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Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development

 13252 Garden Grove Blvd., Suite 204
 Garden Grove, CA 92843
[P] (714) 621-0919 x 11
[F] (714) 621-0513
[email protected]
Shakeel Syed
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA OCCORD
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 43-2092827 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD)’s mission is to bring workers, families, and community partners together to organize and advocate for good jobs, strong communities, and an inclusive democracy in Orange County, California. We believe that residents should have a say in the decisions that affect the neighborhoods in which they live. We educate residents, provide leadership development, conduct public policy research and organize coalitions of faith-based, worker and community organizations.

Mission Statement

Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD)’s mission is to bring workers, families, and community partners together to organize and advocate for good jobs, strong communities, and an inclusive democracy in Orange County, California. We believe that residents should have a say in the decisions that affect the neighborhoods in which they live. We educate residents, provide leadership development, conduct public policy research and organize coalitions of faith-based, worker and community organizations.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2018
Projected Expenses $1,070,000.00
Projected Revenue $1,100,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Local Government Accountability
  • Citizenship & Immigrant Integration Program
  • Muslim Latino Collaborative
  • Community Engagement & Civic Participation

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD)’s mission is to bring workers, families, and community partners together to organize and advocate for good jobs, strong communities, and an inclusive democracy in Orange County, California. We believe that residents should have a say in the decisions that affect the neighborhoods in which they live. We educate residents, provide leadership development, conduct public policy research and organize coalitions of faith-based, worker and community organizations.

Background Statement

Founded as a community-labor alliance in 2005, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) combines community organizing, civic participation, strategic research, and advocacy to engage residents, workers, and stakeholders in local government decisions that impact economic opportunity, community health, and overall quality of life.
OCCORD promotes inclusive public decision-making in a region where a profound civic disconnection exists between our regions governing class and the increasingly diverse constituent base it seeks to represent. We concentrate our efforts in communities such as Anaheim and Santa Ana where working families and immigrant communities have not fully participated in government decision-making processes and long-standing community needs have gone unaddressed.

Impact Statement

Following is a snapshot of our 2017 work & accomplishments:

Our Naturalization Program helps over 2,000 Legal Permanent Residents obtain U.S. citizenship each year; we provide application assistance, legal review, and tutoring to help people overcome barriers of fear and expense, and we follow up with successful applicants to engage them in their communities.

Our Anaheim program organizes and trains new leaders in four underserved Anaheim neighborhoods, with approximately 50 active leaders and a constituent base of 2,000.

In our Santa Ana program, we build and lead coalitions between residents, nonprofit organizations, and labor to elevate community voices in public planning and governance. We particularly focus on development issues, and in 2017 helped co-found a Community Land Trust to preserve public lands for community uses.

Early in 2017, we founded the Muslim Latino Collaborative (MLC) in response to the racist and bigoted policy originating from the White House, and the growth in hate incidents and hostility towards Latino and Muslim communities in Orange County. The collaborative aims to support and unify these two communities by encouraging mutual learning, developing meaningful relationships, and promoting solidarity in action.


Needs Statement

You can support OCCORD's effort to empower working families and immigrant communities in Orange County by helping us raise the funds to fill the following needs:
  1. $6000 for Citizenship Classes. We offer 12 sessions of 6 weeks each, at a cost of $500 per class for coordination and teachers, to help applicants prepare for the citizenship test and interview. 
  2. $10,000 to purchase 10 laptops to strengthen our field work during Citizenship  Fairs..
  3. $15,000 for Citizenship Fair Costs. ($3000 per fair x 5 fairs). Funds are needed to support rental of space, tables, chairs and copiers; plus supplies, printing, and food for volunteers.
  4. $15,000 for Volunteer Recruitment and Appreciation. To recruit and properly thank volunteers, we need to develop a formal volunteer recruitment and engagement program. Costs include training for volunteers, staff time to coordinate the program and gifts of thanks to volunteers, such as t-shirts.
  5. $55,000 to hire an additional Community Organizer. In order to expand the scope and reach of our organization, we need an additional grassroots organizer to work in other cities in Orange County.

