CAUSE's mission is to build grassroots power to invoke social, economic and environmental justice for the people of California's Central Coast Region through policy research, leadership development, organizing, and advocacy. CAUSE defines the Central Coast Region as the Counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Moneterey and San Benito.
CAUSE's vision is that together we can create a global community where we all contribute to, and benefit from, a sustainable economy that is just, prosperous and environmentally healthy.
Established in 2001 as a sprout from the nation’s living wage movement, CAUSE has grown into an important regional intermediary for positive social change. The organization has made a mark by building grassroots power through an active base of hundreds of community leaders and working collaboratively with more than 280 allied organizations. That resulted in directly engaging more than 17,000 individuals in local, regional, state and national public policy campaigns.
This grassroots work has brought forth the adoption of five municipal living wage ordinances within the region and along with other initiatives to expand health coverage have yielded improved wages and benefits for more than 6,800 working families.
CAUSE has also succeeded in facilitating:
>> The adoption of smart growth and economic equity provisions in local city economic development policy.
>> Adopting of a local hire provision for county construction projects.
>> Several grassroots environmental justice campaigns to protect the region’s natural coastal resources and the environmental health of low and moderate-income residents.
Utilizing a 20-station predictive dialing system and paid and volunteer phone bankers and precinct workers, CAUSE significantly expanded its capacity to increase voter participation in communities with traditionally low voter participation through an intensive voter engagement program, during the spring of 2010. This outreach resulted in one-to-one conversations with more than 40,000 voters in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties around key state and local issues.
Since inception CAUSE has collaborated throughout the region, state and nation to bring about these important victories for the people of the California Central Coast:
-Adoption of living wage ordinances and policies in the County of Ventura, City of Ventura, City of Oxnard and City of Port Hueneme.
-Adoption of CAUSE’s proposed 2001 Ventura County supervisorial redistricting map, resulting in increased representation of working families county-wide.
-Creation of Ventura County free and low-cost health access program serving over 5,000 uninsured children.
-Wage increases, health coverage and union representation for 2,300 in-home support service workers under SEIU Local 998 (now Local 6434) through a grassroots community unionization campaign.
-Halting the development of BHP Billiton’s Liquefied Natural Gas terminal off the coast of Oxnard through a grassroots environmental justice campaign in 2007.
-Inclusion of big box superstore and good jobs provisions in the City of Ventura 2005 general plan, and a 2008 big box superstore ordinance.
-Annual regional Women’s Justice conferences reaching more than 2,000 low-wage immigrant women and their families.
-Leadership development and community organizing training for more than 2,200 grassroots leaders since 2007.
-Accelerated EPA to cleanup of the Halaco hazardous waste site in South Oxnard.
-Pulled together more than 1,100 grassroots leaders from around the state, representing more than 200 community organizations to host the 2010 California Shared Prosperity Candidates Forum, which provided a conversation with the candidates for State Controller and Superintendent for Public Instruction, and also included training for more than 500 leaders in electoral movement building and state budget reform.
-Had conversations with more than 40,000 new and occasional voters regarding the 2010 state budget crisis and tax and fiscal reform, utilizing more than 75 paid and volunteer phone bankers and precinct walkers, which resulted in the passage of statewide budget reform, Proposition 25 in Ventura County.
-In 2004 opened Centro Mujer, in the community of south Oxnard. This women and family organizing center has trained over 200 predominately low-income immigrant women leaders and serves as a hub for community organizing activity in the region.
-In 2010/11 led a citizen based regional redistricting organizing and advocacy campaign that resulted in the adoption of new state and congressional districts, significantly increasing the voting strength of working families and long under-represented people of color in the region.
Since 2002 CAUSE has incubated several important social justice organizations, including Ventura County Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) and Arts for Action, while also initiating the formation of the Social Justice Fund for Ventura County, and continuing to serve as the SJF’s institutional partner along with the Ventura County Community Foundation.