JRLC is the largest and most inclusive interfaith public interest group in Minnesota — people of diverse faiths bringing vision and wisdom to the public realm for the well-being of Minnesotans. JRLC is authorized and governed by four Sponsoring Members: the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Council of Churches, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, and the Islamic Center of Minnesota.
When JRLC was founded in 1971, it was the first interfaith public-interest lobby group in the United States. JRLC now has an extensive body of public policy statements and continually influences Minnesota legislation in many policy arenas including: welfare reform, housing, health care, human rights, criminal justice, environmental stewardship, tax policy, ethics in government, gambling, economic justice, bias crimes, firearms regulation, and other policy areas.
JRLC is governed by a 16-person Executive Board made up of four representatives from each of the sponsoring faith communites. The Board guides policy decisions culminating in a ratification process that requires each JRLC position to be approved by all the sponsors' governing bodies. JRLC is unique in this accountability structure and thus speaks in a unified voice for these faith groups.
Who We Represent
There are nearly 2.4 million people in Minnesota who identify themselves as having a religious faith that is connected to JRLC. This represents about 48% of Minnesota's total population. Looking only at people in Minnesota who claim a religious identity, nearly 80% identify with religious groups that sponsor JRLC.
Placing a definitive number on the JRLC constituency is tricky, of course. Many of the people identifying with a religious community do not affiliate with a congregation and therefore do not connect with congregation-based social justice work. In addition, a significant number of people connected to JRLC's sponsors would disavow the positions taken by JRLC.
Two things however are clear: The vast majority of people of faith in Minnesota identify with JRLC's sponsoring faith groups, 79% to be exact. Secondly, JRLC's legislative network (about 8,300) has yet to tap the vast potential of our sponsoring faith communities. So, if you support our work for social justice, please join us!
Awards and Recognition for JRLC and iCAN
2007 Working Class Hero award to JRLC from the JOBS NOW Coalition
2007 Distinguished Service Award to iCAN from the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children
JRLC's annual expenses, including iCAN, total about $350,000. About 42% of JRLC's budget comes from the four Sponsoring Members. The remaining 58% is raised from religious and congregation mission funds, individual gifts, and foundations.