CEO Statement

OCCORD plays an important and unique role in Orange County.We conduct quantitative research to analyze the state of the economy and the political structure in various cities throughout the county. We use this research to inform the public and policy makers. We work with over fifty organizations throughout the county in six different coalitions in order to coordinate the work of these non-profits and grassroots organizations to better serve the low income communities of Orange County. We provide leadership development and education for community leaders throughout Orange County, but primarily in Anaheim and Santa Ana. We assist disenfranchised communities to make their voices heard by the elected officials who make decisions that impact their lives. We encourage and assist the large population of permanent legal residents in Orange County to become U.S. citizens and registered voters and, in so doing, become an active part of the country in which they live. As Executive Director, I am honored to lead an organization which combines policy analysis with grassroots education and involvement in order to make Orange County a more inclusive environment.
Shakeel Syed - Executive Director

Board Chair Statement

As the founding board member and chair of the OCCORD Board, I have seen the organization grow from a staff of one, the Executive Director, who worked out of a desk in our office, to a staff of eleven.  I remember recruiting the founding Executive Director and board members and talking to funders about the need for an organization in Orange County that would work in low income and immigrant neighborhoods to educate residents and get them involved in their communities and in the local government decisions that affect their lives.

I myself know what it is like to be an immigrant in a new country.  I came to the United States when I was six years old with my family from Nicaragua.  I have lived in Orange County since I was a teenager and have seen many changes, including the growth in Northern Orange County. 

When we started OCCORD, I was excited about the possibility of working on issues that I care about—poverty and responsible economic development, and saw the need for a grassroots community organization and policy advocate in Orange County.  But I was also nervous about where we would go and how we would get there.  But over the years, we grew our staff and recruited a board that lives and works in Orange County. 

Our board, even though busy with their own full-time jobs, is committed to working together and rises to the occasion whenever important issues come before it.  We engage in thoughtful and thorough discussion which is guided by our individual experiences and backgrounds.  For example, when we undertook the search for a new Executive Director, all board members were engaged in the process and we worked together to find the best person to lead the organization into the next phase of our work.  This change in the top leadership of OCCORD was one of the biggest challenges for our board and our organization.

OCCORD’s work affects not just the community and city as a whole but also on the individual level.  OCCORD’s community leaders have been very involved in the process to create city council districts in Anaheim because they saw that public resources were not being spent in the communities that needed them the most.  I have seen community members learn how to speak up at city council meetings or engage voters with backgrounds very different than their own.  I have seen the impact on their children who now have hope that their voice can make a difference.  By educating and training residents to get involved in their local neighborhood committees and in the public decision-making process, OCCORD teaches that community and personal involvement can make a difference for our cities and our country.

Ada F. Briceño, OCCORD Board Chair

Co-President, UNITE HERE Local 11

Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

We welcome online donations via OCCORD’s website, We also welcome donations by check— please make checks payable to OCCORD and mail to 13252 Garden Grove Blvd, Suite 204, Garden Grove, CA 92843. OCCORD relies on volunteers to put on Citizenship Fairs 5 times per year and for other events. For information about volunteer opportunities, visit our web site or email us at [email protected] 

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Central Orange County
North Orange County
Orange County, California, with a focus on the cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana.

Organization Categories

  1. Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy - Alliances & Advocacy
  2. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Urban & Community Economic Development
  3. Employment - Labor Unions/Organizations



