The Gamaliel Foundation was originally founded in 1968 by left-wing activist Saul Alinsky, and re-oriented into a community organizing operation during the 1980s under the guidance of executive director Greg Galluzzo.
The group has grown to become a network of 60 independently funded affiliate organizations in 18 states, with international affiliates in Great Britain and South Africa. Gamaliel Foundation, through its affiliate organizations, seeks to build church-based coalitions capable of wielding power on behalf of the poor.
Gamaliel Foundation employs these community-based affiliate organizations in order to be “invisible” so that their liberal issue-based campaigns “appear to well up and erupt from below.” The group has used its efforts to push for government-controlled healthcare, amnesty for illegal immigrants  and a number of other liberal issues.
The group has been chastised as “cultish” and allegedly uses lying and deceptive strategies to pursue its goals while hiding its ideological bent. Gamaliel has also been criticized for using radical campaign activist strategies and for supporting issues that are at odds with religious doctrine.
The Gamaliel Foundation was originally founded in 1968 by famous left-wing agitator Saul Alinsky to assist African-American home buyers in the Chicago’s West Side. In 1986, the group was “reoriented” by newly hired executive director Gregory Galluzzo “to focus on community organizing,” seeking to “‘mentor organizers’ who will establish and maintain so-called community organizations in low-income neighborhoods.” This mentorship included “training and developing leaders in low-income communities,” Galluzzo is also “the creator of the United Neighborhood Organization,” a Chicago-based organizing group focusing on Hispanic interests.
Currently the group has grown to become “a network of 60 affiliate organizations in 18 states, with international affiliates in Great Britain and South Africa” and touts that “people of color are about 40 percent of organizers, lead organizers, and directors across the network.”
Gamaliel functions as a “national community-organizing network” that seeks “to blend grassroots organizing with research and policy advocacy.”
Through their community organizing network, the Gamaliel Foundation “provides leadership training for ‘agitators,'” “helps build [left-of-center] community organizations,”and “drives local and national social justice campaigns.”
Gamaliel conducts its operations through “five regional directors covering the Eastern, Mideastern, Midwestern, Southern, and Western United States.”
Organizations that are affiliated with Gamaliel Foundation “are incorporated separately, raise their own funds, and employ their own organizers.” For example, the “Gamaliel of Metro Chicago” is a “regional member of the Gamaliel Network” according to its website. The organization has its own dedicated staff, and seeks to build “networks of “core teams” and alliances with other community groups to build an organization capable of responding to issues.”
Gamaliel Foundation sometimes makes direct grants to its various affiliates and also “runs training programs so that communities can develop organizations that eventually will become Gamaliel affiliates.”
Gamaliel Foundation’s goal is to build church-based coalitions capable of wielding power on behalf of the poor. Once an affiliate is established, Gamaliel organizers and local clergy work to convince additional churches and community groups to join it. As the affiliate’s numbers grow, they meet with political and business leaders, pressuring them to support the affiliate’s goals.
Gamaliel’s critics argue, “Helping the poor is part of the mission of inner-city churches. But the mission of the Gamaliel Foundation is to advance a far-left political agenda.” Projects such as the “100 Ready Workers” Campaign by affiliates like “The South Suburban Action Conference (SSAC) and Gamaliel of Metro Chicago (GMC)” work to “organizing citizens of the metropolitan Chicago area to be prepared to fight” for employment.
Many of the “community organizations” Gamaliel Foundation helps to create become powerful special interests that seek to increase local and state spending for health, transportation and welfare entitlements.
These “Congregation-based community organizations… are often invisible even at the local level.” Political science experts have noted, that leaders of groups like Gamaliel “have intentionally and strategically organized these movements” to be “invisible” in order to “appear to well up and erupt from below.” As one observer explained, “a newspaper might report on a demonstration led by a local minister or priest, for example, without noticing that the clergyman in question is part of the Gamaliel network.”
As part of their plan to remain invisible, “Gamaliel Foundation’s affiliates carefully select non-threatening names that form biblical acronyms.”
For example in Syracuse the group Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS), was billed as a religious group energizing a “drive for change” in an article entitled “ACTS teaches ‘we’re all in this together.’” However, from 2006 to 2010, Gamaliel organizer Andres Kwon increased the size of ACTS from seven churches to 45. According to reports this ACTS organization’s efforts had tangible results including “a ‘public action meeting’ at Henninger High School held two days before last November’s election. More than 1,000 participants showed up, along with roughly 40 public officials and candidates for public office.” Under the leadership of Gamaliel organizer Kwon ACTS has also “identified many city children who lacked health care… tried to stop illegal dumping on the city’s near West Side… brought church leaders together to focus on “holy ground,” or streets plagued by violence.”
