aka ICWJ   |   San Diego, CA   |
This organization has not appeared on the IRS Business Master File in a number of months. It may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.


Drawing on the unique resources of multiple religious traditions, ICWJ provides a moral framework for realizing an economy of well-being. The mission of the ICWJ is to educate and mobilize religious and faith communities to raise awareness and to support actions that sustain the lives of workers with dignity and respect, improving wages, benefits, access to quality healthcare, working conditions, and a voice on the job.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Rabbi Laurie Coskey

Main address

3758 30th St

San Diego, CA 92104 USA

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Formerly known as

Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice



NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Women's Rights (R24)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (E01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mobilizing for Justice in the Workplace

ICWJ is an interfaith and multi-racial organizer passionate about lifting workers out of poverty. ICWJ mobilizes low-wage workers (predominantly women and immigrants) in faith-rooted campaigns for fair treatment in the workplace focused on increased wages, access to affordable quality healthcare, improved safety conditions, paid sick leave and more, employing a range of important strategies. At the forefront is the development of worker leaders. Worker leaders begin their evolution from a foundation of extreme poverty, food insecurity and survival level struggles. They overcome fear, threats, sexual harassment and discrimination to represent the struggles and sacrifices of their co-workers out in the community, at board meetings, in the media, to management and industry stakeholders. They are the face and leaders of their workplace campaigns to increase pay and improve benefits and working conditions. ICWJ organizes and implements between 8 and 12 worker solidarity campaigns annually. For each campaign, ICWJ implements a winning set of strategies that: a) Establishes a campaign goal and action steps; b) Convenes, trains and organizes partners and workers; c) Executes campaign specific action steps that may include meetings, events, rallies, prayer vigils, and street liturgies and theater; and d) Convenes and/or responds to requests for strategic meetings with decision-makers to facilitate communication, advocate for moral solutions, and broker agreements. ICWJ has organized alongside hotel workers, security workers, Head Start workers, fast food workers, airport workers and healthcare workers, and has been at the forefront of the Fight for $15 and successful policy campaigns for paid sick leave, employer sponsored healthcare and other important benefits.

Population(s) Served

The ICWJ goal is for all workers to have access to affordable, quality, full family healthcare. This is accomplished in two ways: 1) By acquiring access for workers who do not currently have employer sponsored healthcare by supporting them to gain employer benefits, or through Covered California; and 2) By protecting access to healthcare for workers who are currently covered by their employer. While Latina/o and other immigrants greatly contribute to the regional economy, they earn the lowest incomes, disproportionately lack healthcare access, and receive less medical care than native-born citizens. Approximately 28% of service workers in hotels and other tourism-related occupations receive no or limited health insurance. Working in mostly low-wage jobs without healthcare benefits, many immigrants – documented and undocumented – and their families forego regular exams and preventative care, seeking treatment only when their conditions escalate and require urgent or emergency attention. As a result, the health disparities between immigrants and native-born San Diegans are tremendous.

ICWJ is building a strong interfaith, interracial, and intergenerational movement for greater access to healthcare that effectively moves industry leaders, employers, and policy makers to expand access to healthcare for San Diegans, with a strategic focus on supporting lower income immigrants to obtain employer-sponsored insurance, and advocating for universal healthcare policies. A primary purpose of ICWJ involves working to alleviate conditions of multigenerational poverty, including significant health disparities, particularly among immigrant communities. For over a decade, the ICWJ has worked to reduce health disparities by expanding access to healthcare coverage. With dozens of victories since 1998 using a faith rooted model, the ICWJ educates and engages faith communities and the broader public about the critical need for access to affordable quality healthcare for workers and their families. The ICWJ additionally plays a key role in supporting diverse groups, primarily immigrant service workers, to achieve landmark policy and workplace victories that increase access to affordable healthcare. ICWJ continues to apply its successful model for social change to reduce the barriers that prevent low-income immigrant communities from overcoming health disparities.

The ICWJ works with a diverse array of partners and allies to carry out Access to Affordable Healthcare Campaigns. In addition to member faith institutions, ICWJ collaborates extensively with the region’s labor unions, which represent thousands of uninsured Latina/o and other low-wage workers, Center on Policy Initiatives, San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, the Employee Rights Center, and the Council of Community Clinics. Partners beyond San Diego County include Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), CaliforniaHealth+ (Get Covered Campaign) and a wide variety of immigrant rights advocacy and service organizations.

Population(s) Served

Despite increased diversity in San Diego, the region continues to be highly segregated with a large population of low income Latino/a immigrants. Frequently single mothers, immigrant women in the San Diego community, work as janitors and in other minimum-wage service sector jobs. These immigrant workers, men and women, often work two jobs to make ends meet and rely on public healthcare insurance, emergency rooms, and community clinics for medical care.

With strong anti-immigrant sentiments prevalent, these workers have few allies to turn to for assistance and support in their efforts to overcome poverty and improve their lives and the lives of their children. They live each day in great fear – fear of losing their jobs, the only means of support for their families; of being torn away from their US-born children; and of losing the lives they have worked so hard to build as contributing members of the community. As people of faith we strive to live our belief that every human person, regardless of national origin, has basic rights which must be safeguarded, including but not limited to: 1) the right to earn a livelihood; 2) the right to family unity; and 3) the right to physical and emotional safety.

In addition to negatively impacting all three basic rights outlined, pervasive anti-immigrant sentiment has seriously impacted the commitment and capacity of legislators to achieve truly comprehensive and rational immigration reform. Over the past decade, ICWJ has persistently initiated opportunities for civil dialogue between immigrant advocacy groups and border enforcement organizations, such as Customs Border Patrol and Immigration Customs Enforcement. This is difficult and adversarial work because positions are often polarized, making it difficult to find areas where goals overlap, and to move toward transparency and humane and respectful treatment of people crossing our borders. Progress in this work is possible because ICWJ is seen and respected as a moral authority, as a wise and thoughtful convener that never villainizes any group or person. ICWJ keeps the discourse civil and respectful in all areas that we work in.

