It all started with two Jesuits in Oakland.
Inspired by their faith, along with a deep commitment to social justice, Fathers John Baumann and Jerry Helfrich started an organization called PICO in Northern California that adopted a neighborhood organizing focus. After a few years, their model morphed from neighborhood to faith-based organizing, working with congregations. PICO and its affiliates operate within a congregation-based model of organizing.
In 1985, OCCCO became an affiliate of PICO. Before that, OCCCO was the Santa Ana Neighborhood Organization (SANO). Santa Ana is the oldest city in Orange County. It is also the center, both geographically and politically—county offices are in Santa Ana. OCCCO’s roots, then, are firmly planted in the oldest city at the center of Orange County. For a long, long time OCCCO has been a voice for justice at the heart of the expansion and development of Orange County.
Our first major organizational win was in the late-80s. We worked with the city and local leaders to create the Delhi Community Center. In 2001 Delhi broke ground, constructing a new, state-of-the-art facility. In all the years before, between, and after this important victory we have organized for change in Orange County. We are now in seven cities and work with 22 different congregations representing 48,000 families.