Faith in Action was founded in 1972 under the leadership Father John Baumann, a Jesuit priest who had learned community organizing in Chicago. Faith in Action began as a regional training institute to help support neighborhood organizations in California.
With guidance from Dr. Jose Carrasco and Scott Reed, Faith in Action developed a new congregation-community model. In this model, congregations of all denominations and faiths serve as the institutional base for community organizations. Rather than bring people together simply based on common issues like housing or education, the faith-based or broad-based organizing model makes values and relationships the glue that holds organizations together.
These innovations have resulted in the development of a network of powerful, long lasting community organizations. Today Faith in Action has 44 affiliated federations and 8 statewide networks working in 150 cities and towns and 22 states. More than one million families and one thousand congregations from 40 different denominations and faiths participate in Faith in Action. In 2018, Faith in Action changed its name from PICO National Network to reflect its growth into a national, faith-based organizing effort.