Document Type


Publication Date



Using historical and case study methods, this paper analyzes how the organizing staff of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) went from 10% organizers of color in 1970s and 1980s to 64% organizers of color in 2003. Keys to this transformation included experimenting with different organizing models, job descriptions, and recruitment methods; aging and lifestyle changes of senior management; developing a "critical mass" of organizers of color; and an internally organized Caucus of Color. Many of the steps ACORN took to diversify support findings from the business literature on diversity management. With the racial composition of staff now congruent with its membership, ACORN has more than doubled in size, and its organizing seems stronger today than ever before.


This article was originally published in Administration in Social Work. Copyright © 2007 The Haworth Press.

Included in

Social Work Commons