Key and Recent Publications

See current projects for writings under development, including new book manuscript, articles, and chapters.  

Most requested scholarly past writings below; more popularly accessible writing here.

Brand new:

  • A Shared Future: Faith-Based Organizing for Racial Equity & Ethical Democracy, by Richard L. Wood and Brad R. Fulton, from University of Chicago Press.

On prayer, diversity, and “bridging cultural practices” in social movements:

On faith-based community organizing:

  • Faith in Action: Religion, race, and democratic organizing in America (University of Chicago Press 2002) analyzed the role of social capital and cultural dynamics in enabling and constraining the success of grassroots democratic organizing, via a comparative case analysis of faith-based and racial identity-based community organizing. The book won the 2003 outstanding book award from the Sociology of Religion section of the American Sociological Association.

A general overview of the field of congregation-based community organizing:

Only national profile of the field of faith-based community organizing:

  • “Building Bridges, Building Power,” full national data on the national social movement sector of faith-based organizing, co-authored with Brad R. Fulton and Kathryn Partridge (Interfaith Funders, 2012).
  • “Interfaith Organizing: Emerging Theological and Organizational Challenges” in the International Journal of Public Theology 6: 1-23 (Brad R. Fulton and Richard L. Wood).

On how organizational culture and structure combine to determine the strategic capacity of a social movement:

On political culture and democratic reform:

In the United States:

In Central America:

In the Middle East:

Interfaith Funders, working with Rich Wood and other scholars and organizers, sponsored a variety of projects that document and analyze the state of the field of faith-based community organizing, its strengths and limitations, and its contributions to American democracy. That collaboration produced a range of writings, some written accessibly for a broad audience of readers: professional organizers, religious clergy, foundation program officers, political leaders, and scholars seeking a broad view of the field:

 “Building Bridges, Building Power” (Interfaith Funders, 2012; co-authored by Richard L. Wood, Brad Fulton, and Kathryn Partridge)  – public launch at New York University in September 2012, with 60 scholars, foundation program officers, and professional organizers in attendance). Public briefings in 2012-2013 attended by funders, political organizers, social movement scholars, and religious leaders in Chicago, San Francisco, and Berkeley, and a national webinar sponsored by Mott Foundation.

How Community Organizations Can Build National Networks,” 2012 policy brief published by the Scholars Strategy Network; Theda Skocpol, National Director.

Wood, Richard L. 2009. “Raising the Bar: Organizing Capacity in 2009 and Beyond,” research report written for the Neighborhood Funders Group; available at

Wood, Richard L. 2007. “Jewish Social Ethics, American Synagogues, and the Repair of the World,” reflections on the Research Consultation on Synagogues and Social Justice. On-line publication to be posted at the “Synagogue 3000” website:


Wood, Richard L. 2007 and 2006. “A Deeper Self: Community-Based Learning and the Lifelong Vocation to Solidarity” and “Challenging the University,” on-line essays for the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, Santa Clara University. and

Wood, Richard L. 2007 and 2006. “A Deeper Self: Community-Based Learning and the Lifelong Vocation to Solidarity” and “Challenging the University,” on-line essays for the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, Santa Clara University. and

Wood, Richard L. and Allen Hertzke. 2006. “Funding in Religion by The Pew Charitable Trusts,” a commissioned internal report for The Pew Charitable Trusts (Philadelphia: February 2006).

Flaherty, Mary Ann and Richard L. Wood. 2004. Faith and Public Life: Faith-Based Community Organizing and the Development of Congregations. New York: Interfaith Funders. Available at [Note: several thousand of these printed by Ford Foundation, distributed by Interfaith Funders upon request of foundation staff, community and political organizers, and religious clergy. 

On the impact of public engagement on religious congregations:

  • Renewing Congregations
  • Short, accessible writing from a national study of civic engagement in 44 congregations in thirteen cities in the United States, including liberal Protestant, Roman Catholic, historical African American Protestant, Latino and Black Pentecostal, Jewish, Unitarian, and Unity congregations.

Image: renewingcongregations.pdf 

  • Faith and Public Life [hyperlink to LoboVault archive of this article]

  •   Longer research report from the same study. 

Image: faith&publiclife.pdf

Wood, Richard L. and Mary Ann Flaherty. 2003. Renewing Congregations, New York: Interfaith Funders and the Ford Foundation; professionally published report, more than 4,000 distributed nationwide upon request by recipients. Available at

Wood, Richard L. 2003. “Up from the Parishes: Reclaiming the Public Voice of Catholicism,” in American Catholic Studies, published by University of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism (December 2003; pp. 1, 7-10).