Hi, this is Ken Patterson. I'm the global grassroots manager for RESULTS' global campaigns. Over the years, I've watched RESULTS volunteers achieve some remarkable successes. I'd like to tell you about a few of them now. I'll start with the story of a RESULTS volunteer from Kansas named Collette Hernandez.
In 2006, Collette spoke before the National Press Club about children's health insurance. As a mother, she was familiar with the financial struggles faced by millions of low-income families in America. She told her audience that America was facing a choice between two different worlds. Here's how she described these worlds: “one, where parents can have peace of mind and confidence in raising and providing for their children. The second, where I, as a parent, must constantly worry about my children’s health, choosing between paying for health care and food.”
Collette was speaking for millions of parents in this same situation. With RESULTS’ support, she made her voice heard. And with RESULTS’ guidance, she asked Congress to increase funding for the lifesaving Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP. This program offers affordable health insurance to low-income American children. But there isn’t enough funding to cover all who need it.
Collette was joined in her efforts by hundreds of other RESULTS activists around the United States. They talked to members of Congress, spoke at community forums, and wrote letters to the editor. At one point, they were getting a letter to the editor printed every day in local papers. And Congress listened. In 2009, the president signed a new Children’s Health Insurance Program into law, extending coverage to more than 4 million children who had been uninsured.
Collette said, “For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a say-so in what happens in my country.” That’s our goal, improving lives around the world by empowering you.
Many RESULTS volunteers work exclusively on domestic issues, like the Children's Health Insurance Program, while others work exclusively on global issues. One of the most important global issues we work on is the fight against deadly diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. When RESULTS first joined the global fight against tuberculosis, this disease was killing 1.8 million people worldwide every year. Yet the U.S. was spending only $1 million a year to fight tuberculosis less than a dollar per person killed. That was in 1997.
Every year since 1997, RESULTS' advocacy has led to greater funding to prevent and treat tuberculosis. In 2009, Congress approved $225 million to combat TB in 2010. This was 225 times as much as the U.S. spent in 1997! And in 2008, we made our most ambitious request yet. RESULTS joined with other organizations in calling for passage of the Lantos-Hyde Act. This legislation, which was named for its co-sponsors, Tom Lantos and Henry Hyde, was unprecedented.
If passed, it would authorize $4 billion a year to control AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria worldwide. Over 4 million people a year would receive life-saving treatment as a result.
But getting the Lantos-Hyde Act passed would not be easy. RESULTS activists held public events, and generated newspaper editorials in favor of it. And during the RESULTS International Conference in Washington, D.C., hundreds of RESULTS activists descended on Capitol Hill on the same day the legislation being debated in Congress.
We knew we faced strong opposition from some members of Congress. Indeed, later that day, the U.S. Senate considered 10 amendments that would weaken the legislation. But in meetings with over 300 congressional offices, our activists repeated their message: "Pass Lantos-Hyde!"
That evening, as RESULTS volunteers gathered for the conference banquet, excitement rippled through the crowd. The amendments had been voted down and the bill would pass! Each person there had played a role in bringing health and hope to millions of people who desperately need it.
The final success I want to tell you about began in the 1980s, when the leaders of RESULTS recognized the profound changes that could occur by providing tiny loans to poor people to start or expand small businesses. RESULTS was one of the earliest champions of this practice, called microcredit.
When we started our campaign in the 1980s, few members of Congress had even heard of microcredit. Now, largely because of our advocacy, the U.S. leads the world in microcredit funding.
Along the way, RESULTS has worked closely with one of the originators of microcredit, a man named Muhammad Yunus. Dr. Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on microcredit for the very poor. When RESULTS announced in 2009 that over 100 million of the world’s poorest people had received microcredit loans and were working their way out of poverty, Yunus was at our side. He told RESULTS volunteers that “without your perseverance, commitment, and advocacy, we would not have been able to make this groundbreaking announcement.”
As this story demonstrates, some of our successes take time and patience. But none of these successes would have happened without RESULTS activists. They inspire elected representatives and the media to work for a world without poverty.
Now one of our long time activists, Scott Swearingen from Tulsa, Oklahoma, will share a story from his own perspective of how RESULTS works. We like to call this story “the Oklahoma miracle.”
PBS News Hour: 1997, Charlene Hunter Gall, March 1997.