Local Government Accountability

OCCORD’s Local Government Accountability program develops leadership and builds organizational structures to engage residents and stakeholders in land use planning and economic development decisions that affect their lives.  Through strategic, coalition outreach, we train local and regional groups to work collaboratively, and through targeted, neighborhood-based outreach, we train new leaders and build sustainable organizational infrastructure in low-income communities of color to identify and advocate for policy changes that improve their standard of living.
Budget  $247,025.00
Category  Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other
Population Served Hispanic, Latino Heritage General/Unspecified Minorities
Program Short-Term Success 
During the coming year (2015-16) we are working toward the following outcomes:
  • To train and educate 30 grassroots leaders in Anaheim as part of the Anaheim Organizing Committee. They will learn about issues such as wages, education, immigration policy, and ways to unify neighborhoods for citywide policy change. 
  • To educate and involve 60 Anaheim residents in the public process of drawing the district lines for future City Council elections to ensure that the process is transparent and fair to all residents.  
  • To successfully advocate for the City of Santa Ana to adopt a resolution creating a Wellness District in downtown Santa Ana, which would prioritize a set of policies promoting well being and public health broadly defined. 
  • To participate in developing a recruitment and leadership development structure with SACReD (Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development) to increase the number of resident leaders from 10-15 to about 40.  
Program Long-Term Success 
Our vision is healthy democracy in Orange County cities, where all residents feel that their elected officials take their needs into account and make sound, evidence-based decisions based on the needs of the community at large.  
Because of high levels of civic engagement on the local level, policies adopted by cities will prioritize help for communities that need it and will ensure that economic development is equitable and that its benefits are shared by the whole community. Improvements to residents' economic stability and the wise and fair distribution of resources will cause improvements in educational outcomes, public safety, and public health over time.  
Program Success Monitored By 
Success in this program is measured by whether we are successful in winning policies on the local level that improve government accountability to historically under-served communities and support equitable economic development. 
In addition to changing policy, we also strive to develop the leadership capacity of residents, so we track:
  • participation in education & training events led by us or our allies,
  • participation in official public forums where residents are invited to provide input, and 
  • grassroots leaders' perceptions of their own progress and empowerment as leaders through one-on-one interviews. 
Examples of Program Success 
Policy changes that we have won, in conjunction with our many allies include:
  • The change from at-large to district elections in Anaheim, approved by voters in the November 2014 election. 
  • In the final two months before the election, OCCORD mobilized 43 volunteers to educate voters about the issue and encourage people to come out and vote on election day.
  • Santa Ana City Council approved the "Sunshine Ordinance" in 2012, a comprehensive open government law that opens public decision-making to resident input to an unprecedented degree. OCCORD's policy research and coalition organizing were key to that winning improved accountability.  
  • In March of 2014, the City of Santa Ana passed a five-year Strategic Plan to guide its spending and policy priorities. The process was mandated by the Sunshine Ordinance and OCCORD participated with SACReD to ensure that important community needs were included, such as equitable development, restorative justice, and opportunities for youth.

Citizenship & Immigrant Integration Program

OCCORD’s Citizenship & Immigrant Integration Program provides assistance to Lawful Permanent Residents to complete their applications for U.S. Citizenship, leads citizenship classes to help applicants prepare for their citizenship interviews, and develops volunteer leaders to help others through the citizenship process and participate more fully in civic life. We work with local and regional organizations to provide these services to their members and constituents.
Budget  $223,750.00
Category  Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Citizen Participation Programs
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Program Short-Term Success 
In 2015, OCCORD will partner with Public Law Center and other community organizations, churches, colleges, clubs, and unions to assist approximately 1200 people, resulting in 600 completed applications for U.S. citizenship for eligible people, and 500 completed applications for administrative relief for undocumented immigrants under DACA and DAPA as soon as the application window opens. 
Additionally, we will mobilize at least 300 volunteers to put on five Citizenship Fairs/DACA&DAPA clinics, and increase the size our volunteer leadership team from 10 to 16.  
Program Long-Term Success 
Orange County is home to approximately 220,000 Lawful Permanent Residents ("green card" holders) who are eligible to become United States citizens. If even half of this population took the step to become citizens--and become active voters--it would transform the electorate. Local elected leaders would need to become much more responsive to the needs of immigrant communities and more representative of Orange County as it is today. 
Orange County is also home to a large population of undocumented immigrants-- estimated at 300,000. Comprehensive immigration reform is needed to keep families together, improve the economic and educational opportunities for immigrants, and improve public safety.
Program Success Monitored By 
For each Citizenship fair, we set targets for registration, volunteer recruitment, and completed applications.
Success is also measured by the number of Citizenship Fair participants that come back to help as a volunteer or become a volunteer leader in our Citizenship Committee, who take on a high degree of responsibility in planning and execution of Fairs. 
Examples of Program Success 
Over the course of our Citizenship Program, we have assisted nearly 3,500 people complete applications for citizenship and have mobilized at least 1000 volunteers.  

