Perry Perkins: Organizing and Workforce Intermediaries

Susanna Hegner

Perry Perkins is the Supervisory Organizer for the southern region of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest network of organizers and training institute for institutional organizing. He serves on the National Strategic Team and is Co-Chair of the Staff Transition Process. Perkins also serves as Lead Organizer for Together Louisiana, the coalition of IAF-affiliated organizations in Louisiana. For nearly four decades, Perkins has been involved in the development of local non-profits committed to crossing the divisions of race, religion and economic status, helping to found six non-profits dedicated to community development. Prior to his 30-year engagement with IAF, Perkins served as Executive Director of the Southern Columbia Heights Tenants Union in Washington DC. He also served as Lead Organizer for the United Woodcutters Association in Mississippi, Allied Communities of Texas in Fort Worth, the Jeremiah Group in New Orleans, Northern and Central Louisiana Interfaith, the Greater Baton Rouge Sponsoring Committee and Working Together Jackson in Mississippi. He also served as Senior Organizer for The Metropolitan Organization in Houston. 

Perkins’ writings have been published in Sojourners, Democratic Faith and the Project of Lived Theology at the University of Virginia. His article “Organizing as a Spiritual Discipline” was presented as a part of the Project on Lived Theology’s public lecture series. He frequently speaks and teaches at colleges, universities and congregations.

A graduate Greenwood High School in Greenwood, Mississippi, Perkins received his B.A. from Mississippi College with majors in History, Political Science and Philosophy.  He is married to Patricia Millsaps Perkins; they have three daughters and one granddaughter.

In this video, Perkins describes the role of a workforce intermediary such as NOVA.