Domestic Weekly Update April 5, 2011

We have one chance with a child to do it right. If we miss that opportunity, their lives change forever. Our lives change forever.

— Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) speaking at an Illinois Head Start agency in March

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Join April National Conference Call THIS Saturday

This Saturday is the April RESULTS National Conference Call. We will spend time this month celebrating the success of our work on the To Catch a Dollar screening last week. We will also be looking ahead to the budget fights in Congress, particularly around funding for anti-poverty programs. Joan Huffer of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will be our guest speaker, talking about some of the broader implications of the House budget proposal for FY 2012. This will be an important call of celebrating, focusing, and preparing for action. We look forward to talking to you on Saturday.

TAKE ACTION: Coordinate with your group where you will listen to the RESULTS Domestic national conference call this Saturday, April 9 at 12:30 pm ET for the national conference call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709. Once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 p.m. ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call.


RESULTS Groups Help Make To Catch a Dollar Screening a Big Success!

We did it! Thanks to each and everyone one of you for working so hard to make the To Catch a Dollar nationwide screening last Thursday a great success. As usual, when RESULTS volunteers are called into action, you respond with energy, enthusiasm, and excitement. Already we have heard from a number of groups that participated in local screenings. Here are a few stories from RESULTS volunteers:

Minneapolis, MN: We passed out 20 brochures [at the screening], and have the rest to use for fundraisers and other functions. It gives us a great excuse to have some kind of bang-up, outreach event next. I actually love the frankness with which Suze Orman said that many of the disappeared jobs in our economy, may not come back, and that this initiative is a great way to involve many people, help families survive, and rescue our economy. That resonated like the truth for me.

Austin, TX: Everyone stayed until the very end and they were excited about the prospect of microcredit in America. I think one fellow, Keith, is really serious about getting his financial group to set up a branch here. We made some good contacts . . . and just really enjoyed the film. Everyone should see it. . . 

Chicago, IL: RESULTS Chicago proud to be a host for the Chicago event which was a wonderful success! We estimate about 120 people came out to the show. We were glad to see some of our supporters there and also excited to talk to folks who had never really heard of microfinance before. Four RESULTS volunteers were on hand to set up our info table and talk to folks about RESULTS.

Detroit, MI: Everyone was interested, loved the movie, and the discussion of microfinance in the US. Muhammad Yunus is ending poverty one deserving woman at a time! People signed up to get more info and participate with our RESULTS group. Excellent event!

San Jose, CA: This is an important movie. It shows the human side of what it takes to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty, the practical and creative cultivation of the talents and dreams of all people. People are left wanting to get involved. We had a sell-out crowd of 235 and are looking forward to follow-up. . . .

For more stories, read our April 1 RESULTS Blog post and the comments underneath the post. And be sure to add your own comment about your experience.

But the March 31 screening was just the beginning. Over the next four weeks, the To Catch a Dollar campaign will be doing events, webinars, and providing resources around a variety of topics, including women in poverty, the “unbanked” in America, savings in America, and policy solutions to poverty. RESULTS will be hosting the policy week, April 25–29, which will include a series of webinars about policy solutions for U.S poverty. More details about these events will be coming out both on our To Catch a Dollar Resources page and www.tocatchadollar.com.

In addition, you want to make sure to follow up with any leads from your outreach at last Thursday’s events. If anyone expressed interest in knowing more about RESULTS, follow up with them this week. Invite them to the conference call this Saturday or your next meeting. To help, we have these resources available to help you we have some follow up tips and sample script for follow-up calls to persons interested in RESULTS and a sample e-mail to use for initial follow-up. You can find these and other resources to help you on our To Catch a Dollar Resources page.