Muslim Latino Collaborative

The Muslim Latino Collaborative’s goal is to support and unify Muslim & Latino communities and to build nonpartisan political power and solidarity. More than twenty organizations representing Muslims and Latinos participate in our community events, organizing, roundtables, and popular education.

The Muslim Latino Collaborative is working to unite both communities, growing the electorate, increasing civic engagement, building solidarity and new relationships, and training grassroots leaders to organize their communities.

Budget  $75,000
Category  Education, General/Other Service Learning
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Hispanic, Latino Heritage Middle Easterner Heritage
Program Short-Term Success 
Since its inception in Jan of 2017, the Muslim Latino Collaborative has been successful in bringing together Muslim & Latino leaders for six roundtable meetings and also held four large community forums alternating between Muslim & Latino venues for cross-cultural education.
Since the launch, the Collaborative was extensively covered by the local Press and we were able to hire two part-time program coordinators, each specializing in Latino & Muslim communities. 
Program Long-Term Success 

The Muslim Latino Collaborative is working to unite both communities, growing the electorate, increasing civic engagement, building solidarity and new relationships, and training grassroots leaders to organize their communities.

Program Success Monitored By  The Collaborative success is monitored by the steering committee.
Examples of Program Success 
In less than a year, the Collaborative brought together more than five hundred people from Muslim & Latino communities who never have had an opportunity to interact with each other. In addition, more than twenty Muslim & Latino leaders (educators, clergy, activists) now meet on a regular basis to not only get to know one another but also to share ideas and issues that are of common interest and for the greater good.
Two concrete examples are: When the Trump administration declared 'Muslim Ban', Latinos joined Muslims in protesting this untoward policy. Similarly, when the Trump administration threatened DACA recipients & TPS residents, Muslims stood in solidarity with the Latino community. 

Community Engagement & Civic Participation

Working in concert with our Citizenship Program that enfranchises and educates new citizens/voters and our Local Government Accountability Program that focuses on policy change, our Community Engagement & Civic Participation program focuses on leadership training for residents to equip them to effectively communicate with city officials about their needs and prepares them to participate in official decision-making boards and committees.
Through this program we also prepare and mobilize volunteer leaders to educate voters about issues of importance to their communities so that they have a say in how public resources are distributed and have their needs better met. 
Budget  $249,500.00
Category  Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Leadership Development Programs
Population Served At-Risk Populations Hispanic, Latino Heritage General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 
This year, we are working to increase the number of active members of our Neighborhood Unions from 45 to 60-70. Neighborhood Unions meet regularly in five neighborhoods (soon to expand to six) to discuss issues that affect communities like parking, streetlights, public safety, and housing conditions, while training leaders, building relationships and strengthening community ties.
In both Anaheim and Santa Ana, we support community members in identifying opportunities to engage with civic processes and city leaders to communicate their needs and concerns.
In Santa Ana, our SACReD Coalition will support the recruitment and training of approximately 30 new resident leaders to get involved in city's drafting of an Economic Development Plan.
In Anaheim, we will train and support 10-12 active neighborhood leaders to get involved with the the official Neighborhood Councils to improve their effectiveness as vehicles for community involvement. 
Program Long-Term Success 
We envision the creation of strong community ties and sense of common purpose within low-income neighborhoods where there has historically been feelings of disconnection engendered by poverty and violence. What we are building in the neighborhoods where we work and amongst our leaders is the spirit which is best represented through the word convivio, which in Spanish means literally “to live with,” and entails a state of celebrating, working, and being in community.
In our experience, while our leaders’ passion and understanding of an issue motivates them to get involved, their feelings of community and belonging motivate them to stay engaged. Therefore, build healthy cities, economies, and institutions, this sense of community is an necessary ingredient. Long-term success would mean the opportunity to belong and make a difference for all Orange County residents. 
Program Success Monitored By 
Success is monitored by attendance at Neighborhood Union meetings, and by progress toward our recruitment targets. It is also tracked in terms of how successful Neighborhood Unions are at developing a sense of common purpose and developing individuals' sense of empowerment within the group. That tracking is conducted by community organizers through one-on-one meetings with residents and observation of and participation in Neighborhood Union meetings. 
Success in our Santa Ana work is measured by attendance at weekly coalition and committee meetings and at planning retreats where the group can dive deeper into issues and spend the time to reach consensus about shared priorities. OCCORD's community organizer also monitors the commitment and needs of coalition members through one-on-one meetings.  
Examples of Program Success  --


