Domestic Weekly Update December 13, 2011

Ignoring poverty does not make it go away.

— RESULTS Cedar Rapids volunteer Judy McDowell in a December 4 letter to the editor in the Cedar Rapids Gazette

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Media Action: Urge Congress to Fund Head Start and Child Care at Highest Possible Levels (December Action)

We are only a few days away from congressional holiday break and Congress is doing all they can to finish their work by Friday. News over the weekend indicated that Congress was close to a deal to finalize the remaining FY 2012 appropriations bills. It is expected that these bills will be lumped into an “omnibus” appropriations bill to be passed en masse, rather separately as is the usual custom. This would include the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill, which funds Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Unfortunately, we do not have any details as to funding levels contained in this omnibus bill. That is why it is imperative that we make that one last push to ensure that early childhood programs get a fair shake in the FY 2012 budget.

The December Action focuses on generating media in support of the highest funding levels possible for Head Start and child care. This past Saturday, Margot Friedman of Dupont Circle Communications was our guest speaker on the December RESULTS Domestic national conference call. Margot is a media expert, specializing in getting op-eds published. She even hosts a Facebook page “Op-ed Talk with Margot” where people can write in for advice on drafting and publishing op-eds. Margot offered us some great advice as we work to get media pieces published this month. Using the example of Mark Shriver’s op-ed in Huffington Post (which was highlighted in the RESULTS Weekly Update last week) and reminding us that writing an op-ed is no different than what we learned in high school English class, she outlined the structure of a successful op-ed (and many of these tips also apply to letters to the editor).

  • Introduction or “leads/ledes”
    • The holiday season and the needs of families living in poverty is a natural hook
    • Also can use the message of Congress having unfinished business to finish — ”You need to do this before you go”
  • Draft three content paragraphs with evidence to back up your position
    • See Shriver example – he even uses bullet points
    • Even better to include statistics, personal stories, history
    • The RESULTS website has what you need for facts/stats/etc.
    • Use your recent site visits to tell a story
    • Talk about Head Start kids who are now adults – neighbor, coworker, family member
  • Summary, i.e. Call to Action.
    • Tell people what you want them to do
    • Fund for Head Start and child care at the highest possible levels
    • Mention your senator and representative by name

Margot said to keep things simple. Don’t try to do too much in your piece. Also, “activate the heart before you activate the head.” In other words, engage people emotionally first through personal stories or values statements before wading into the statistics. Finally, Margot reminded us that getting an op-ed published does not stop once it is submitted. Be sure to follow up within 24 hours of submission to see if the publication received it. Call again after another 48 hours and try to talk to a person to see if they plan to publish it. In her experience, Margot said that if papers are not interested within 48 hours, they are probably not going to publish. If that is the case, you can simply withdraw your op-ed and send it into another paper.

We deeply thank Margot for her helpful insights on generating media. We look forward to talking to her again in the future. We encourage you to “Like” her Op-ed Talk with Margot page and use it as a resource as you draft media pieces both now and in the future.

TAKE ACTION: Since a deal may be imminent, please take the December Action this week. Write a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper urging lawmakers to support working families by supporting the highest funding levels for Head Start, Early Head Start, and CCDBG. Be sure to mention your members of Congress by name in your letters and fax/e-mail your printed letters to their offices. You can use our online LTE action to send letters to your local papers.

You can also tell your representatives and senators to urge House and Senate negotiators to fund Head Start and child care at no less than the Senate proposed levels by using our online e-mail action.

If you were not on the RESULTS Domestic national conference call last Saturday, you can listen to a recording on the RESULTS website.


Sign Up for Thursday’s Early Childhood Conference Call from NWLC; Look for Call-in Action on Monday

Our friends at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) are hosting a conference call on this Thursday to review the latest of funding and reauthorization prospects. The call will update us on negotiations to fund Head Start, child care, and other early childhood programs in FY 2012, as well as look ahead to President’s FY 2013 budget, which will be released in February. They will also cover how the automatic cuts from the Budget Control Act will impact early childhood programs, and other issues.

The call will feature:

  • Helen Blank, Director of Leadership & Public Policy, National Women’s Law Center
  • Harriet Dichter, National Director, First Five Years Fundhttp://www.ffyf.org/
  • Hannah Matthews, Director, Child Care & Early Education Policy, CLASP
  • Adele Robinson, Deputy Executive Director for Policy & Public Affairs, NAEYC

This will be a great year-end review of our early childhood work and what challenges we may face next year. The webinar is Thursday, December 15 at 2:00 pm ET. Register today on the NWLC website.