TAKE ACTION: So as to make the most of your To Catch a Dollar experience, here are some follow-up steps to take going forward:

  1. Follow up with leads. Contact persons who expressed interest in RESULTS at your local To Catch a Dollar screening this week. Invite them to your next meeting and provide more information about RESULTS to them. Be sure to have a conversation via phone or in-person with them to answer questions and build a relationship. Those conversations could make the difference in whether they choose to join your group or not. See our To Catch a Dollar Resources page for follow-up resources.
  2. Send out a press release. Use our To Catch a Dollar Press Release to let the media know about what happened last week.
  3. Let us know how your event went. Read our April 1 RESULTS Blog post and add your own comment about how your local event went.
  4. Stay tuned for more events. Go to our To Catch a Dollar Resources page and www.tocatchadollar.com to find out about follow-up events during April.

Government Shutdown Possible Friday — Tell Congress to Stop Playing Politics with People’s Lives

The chances of a government shutdown this Friday are growing. Congressional leaders met with President Obama today to try and reach agreement, but no deal appears imminent. As a result, both congressional leaders and administration officials are signaling to federal employees to be prepared for a possible shutdown.

The issue here is the level of budget cuts both sides are willing to accept. Remember that back in February, House Republicans proposed $32 billion in cuts to the FY 2011 non-defense, domestic discretionary budget. However, conservative members of the caucus balked at the figure, saying it was too low. Republicans then proposed a new set of cuts, totaling about $61 billion. In this new proposal, which became H.R.1, Head Start/Early Head Start, and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) saw steep cuts. As you well know, these cuts would result in 368,000 children losing services. Fortunately, H.R.1 was rejected by the Senate and both sides have been trying to negotiate a compromise.

Last week, it appeared that a possible deal was in the works that would cut the FY 2011 budget by $33 billion (even more than the original House plan). However, Tea Party Republicans are still demanding more and appear to be withholding their support for this “compromise.” With only 3 days left, Congress must finalize a deal, pass another temporary extension, or shut down the government.

TAKE ACTION: This is the most dangerous time for Head Start and child care. As Friday approaches, pressure will build on both sides to cut a deal. We cannot afford for Head Start and child care to be the sacrificial lambs. Use our online alert to call your Senate offices today and tell the early childhood aide that it is time for Congress to stop playing politics with people’s lives. Tell them to pass a FY 2011 budget that protects children in Head Start, Early Head Start and CCDBG. Specifically, urge them to sustain the funding levels in FY 2011 necessary to protect existing Head Start and child care services for children and families.

Be sure to contact both Senate offices. Once you’ve called the Senate, make a quick call to your representative’s office as well and voice your support for Head Start and child care.

You can also see our April Action for writing letters on protecting Head Start and child care in both the FY 2011 and 2012 budgets. See also our updated Early Childhood Development PowerPoint presentation for background on this campaign.


House Budget Chair Proposes Radical Budget for FY 2012 (April Action)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) released his proposal for the FY 2012 budget. It proposes drastic changes not only to the budget, but to the essential role of government in our society. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Medicaid would be turned into a block grant to states, just as welfare was in 1996, and cut by $750 billion over the next decade. This would likely result in huge rollbacks on coverage and even possible cessation of the program in some states, resulting in millions more uninsured.
  • The Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) would also be made in a block grant.
  • Spending for domestic programs (not including defense) would be reduced below 2008 levels for the next five years. This includes programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start, Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), community health centers, and other anti-poverty programs. These cuts will result in countless Americans losing critical services.
  • In 2022, Medicare as we know it would end. New Medicare beneficiaries would have to choose a private health plan for coverage, with the federal government subsidizing the cost up to a certain point.
  • The Affordable Care Act, i.e. health reform, would be repealed.
  • Wealthy individuals and corporations would see their tax rates drop from 35 percent to 25 percent.
  • An arbitrary cap on all federal spending as a percentage of the economy would be enacted.

While some may hail Rep. Ryan’s budget as courageous, it is in fact dangerous. His plan essentially takes what little benefits and services the poor and the sick in America have and cuts them so as to lavish more tax cuts on the wealthy. It also turns our back on America’s children. By slashing domestic discretionary spending below 2008 levels, programs like Head Start, Early Head Start and child care will see their enrollments plummet. Furthermore, by capping this spending on these programs at an arbitrary and unrealistic level, thousands of eligible children will forever wait for services that will never come.

