Putting people first for decades


The vision of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement was born, rather humbly, in the rectory of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waterloo. Iowa CCI was conceived by a handful of clergy who believed that ordinary people, when given the chance, can be a powerful force for justice.

Today that spirit of justice marches on through the work of thousands of Iowa CCI members like you, across the state, who continue to tackle tough issues and get things done.

The 1970s – Localized Action

CCI in 1977 We got our start in Waterloo in 1975. We quickly grew to include Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City. We began to build our people power by showing what was possible largely through organizing around local and neighborhood issues – we put people first on issues of abandoned housing, use of city funds and slum landlords.

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The 1980s – Rural and Urban United

Iowa CCI in the 80's Becoming truly statewide, our organizing branched out to include farmers and rural residents in addition to Iowa’s metropolitan cities. We began looking for organizing issues that cut across the state and focused on larger targets. We put people first on issues of high utility rates and farm foreclosures.

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The 1990s – Here to Stay

Iowa CCI in teh 90's We made two of the “best decisions we’ve ever made” – we became a dues-paying membership organization and we bought our own office building. Both moves signaled that Iowa CCI will be putting people first in Iowa for the long haul. We helped urban residents reclaim their neighborhoods from drug dealers and rural residents fight corporate-backed factory farms.

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The 2000s – Winning National Accolades

CCI in the 2000's We began to bring people together around a common vision – still about issues that hit home, but we began articulating a broad economic, environmental and political justice vision for the state. We reached out to immigrants in our community; we took on predatory mortgage lenders; and we put our work squarely on the national level by hosting the Heartland Presidential Forum in 2007.

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