CEO/Executive Director Shakeel Syed
CEO Term Start Aug 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience
- Served Islamic Shura Council of Southern California as its Executive Director from May 2005 to July 2016. 
- Served the Board of Clergy & Laity for Economic Justice as its member & Chairman.
- Currently serves the boards of ACLU-Southern California, Public Law Center & Death Penalty Focus.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ada Briceño July 2014 Aug 2016
Eric Altman Oct 2005 July 2014

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Rosaisela Lopez Community Organizer Isela has been a seasoned Community Organizer with OCCORD for the last four years.
Andres Rivera Citizenship Program Organizer Andres has been part of the Citizenship program for the past four years.
Clara Turner -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


- City of Anaheim - City of Santa Ana - Asian American Advancing Justice - ACLU - Public Law Center - World Relief - CAIR-LA - Anaheim Unified School District - Immaculate Heart of Mary Church & Church of the Messiah, Santa Ana - St. Boniface Church, Anaheim - Islamic Society of Orange County, Garden Grove - Islamic Institute of Orange County, Anaheim - North O.C. Community College District - Rancho Santiago College - UNITE HERE, Local-11 - AFSCME, 2076 - OCEA - NUHW - OCLF - UFCW 324 

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 9
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 500
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 80%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 7
Native American/American Indian: --
Other: --
Other (if specified): Persian & South Asian
Gender Female: 6
Male: 5
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No --
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Ada Briceno
Board Chair Company Affiliation Co-President, UNITE HERE Local 11
Board Chair Term -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ada Briceno UNITE HERE Local 11 Voting
Rev Cedrick Bridgeforth Clergy Leader Voting
Amanda Byrd SoCal Grant Makers Voting
Cesar Covarrubias Kennedy Commission Voting
Carina Franck-Pantone The Franck Firm Voting
Barbara Lewis National Union of Healthcare Workers Voting
Carolina Sarmiento University of Wisconsin, Madison Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 4
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): Arab American
Gender Female: 6
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths --
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 50%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Personnel


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $1,013,812 $777,616 $764,265
Total Expenses $575,194 $620,414 $814,267

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$954,131 $697,358 $694,225
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $0 $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- $0 $0
Earned Revenue -- $0 $0
Investment Income, Net of Losses $55,132 $0 $0
Membership Dues -- $0 $0
Special Events -- $79,658 $68,441
Revenue In-Kind -- $1,950 $0
Other $4,549 $600 $1,599

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $420,517 $464,179 $662,650
Administration Expense $97,980 $105,910 $105,605
Fundraising Expense $56,697 $50,325 $46,012
Payments to Affiliates -- $0 $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.76 1.25 0.94
Program Expense/Total Expenses 73% 75% 81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 6% 6% 6%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $1,375,087 $935,893 $773,177
Current Assets $1,372,470 $928,476 $765,600
Long-Term Liabilities -- $0 $0
Current Liabilities $18,497 $17,921 $12,407
Total Net Assets $1,356,590 $917,972 $760,770

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 74.20 51.81 61.71

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%
Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.