TAKE ACTION: Take the April Action. Send letters to your members of Congress and urge them to tell House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to protect Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant in the FY 2012 budget. We must not renege on our commitment to quality early learning services by cutting funding after several years of important investments in these important programs. Make your voices heard in support of America’s children.

Please note that when the FY 2011 budget is finalized, we will update the online version of the April Action to reflect any impacts caused by that budget.


Quick News

Support for Hunger Fast Grows. Last week, Ambassador Tony Hall and other national leaders began a fast to remind people about the plight of vulnerable people around the world. As of today, 30,000 people and organizations have signed on in solidarity to the fast. Leaders are calling people to prayer, fasting, and personal sacrifice, and is seeking to form a “Circle of Protection” around programs in jeopardy. To learn more about what you can do to participate and help, go to http://hungerfast.org/. You can also follow Fast updates on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/hungerfast) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/hungerfast). Also, see the blog post by RESULTS Emerson Hunger Fellow Rebecca Van Maren about her experience participating in the Hunger Fast. Share this information with your friends and remind them of why the Fast is taking place — to help ensure that our government and institutions put the needs of its most vulnerable citizens first.

Join the Half in Ten Social Media Training. On Thursday, April 14, Half in Ten will host a social media training for grassroots advocates working to end poverty. The online training will cover how the antipoverty/economic opportunity movement can use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to grow our audience, strengthen our capacity to respond to policy developments, and engage in new advocacy tactics with members of Congress. If you want to learn how to better harness the power of social media to create social change, sign up today. The training is from 2:00–3:15 pm ET. To register, go to the Half in Ten registration page.


Announcements

RESULTS on the Road. Last week, Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson and Emerson Hunger Fellow Rebecca Van Maren traveled to Florida. After meetings with the RESULTS Broward County group as well as strategy sessions with RESULTS allies in Miami and Palm Beach, they journeyed to Stetson University to lead six workshops at the IMPACT Conference. As a result of the workshops and interacting with hundreds of students at the conference Opportunities Fair, they are now following up with dozens of students interested in getting involved with RESULTS. A highlight of the trip was meeting the student leader of our new Wofford College group, Olga Brega, who shared about her RESULTS experience in workshops and at the Fair. Next, Domestic Outreach Organizer Jos Linn will be traveling to Salina, KS for an outreach meeting with members of the Salina and Lindsborg Domestic groups. The meeting is tomorrow, April 6, at 7:00 pm CT at the Salina Public Library. He will then travel to Kansas City to do several advocacy trainings at the National Head Start Association conference on Thursday.

Sign Up for the RESULTS International Conference TODAY. The 2011 RESULTS International Conference will be here before you know it. Be sure to register for the conference today. Children Defense Fund founder and RESULTS Board member Marian Wright Edelman will be a keynote speaker at the conference this year, along with other great events we have planned. Also, remember that if you are a college student, you can apply for our Campus for Change program. If selected, RESULTS will pay for the bulk of your conference costs, including hotel and travel. The deadline to apply is April 15. Go to our International Conference page for more information. We look forward to seeing you in June!

Please Complete and Send In Your Group Plans. Please send in your 2011 Group Plan Summary Form to your regional coordinator and Meredith Dodson as soon as possible.


Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Wednesday, April 6: RESULTS staff participates in outreach meeting in Salina, KS. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for details.

Thursday, April 7: RESULTS presenting at the National Head Start Association conference in Kansas City, MO.

Friday, April 8: Expiration of the current continuing resolution (CR) for FY 2011 spending.

Saturday, April 9: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. (888) 409-6709.

Thursday, April 14: Half in Ten Social Media Training, 2:00 pm ET. Register at the Half in Ten website.

Tuesday, May 3: Deadline to register for the RESULTS International Conference at normal rate of $250 (rate increases by $50 after May 3).

Sunday, June 19 – Tuesday, June 21: RESULTS International Conference at the Four Points Sheraton in Washington, DC.


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 750 First Street NE, Suite 1040, Washington DC 20002. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

Domestic Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday over e-mail to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our domestic campaigns.