Faith In Action (PICO National Network)

This is a logo for PICO National Network. (link)



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $21,170,820
Expenses: $16,391,482
Assets: $15,750,249

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Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network) is a national network of left-leaning faith-based community organizations in the United States. The organization is headquartered in Oakland, California, with additional offices in San Diego and Washington, D.C.

It claims to be the largest organization of its kind in America. Its focus on left-leaning environmental, health care, policing, and other policy and cultural priorities are viewed through a racial lens. 1

Faith in Action was founded in 1972 as PICO National Network. It changed its name in 2018. 2


Faith in Action has gone through several name changes since its founding by Catholic priest John Baumann. It was originally called the Oakland Training Institute and was renamed the Pacific Institute for Community Organizing (PICO). From 2004 to 2018 it was known as PICO National Network. 3

Baumann has said he founded the Oakland Training Institute in light of cultural changes across the United States and within the Catholic Church which took place when he was a seminarian in the 1960s. Early in his religious education, he was tutored by left-wing activist Saul Alinksy and people involved with Alinsky’s community organizing structure and philosophy. Baumann used what he learned to found the Institute. 4

PICO’s influence has been noticed at a high level throughout much of its history. For example, it was highlighted by the Clinton White House in 1997. 5


Since its founding, Faith in Action has received significant support from left-leaning foundations. Examples include:

These and other donations totaled over $20 million for Faith in Action in 2016 (known as PICO at the time). The rest of the organization’s $21.2 million budget came from revenues earned for its programming. 13

Over $13 million of Faith in Action’s $16.4 million in expenses in 2016 came from its training, grants, and staff involvement in its chapters and other groups across the nation and internationally.

Democracy Alliance

Democracy Alliance is a collective of wealthy left-progressive donors that meet at semi-annual conferences for the purpose of providing a list of recommended recipients to major donors. Faith in Action is on Democracy Alliance’s list because it motivates political involvement among the middle class religious community. 14


Faith in Action’s primary mission is to create social and legal changes in areas where it believes African-Americans have been disadvantaged by racism, such as in health care, gun violence, and incarceration. Its core belief is that “systemic racism” is holding minority Americans back. 15

Most of its work is centered on training and organizing local individuals and groups to take action in their communities. Examples of its initiatives include:

  • LA RED, which urges local governments to not work with federal immigration officials to enforce laws against illegal immigrants. 16
  • Flipping the Formula, which engages in voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts. It organizes these efforts through volunteers associated with Faith in Action. 17
  • The group is part of Field Team 6, a coalition of lobbying and state election advocacy organizations working towards registering more Democrat voters within key swing states and counties before the 2022 Midterm Elections. 18
  • Faith in Action’s Ohio chapter got 700,000 signatures to put a prison reform amendment before Ohio voters in 2018. The amendment aimed to release non-violent drug offenders and change drug possessions to be misdemeanors instead of felonies. 19 It also promoted rehabilitation programs for inmates, early release for some inmates, and reallocation of projected prison savings to drug treatment programs. The initiative was defeated by voters almost two-to-one. 20
  • The Faith in Action Fund is Faith in Action’s political action fund. Its primary focuses are on getting out the vote, raising awareness of voting rights and opportunities in minority communities, and organizing local activists to engage with local and municipal leaders. 21
  • Faith in Action’s international organizing takes place in Rwanda, Haiti, and El Salvador. 22


Father John Baumann was Faith in Action’s founding Executive Director. As of 2016, Baumann was on Faith in Action’s Board of Directors. 23

Baumann’s successor was Scott Reed, who served in the same role for 40 years until 2018. Shortly before he left PICO, Reed told Nonprofit Quarterly that the group began focusing more on race in the decade prior to his departure. 24

Reverend Alvin Herring took over as Faith in Action’s Executive Director in 2018. He was previously director of race-based organizing and activism departments at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and at PICO. 25

Rich Wood was the most highly compensated member of the Faith in Action board in 2016. 26 A professor of sociology, he authored a 2002 book based upon years of study of how PICO and the Center for Third World Organizing conducted their activism. 27


  1. Faith in Action, About Us, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  2. Ron, “PICO/Faith in Action International changes,” October 17, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2019.
  3. Faith in Action, Frequently Asked Questions, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  4. Holy Names University, “Father John Baumann, SJ, Discusses PICO and community organizing for Passionate Leaders in Social Entrepreneurship speaker series,” October 31, 2014. Accessed November 5, 2019.
  5. Clinton White House archives, Initiatives, One America Pacific Institute for Community Organizing, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  6. Nathan Cummings Foundation, PICO National Network, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  7. Open Society Foundations, What We Do, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  8. Kevin Jones, “Leaked Documents, Soros Foundations aimed to exploit 2015 US papal visit, influence 2016 elections,” September 1, 2016. Accessed November 5, 2019.
  9. W.K. Kellogg Foundation, PICO National Network general support for 2015-2017 grant, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  10. Open Philanthropy, PICO National Network – Live Free Campaign, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  11. Marguerite Casey Foundation, PICO National Network, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  12. Press release, “Ten communities most impacted by violence receive grant from through the PICO Live Free campaign,” June 22, 2017. Accessed November 5, 2019.
  13. ProPublica, Faith in Action Network 2016 990, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  14. “Organizations Archive.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed January 25, 2021.
  15. Faith in Action, Our Work, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  16. Faith in Action, LA RED, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  17. Faith in Action, Flipping the Formula, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  18. “Mission.” FieldTeam6. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  19. Faith in Action, “Ohio organizing collaborative collected over 700,000 signatures to put sentencing reform on the 2018 ballot,” Accessed November 5, 2019.
  20. The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, “Ballot insights: Neighborhood safety, drug treatment and rehabilitation amendment initiative,” Accessed November 5, 2019.
  21. Faith in Action, Faith in Action Fund, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  22. Faith in Action, Faith in Action International, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  23. ProPublica, Faith in Action 2016 990, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  24. Steve Dugg, “National network leader looks back on 40 years of community organizing,” May 2, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2019.
  25. Faith in Action, Reverend Alvin Herring, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  26. ProPublica, Faith in Action 2016 990, Accessed November 5, 2019.
  27. Richard Wood, “Religion, Race, And Democratic Organizing in America,” 2002. Accessed November 5, 2019.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Tim Lilienthal
    Northeast Regional Director
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1973

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $21,170,820 $16,391,482 $15,750,249 $1,001,911 N $20,123,158 $962,068 $85,594 $769,527 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $14,302,162 $13,177,806 $10,750,491 $878,828 N $13,263,538 $871,058 $167,566 $645,319 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $11,615,026 $12,852,554 $9,386,733 $518,133 N $10,613,620 $929,862 $71,044 $391,126 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $8,242,723 $13,880,707 $10,464,836 $565,498 N $7,374,557 $836,426 $31,740 $308,794 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $16,611,180 $11,604,460 $15,921,720 $747,577 N $15,801,160 $756,875 $53,145 $296,552 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $8,854,297 $8,844,971 $10,290,562 $344,558 N $7,948,335 $778,423 $60,039 $269,218 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $8,357,943 $7,816,872 $10,481,627 $468,545 N $7,621,088 $685,787 $51,068 $308,725 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Faith In Action (PICO National Network)

    OAKLAND, CA 94610-1316