Geoge Goehl, Director
At the age of 21, George Goehl walked into a soup kitchen to eat. Over time, he became an employee of the kitchen – first washing dishes and eventually helping run the place. Three years into his time there, he was struck by the fact that the people in line for food were the same people he had met when he first arrived. Recognizing that he had to shift his focus to the root causes of poverty, George began organizing.
Today, George is the Director of People’s Action. In 2016, George helped co-found People’s Action, an organization formed through the merger of five national organizations into one of the largest organizations of poor and working class people in the United States. People’s Action has operations in 30 states, including over 500 professional organizers who engage well over a million people from the smallest rural communities to the largest urban centers in America.
He has led successful campaigns on housing, banking, and immigration. Before Occupy Wall Street was launched, it was George and National People’s Action who moved thousands into the streets for financial reform and relief for everyday people bearing the brunt of the financial crisis. This work played a critical role in the passage of Dodd-Frank Financial Reform and a $26 billion mortgage relief settlement for communities and homeowners.
George and People’s Action are building a working people’s candidate pipeline, recruiting, developing, and supporting hundreds of everyday people to run for political office. Originally from Southern Indiana, George is also one of few leaders nationally building a rural and small-town organizing strategy, launching new organizing in struggling areas of the country often overlooked by the progressive community.
George is often cited as one of the leaders to update and transform the field of community organizing, to increase relevance to emerging social movements, focus on shaping narrative and worldview, building electoral power in states, and win structural change that shifts the balance of power to working class families.