agenda through education, organizing and mobilization of diverse constituencies from congregations, labor unions, municipalities, school districts and civic and civil rights organizations in metropolitan regions – with an emphasis on economically stressed, increasingly diverse and politically competitive older suburbs and small towns. Building One America promotes the goals of social inclusion, racial justice, sustainability and economic opportunity by addressing regional housing policy, land use, municipal and educational fiscal structures, major infrastructure investments and jobs. Click here to read Building One America's policy document: Strategies and Policies for Defending and Expanding the Middle Class in Metropolitan America presented at the White House for the President's Domestic Policy Council and Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in March 2012.  

Since holding its first national summit in Washington, D.C. in 2009, Building One America has engaged the Obama Administration, members of Congress and state legislators from both parties to address housing, land use, education, and water and transportation infrastructure to further the goals of inclusion, sustainability and jobs.

Following the first-ever White House forum on diverse suburbs and inclusive regions in 2011, Building One America partnered with the White House to hold nine regional roundtable meetings in Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Arizona, involving more than 500 elected and civic leaders from diverse middle class suburbs and school districts. These discussions surfaced critical but common problems facing increasingly diverse middle class communities around public schools, local government, water infrastructure, housing and transportation.

In 2013 and 2015 Building One America held multiple local actions and two more National Summits in Washington, DC to build bipartisan support among Members of Congress and the Administration - and working with national labor organizations - around advancing a strong and fair Transportation Bill, poverty deconcentration through Section 8 Housing Reform, the State Revolving Fund for water infrastructure and jobs, and support for Inclusive Middle Class Schools.

In 2016, Building One America is working to leverage the renewed focus on economic inequality and racial injustice to bring attention to the enduring problem of racial segregation and the spatial dimensions of rising inequality in income, wealth and power.  To do this it has intensified its focus on the unique role of the labor movement and its historic relationship to civil rights and to the civil rights movement.

See BOA Labor/Civil Rights Document  

Building One America and its members have trained hundreds of leaders in the techniques and skills of community organizing and won state level and regional breakthroughs on policy issues including the fair housing act in New Jersey, fair school funding in Pennsylvania, and inclusionary housing and regional mobility in Maryland.

In 2017 Building One America was invited to form a partnership with the Institute for Metropolitan Opportunity and create the Summit for Civil Rights as both a conference and a movement to renew the critical alliances of labor, civil rights organizations, scholars and lawyers and local elected leaders.

In 2020, Building One America and the Summit for Civil Rights coalition was invited to provide a policy briefing for the Biden administration. See the first hundred days policy document here.