Direct Action and Research Training Center

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The Direct Action and Research Training Center (DART) provides training and consultation for its 20 affiliated congregation-based community organizations. Founded in 1982, DART is headquartered in Miami, Florida. As of 2013, DART has 20 affiliated organizations in seven states. Rev. John Aeschbury is the executive director.[1] DART is the fourth largest congregation-based community organizing network in the United States, after the Industrial Areas Foundation, Gamaliel Foundation, and PICO National Network.[2]


In 1977 the United Church of Christ’s Homeland Ministries Board hired John Calkins to organize a senior citizens organization in Miami. Concerned Seniors of Dade helped organize African American congregations in Miami following a three-day riot in 1980. The DART Center was incorporated in 1982 to build a statewide network of congregation-based organizations throughout Florida, and Calkins was hired as executive director. In the 1990s DART was invited to help build organizations in Ohio and Kentucky. Between 2001 and 2013, DART added organizations in Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, and Virginia.[3]


DART has a ten-person board of directors, and five professional national staff.[4]

Current program[edit]

DART affiliates typically have a broad agenda of issues, including public education improvement, crime and drug reform, healthcare provisions, affordable housing, economic opportunity, accessible public transportation, and youth and elderly services.[5]


DART holds a five-day national leaders workshops once a year for local leaders, and an annual three-day national clergy conference. The DART Organizers Institute, established in 2001, is an annual four-month training program for organizers beginning each July. Since 1982 DART has trained over 10,000 community leaders and 150 professional organizers.[6]


DART has twenty affiliated congregation-based community organizations spread throughout Florida, Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina and Virginia. DART and affiliates employ some 35 professional organizers.[7]

DART affiliates with web pags are listed below.


  1. ^ "Power to the People: Thirty-five years of Community Organizing". David Walls. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  2. ^ Heidi J. Swarts, Organizing Urban America: Secular and Faith-based Progressive Movements (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), p. 236, note 8.
  3. ^ "History". DART Center website. DART Center. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  4. ^ "Staff and Board". DART Center website. DART Center. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  5. ^ "Accomplishments". DART Center website. DART Center. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  6. ^ "Deadlines, Workshops, Conferences". DART Center website. DART Center. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  7. ^ "DART Affiliates". DART Center website. DART Center. 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 

External links[edit]