Virtually all of the work of the ICWJ addresses policies and practices that affect immigrants and refugees, as these community members are the most vulnerable to exploitation. In addition to worker solidarity, policy and healthcare access work described elsewhere, ICWJ is a leader among collaborating organizations providing humanitarian relief, supplies, and resettling refugees from Central America in San Diego County. These organizations are working to provide refuge to asylum seekers from Central America and some parts of Mexico who are seeking asylum and are being apprehended and released by Customs Border Patrol and Immigration Customs Enforcement into the care of the coalition while awaiting their asylum hearings in San Diego County or while waiting to be reunited with family throughout the country.

Population(s) Served

ICWJ is a trusted voice, able to ensure the inclusion of moral concerns in policy discussions, and promoting policies that reflect the values and priorities of families, communities, and society. ICWJ has carefully fostered relationships with corporate, business and elected policy makers, including City Council members, Board of Supervisors, State Representatives, and with national congressional leadership, and works hard to engage policy makers across party lines. ICWJ has advocated for a moral budget (was instrumental in adding this term to the vernacular in the State of CA), partners with the community clinic networks on healthcare policy, including protection of employer-provided affordable and quality healthcare; participated in Border Advocacy (Immigrant Day in Sacramento); advocates for public education accessible to all; and works to address wage theft and paid sick days. ICWJ has been the face of the Living Wage Campaign, and was instrumental in passing resolutions in the cities of San Diego, Lemon Grove and Chula Vista supporting the presidential executive orders on DACA and DAPA. The following is a sample of ICWJ’s most recent policy campaigns, which number nearly 40 in the past ten years:

Wage Theft Prevention – SB 588 – 2015
Revitalize Not Militarize our Border Communities – 2014-2015
Earned Sick Days and a Minimum Wage – 2014-2015
Safe Borders Policies – 2013-2015
Moral Budgeting – 2008-2015
Living Wage – 2007-2008, 2010, 2014-2015
San Diego Minimum Wage – 2014
CA Earned Sick Day Policy – 2014

Additionally, as a critical and emerging issue impacting migration and low-wage workers first and most, ICWJ collaborates with partner organizations to address climate and environmental justice. ICWJ weaves together resources, such as space and connections to make events happen successfully and impactfully; and conducts advocacy in Sacramento and Washington D.C.

Finally, ICWJ has devoted policy resources to abolishing modern day slavery or the trafficking of workers using two parallel strategies. First, ICWJ uses community organizing strategies and tools to mobilize diverse faith communities to interrupt worker enslavement by bringing it out of the shadows and providing concrete pathways for reporting on behalf of, supporting, and sheltering enslaved workers. Clergy, lay leaders and congregants are among those most likely to encounter enslaved workers, particularly in insular immigrant communities with an extreme distrust of governmental agencies. Second, ICWJ is a critical voice at the table when well-intentioned law enforcement officials, community-based agencies, health care providers, transportation agencies, and other stakeholders attempt to develop and provide services to marginalized, fearful, and isolated immigrant worker communities. ICWJ is the single organization in the region that has established relationships with diverse immigrant faith communities and with law enforcement entities, and that is able to bridge the trust, communication, cultural competency and respect gap between those who need assistance and those that have services to offer. Therefore, ICWJ acts as that trusted cultural broker, bringing to bear the skills and relationships developed over the past decade and more, in order to provide activism on behalf of marginalized workers to abolish human trafficking.

Population(s) Served

Every year, millions of workers have billions of dollars of wages stolen every year, mostly taken by employers who do not pay them for overtime that they are legally owed, insist that they work before clocking in and after clocking out, deny breaks and more. Targets are low-wage, immigrant workers who fear job loss, retaliation and, in some cases, deportation if they insist on fair payment. A powerful response to this is the Fair Work, Fair Wages campaign that is being implemented in a new partnership with the CA Department of Labor, which reached out to the ICWJ, seeking a potent community partner to help them identify and respond to the complex web of wage theft issues affecting low-wage workers and young workers across ethnicities and regardless of immigration status. The work of ICWJ is to educate and to assist with remediation of the broad set of issues included under the umbrella of wage theft. The support of ICWJ and faith partners will be critical to supporting workers to overcome their fear of reprisal and job loss.

Population(s) Served

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Board of directors
as of 04/29/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Reverend Dr. Beth Johnson

Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Term: 2010 - 2018

Justine Church

Medical Mission Sisters

Gerald A. Brown

United African American Ministerial Action Council

Shai Cherry

Shaar Hamayim: A Jewish Learning Center

Claire Crawford

Center on Policy Initiatives

Jamie Gates

Point Loma Nazarene University, Center for Justice & Reconciliation

John Greene

St. Paul United Methodist Church

Sara Haldeman-Scarr

San Diego First Church of the Brethren

Imam Taha Hassane

Islamic Center of San Diego

J. Lee Hill

Christian Fellowship Congregational Church

Ikenna Kokayi

Christ Church San Diego

Tommie Jennings

Christ the King Catholic Church

Kelly Mayhew

San Diego City College Labor Studies Program

Yooshim MIchelle Park

Trinity United Methodist Church

Kent Peters

Office for Social Ministry, San Diego Catholic Diocese

Christian Ramirez

Alliance San Diego

Wayne Riggs

Plymouth Congregational Church

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes