The Gulf Coast Leadership Council (GCLC) is a 501 (c)(3) organization founded by key religious and civic leaders in Houston as a vehicle to train leadership from diverse faith and community institutions to go beyond providing services alone and to develop the capacity to act effectively in the public arena.
For 30 years, GCLC (formerly known as the Houston Interfaith Sponsoring Committee - HISC) has established a track record of successfully training and developing leaders that, with sister organization TMO, can organize around issues that affect families and communities in Houston. In the early 1980's HISC-trained leaders brought large-scale investment in public infrastructure, obtaining railroad overpasses for major East-Side streets, acquiring major drainage improvements along bayous in Southeast Houston and winning the first flood-related regulations on developments in Houston's history. During the 1980's and early 1990's, HISC trained leaders set a national precedent by creating community-oriented policing in several Houston neighborhoods, constructed homes in Northeast Houston for low-income families and won a $40 million reduction in electricity rates. HISC trained leaders also worked to start Harris County's school-based clinics program and the city of Houston's after-school achievement program.
GCLC's mission is to develop leaders in institutions who act on their faith and democratic values in the public sphere. GCLC is a member of the Texas Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a network of community-based organizations in 12 Texas cities that work together on statewide issues. GCLC was formed to give a voice to people who are usually not included in the major decisions affecting their lives. The approach of GCLC, however, is not to advocate on behalf of citizens, but to train people to advocate for themselves.
What We Do:
GCLC accomplishes this through institutional organizing:
- Developing leadership teams in religious institutions, who are trained to identify new leaders and surface issues for potential action;
- House-meeting campaigns, to develop relationships, identify issues and develop a constituency of people willing to do the work necessary to take public action;
- Research Actions, to develop, among a broad group of leaders, the knowledge and expertise around an issue to make action effective and meaningful;
- Evaluation, assessing what leaders have learned from the experience to inform future organizing.