Action in Montgomery (AIM)
AIM is a non-partisan organization of almost 30 faith and civic institutions in Montgomery County. We organize to build power and do justice in low- and moderate-income communities countywide. Uniting people across lines of race, class, religion, political party, and geography, we take action on key issues in our communities, including (but not limited to) affordable and quality housing, equity in education, immigrant rights, and transportation.
Founded in 2000, AIM is an independent, non-profit organization led by a strategy team of religious and community leaders. We are affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the nation’s first and largest network of multi-faith, broad-based citizen organizations, with seven decades of experience winning tough fights on housing, health care, education, living wages, immigration rights, and other issues across the nation.
Join us in the next “Action” to influence those in power to make just decisions.
AIM Core Team at RRUUC
This team is responsible for recruiting people to attend the big AIM Actions, as well as organizing people and power to achieve justice for low-income people in Montgomery County. If you are interested in the AIM Core Team or any of the projects, please email AIM@rruuc.org.
To learn about upcoming actions, please contact Liz Purcell or John Ruthrauff at AIM@rruuc.org.
To check out prior AIM accomplishments, visit the AIM website at: www.actioninmontgomery.org.
When the COVID pandemic hit, we were unsure how to organize, given that our success was built on in-person, face-to-face relationship building. We quickly learned to move everything to Zoom, and found that we were able to do our work because the relationships we built over years were still strong. This led to better access to COVID testing in the hardest-hit communities, relief on affordable housing, new school buildings for two often-left-behind, high-poverty elementary schools, and much more.
Transformation of Cider Mill Apartments
For over two years, residents of County-owned Cider Mill Apartments called on the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) to make key management and security changes on the property. As a result of public pressure at an AIM action and ongoing demands for accountability from resident leaders, management and the HOC improved lighting on the 864-unit property and replaced all broken machines and entry doors in laundry facilities.
This fall, through partnership with the Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative, residents formalized Safe Places, a tenants’ association. Safe Places worked with other local congregations to distribute market food every Sunday during the pandemic.
$71 Million for School Construction
In Spring of 2020, Montgomery County Council delayed the construction of South Lake Elementary School, despite the fact that it was in worse condition than any other school in the system. In doing so, they reneged on their previous commitment to renovate both South Lake and Burnt Mills Elementary Schools by Fall of 2023, a commitment made after a multiyear campaign by AIM leaders to gain recognition for these two Title I schools.
AIM leaders held the Council to account, testifying, calling, and sharing the story of South Lake over several long months. On December 1, the Council voted to restore the 2023 timeline, citing AIM’s “non-traditional” model of community organizing, recognizing AIM leaders by name, and thanking AIM for engaging the press to pressure them to act.
In September 2023, 1,500 students will walk into beautiful new buildings at South Lake and Burnt Mills, heads held high.
COVID-19 Testing in Underserved Neighborhoods
In summer 2020, AIM leaders were often unable to access testing, even when they had symptoms. AIM leaders learned that 74% of Montgomery County’s new COVID-19 cases were Hispanic residents, though the Hispanic community represents only 1/5 of the county’s residents. Additionally, there were only two COVID testing sites in the five zip codes with the most cases. AIM held a press conference and pushed the County Council and Executive to open new sites in these communities, including on several on AIM congregational properties in the hardest hit communities.
20th Anniversary Celebration
AIM celebrated 20 years of community power in a virtual extravaganza with generations of AIM leaders and organizers present. AIM leaders and founding clergy shared memories of past victories, received a proclamation from the County Council, and demonstrated our 1-to-1 relational approach to organizing to the guests present at the event.
If you are interested in any of AIM’s issues, please email AIM@rruuc.org.