Center for the Community Interest

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The Center for the Community Interest "or "CCI" (formerly the American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1989 by Roger Conner." According to Right Web it was also cofounded by John Tanton. [1] Their website goes on to notes that:

"As a leading advocate for urban quality-of-life and safe-streets measures, CCI's goal is to make communities and neighborhoods safe places to live and raise children and to make the public spaces of our cities secure and inviting places for all by helping to identify common sense, balanced solutions to crime and quality-of-life problems and to defend those policies against unreasonable legal attacks." [2]
"Roger Conner is the founder of CCI and served as its Executive Director from its inception in 1989 as the American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities, through to 1998, when he turned over the reigns to Dennis Saffran. Roger is now Director of Search for Common Ground in America. A graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Michigan Law School, Roger has been a leader and an innovator throughout his career. He is the author of CCI's book, The Winnable War: A Community Guide to Eradicating Street Drug Markets, which, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer is "the best manual ever for citizens trying to rid their neighborhoods of increasingly violent open-air drug markets." [3]

Writing in the quarterly Philia it was noted that:

"In 1989 a small group met in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It planned to form an American Civil Responsibilities Union - as a counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU. I will take some credit for convincing the group that society would be better served if we did not create one more one-sided, adamant representative of one half of the needed equation. Our position should be that strong rights and strong responsibilities are corollaries; a well-ordered free society requires both. This meeting led eventually to the formation of the American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities." [4]

Budget and Support

"With a staff of four, CCI operates on an annual budget of approximately $400,000. CCI has received recent financial and other support from lawyers and law firms including Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and Wilmer Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C.; from foundations including The Olin Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, The Donner Foundation, The Spitzer Foundation, The JM Foundation, The Bodman and Achelis Foundations, the Klingenstein Fund and The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, and numerous individuals and Board members." [5]

According to Media Transparency they received three grants from the American John M. Olin Foundation in the 1990s. [6]


  • David Castro, Executive Director - "Before joining CCI, David Castro was with the administration of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, where he worked with Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker as Director of the "Weed and Seed" anti-crime program. Before that, as an assistant to Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, he founded and led a multi-agency law enforcement team that helped communities close crack houses. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Haverford College and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review."
  • Joseph Diamond, Public Affairs Director
  • H. Johannes Galley, General Counsel - "H. Johannes Galley was born in New York City. He is a graduate of Dartmouth,where he majored in history, and of Vanderbilt University School of Law. Mr. Galley started his career as a litigator with a nationally-known litigation boutique. He served as an Assistant New York City Corporation Counsel, Assistant New York State Attorney General, and has been a principal in his own law firm. While at the Attorney General's office he served as one of New York's lead trial lawyers in the six month trial of the Love Canal Superfund case. He has served as an Adjunct Law Professor, teaching courses in pre-trial and trial procedure, and has litigated a wide variety of matters including a significant number of cases concerning constitutional issues. He joined CCI in 2000."




National Advisory Board



Related SourceWatch

  • Suzanne Goldsmith Hirsch is a former director of the Community Service Project at the American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities. [7]