In another example, the Niagara Gazette wrote an article about how the group, Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH) held a public meeting calling for among other things an extension of a $5 billion tax.
Other examples of these names include Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community (ISAAC) in Kalamazoo, Michigan; the now-defunct Joint Religious Organizing Network for Action and Hope (JONAH) in Battle Creek, Michigan; Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES) in Detroit; and Justice Organization Sharing Hope and United for Action (JOSHUA) in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
In 2015, Gamaliel made grants of just under $63,900 to its various affiliates for leadership training and consulting, along with general support. Included in the $63,900, Gamaliel gave $10,000 to Metropolitan Congregations United for St. Louis in St. Louis, Mo., $13,500 to North Bay Organizing Project in Graton, CA. and $32,400 was given to Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, N.Y.
Gamaliel Foundation uses their community organizing assets to “engage in strategic statewide and national campaigns” seeking to implement their policy agenda, which is currently focused on four issue areas:
- Civil Rights of Immigrants: Gamaliel Foundation calls for “elected leaders to enact comprehensive immigration reform” that “provide[s] a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people currently within our borders” and to “Provide access to healthcare, social services and due process, regardless of legal status.”
- Transportation Equity: Gamaliel Foundation asserts that “inequities in transportation create[s] barriers,” Gamaliel Foundation has created a Transportation Equity Network (TEN) consisting of more than 350 community organizations in 41 states, which seeks “increased funding” and focuses on the needs of the poor and “people of color.” In fact, TEN’s current platform wants projects to “be performed by the homeless, ex-offenders, and minority populations.”
- Jobs and Economic Development: Gamaliel Foundation and its Transportation Equity Network created the JOBS NOW campaign, which aims to create, federal, state and local government-funded hiring quotas that mandate the provision of jobs to “low-income people, minorities, women, and ex-offenders through workforce development agreements and policies.”
- Education: Gamaliel Foundation partners with groups such as the American Federation of Teachers seeking to implement education campaigns that “work broadly to end racial inequities” in education systems and that seek to “leverage greater resources for community schools and early-childhood education.” Gamaliel pushes hard pushing hard for an “end to expulsion and suspension” because “these policies disproportionately affect young men of color and children with disabilities,” instead the group advocates for “peace hubs” to deliver “wraparound services to youth. In Illinois, a Gamaliel affiliate pushed for “need-based school funding.”
Past Gamaliel Foundation issue areas have focused on government-controlled healthcare provision and increases in housing subsidies.
United Action in Connecticut persuaded the state government to increase the Medicaid budget by $460 million. 
The Metropolitan Congregations United for St. Louis (Missouri) convinced the county government to “require that 15% of the work hours on any public works project be reserved for women, the poor, and minorities.” 
In 2006, a Wisconsin Gamaliel Foundation affiliate WISDOM, made calls for “the Wisconsin department of transportation to give driver’s licenses to 150 ‘undocumented people’ before a new, stricter state ID law took effect.” 
ISAIAH won ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul that “effectively separate the city functions from federal immigration enforcement and prohibit city officials, including police officers, from inquiring about a person’s immigration status unless required by state or Federal law.” 
The Gamaliel foundation has been accused of “specializ[ing] in ideological stealth.” Gamaliel Foundation “deliberately downplay[s] the far-Left ideology that stands behind their carefully targeted campaigns.”  As one observer put it, Gamaliel Foundation “fuse[s] their Left-extremist political beliefs with a smooth, non-ideological surface of down-to-earth pragmatism.” 
Author Heidi Swarts explains, in order to downplay negative sentiments that “blue-collar members might harbor toward its elite, liberal leaders… Gamaliel’s main “ideological tactic,” is to present its organizers as the opposite of radical, elite, or ideological.” As evidence of this Swarts says, “they (Gamaliel’s organizers) deliberately refrain from using leftist jargon like ‘racism,’ ‘sexism,’ ‘classism,’ ‘homophobia,’ ‘oppression,’ or ‘multiple oppressions’ in front of ordinary members — even though, amongst themselves, Gamaliel’s organizers toss around this sort of lingo with abandon.”
Other critics have echoed these accusations of intentional deception, saying, “Gamaliel organizers make a point of presenting their ideas as practical, pragmatic, and down-to-earth. When no one else is listening, Gamaliel organizers may rail at ‘racism,’ ‘sexism,’ and ‘oppressive corporate systems,’ but when speaking to their blue-collar followers, they describe their plans as ‘common sense solutions for working families.’”
Criticism from the Catholic Church
At Odds With Church Doctrine
High-ranking church leaders and religious organization have spoken out against Gamaliel Foundation.
In March 2010, David Ricken, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Green Bay, wrote a letter stating, “it is clear to me that principles of the Gamaliel Foundation are inconsistent with the tenets of our Catholic Social Teaching. It is not fitting for a Catholic entity to enter into a formal association with another organization when there is such a conflict of principles.” Ricken’s letter was prompted by Gamaliel Foundation efforts to prop up a healthcare coalition that “supported abortion rights in the health care bill before Congress.”
Advocacy of Immoral Means
According to an account by a former Gamaliel Foundation staffer, who claimed to have been mentored by Gamaliel leader Greg Galluzo, “He [Galluzo] felt that organizers should fight fire with fire” and would “give a cultish advanced training seminar titled ‘Walking the Edge of Immorality’ where he repeatedly stated ‘the ends justifies the means’ and nonchalantly told us that to have an impact on society we had to be willing to ‘lie, cheat, and steal for the greater good.’”
This former staffer elaborated, “I have never seen such a strange and warped culture anywhere”, where “staff were pitted against each other.”  Ultimately, the former staffer said, “I left Gamaliel disillusioned and disgusted by what seemed to me to be pure evil. How could a faith-based organization operate under such a skewed, cynical view of the world?”
Associations with President Barack Obama
The Developing Communities Project, a Gamaliel Foundation-affiliated organization, hired future President Barack Obama as lead organizer in 1985, where he was trained “to raise money for his community organization and how to design community strategies” by Gamaliel Foundation leadership. “Obama learned many of his community organizing skills from the Gamaliel Foundation.” Most notably, “He learned how to disguise his intense political convictions by portraying them as practical problem-solving motivated by religious faith.”
When Obama “entered electoral politics, he was also able to play ‘good cop’ to Gamaliel Foundation’s ‘bad cop,’” applying “external pressure to ‘organize’ his legislative colleagues to come around to his point of view.”  Critics noted that although “it is almost unheard of for a U.S. Senator to attend a public meeting of a community organization, but [then-] Senator Obama attended a Gamaliel Foundation affiliate public meeting in Chicago.”
In 2009, a surreptitiously recorded video was released of a Gamaliel Foundation meeting from 2008 with attendees appearing to pray to an idolized President-elect Obama. The Gamaliel Foundation group could be heard appearing to appeal to Obama with cries of “hear our cry Obama” and “deliver us Obama.” It is unclear exactly what the participants were saying.
Finances & Funding
Though the group claims to have doubled in size in the last decade  a review of Gamaliel’s finances shows that its revenues have only grown by 21% and expenditures by less than 12% since 2000. However during that time the group’s net assets have doubled in value. 
Since 2010, The Gamaliel Foundation has raised a total of $12,467,907.
Gamaliel Foundation has been supported by the Democracy Alliance coalition of liberal donors. Moreover, “Gamaliel’s funding comes from a number of left-leaning, foundation grant makers.” Between 2000 and 2010, Gamaliel “received $3.4 million from the Ford Foundation, over $1.5 million from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, $525,000 from the Marguerite Casey Foundation, about $195,000 from George Soros’s Open Society Institute, $186,000 from the Tides Foundation, and $150,000 from the Bauman Family Foundation.”
Additionally, Gamaliel Foundation’s website indicates that they have received funding from the following left-leaning foundations, labor unions and organizations:
Council of Minority Transportation Officials
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
Schott Foundation for Public Education
Wallace Genetic Foundation
Ana Garcia-Ashley has been the Executive Director of the Gamaliel Foundation since 2011.  Ana “joined Gamaliel in 1992 as the lead organizer of MICAH in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” During her time in Wisconsin “she led one of the most successful campaigns in Gamaliel Foundation’s history,” a $500 million bank commitment to affordable housing.”
Gregory Galluzzo was hired as the executive director of the Gamaliel Foundation in 1986. During his tenure he “reoriented” the organization “to focus on community organizing,” 
Gamaliel founder Saul Alinsky was an American community organizer who is often noted for his 1971 book, Rules for Radicals. 
In 2008, Gamaliel operated with approximately 20 staff, and is further “supplemented by interns and consultants.”
As of 2015, Gamaliel Foundation’s Board of Directors included: 
Ana Garcia Ashley, Executive Director
Jay Schmitt, Chief Operating Officer
Steven Jay Blutza, Treasurer
John Welch, Board Chair
Consuelo Miller, Board Vice-Chair
Ed Grossman, Board Secretary
Fr. Rudolph T. Juarez
Larry W. Dorsch
Victoria Jimenez Morales
Additionally, the National Clergy Caucus, the African American Leadership Commission, and the International Leadership Assembly help to advise the board and staff of the Gamaliel Foundation.