In addition, next Monday, December 19, advocates from around the country will be calling into the White House to push for strong early childhood investments in the President’s FY 2013 budget. As you know, the President will release his 2013 budget in early February, which means agencies and administration officials are drafting their proposals as we speak. The call-in day will give us a chance to remind the Obama Administration of the priorities we want reflected in his budget proposal. Watch for an action alert in your inbox on Monday with details about messaging and call-in numbers.


Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings for Upcoming Recesses

Now is a great time to put in those requests to meet with members of Congress when they are back home over the holiday break and early 2012. Members will be heading home on December 16 (assuming they finish the budget) and will not return to Washington until January 17 (House) and January 23 (Senate). As we head into 2012, this is a great opportunity to once again put ending poverty front and center on the agenda early in the year. Here are some issues your groups can plan to discuss in these meetings.

TAKE ACTION: Take advantage of this opportunity by requesting a face-to-face meeting with your representatives and senators to talk about our priorities. Get in early to meet with members of Congress to push them early on these important issues. Use our online e-mail to contact their offices about setting up a meeting. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you prepare. We are here to help.


Schedule Your January Group Planning Now

On Saturday’s national conference call, we urge RESULTS groups to start looking ahead to next year by scheduling their 2012 group planning. The annual RESULTS group planning process, which takes place in January, allows all our RESULTS groups to reflect on and celebrate accomplishments over the last year, while also looking forward and setting goals for 2012. Group planning is an important part of RESULTS’ success — it allows us to set goals, track progress, and adjust tactics throughout the year so that we can achieve our objectives in an effective and meaningful way. If you didn’t get your January group planning meeting set on Saturday, please schedule it this week if possible, before holiday commitments take over.

RESULTS staff also wants to help you. After the RESULTS national conference call on January 14, RESULTS Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson will be available via Skype to talk to groups doing their group planning that day. If you would like for her to meet with your group that day, please contact her. Also, if you would like RESULTS Domestic staff to meet separately with your groups via Skype or phone during your January group planning meeting, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to schedule it (please note: RESULTS staff will be working with group leaders on group planning on our regular group leader calls).

TAKE ACTION: Schedule your January 2012 RESULTS group planning meeting this week so you can hit the group running after the holidays. We will have group planning materials available in the coming weeks. If you have questions or would like staff assistance during group planning, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff for help.


RESULTS Fundraising Update — Thank You for Your Great Work in 2011!

We wish to extend our deepest gratitude and congratulations to all our event fundraisers this year. You organized everything from birthday parties to celebrity dinners to inspire a whopping $214,000 in donations and monthly sponsorships! That’s over $45,000 more than last year! We’re so grateful for the dedication you have to increasing our impact and helping millions more people who need us. This money truly lets us go where other organizations don’t and we never forget it. We cannot thank you enough as we close out 2011.

Looking ahead to next year, if you are a runner or have a January birthday, our fundraising team would love for you to take our new online fundraising tool for a spin in January! If you’d like to run a 5K or are willing to celebrate your age to inspire your friends to contribute to RESULTS and REF, contact please contact RESULTS Grassroots Development Associate Cindy Levin to find out more.

Finally, as you start to contemplate your year-end giving, please consider a year end gift to help us achieve more in 2012! Making a year-end gift to RESULTS Educational Fund, the tax-deductible 501(c)(3) arm, or RESULTS, the non-tax-deductible arm will empower new activists to speak out and empower people in poverty to take charge of their lives. You will help RESULTS grow in this country and have a bigger impact all over the world. You can make donations with just a few clicks on our Support RESULTS page on the RESULTS website. Donate TODAY!


Quick News

150 House Members Sign Letter in Support of SNAP. Over the last few weeks, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) and James McGovern (D-MA-3) circulated Dear Colleague letter (pdf) asking the House Agriculture Committee to protect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other nutrition programs as it considers the next Farm Bill. 150 House members signed onto the letter. The current Farm Bill expires in 2012 and already Congress is planning what it might look like. In fact, some Agriculture Committee members urged the congressional Super Committee to include a new Farm Bill in their final proposal, which would have included $4 billion in cuts to SNAP. Fortunately, this did not happen, so Congress must go through the normal process of passing a new Farm Bill next year. If your representative signed onto the letter, be sure to thank him/her in your upcoming meetings or correspondence with their office.

House Votes on Payroll Tax Cut/UI Extension Today. The House of Representatives will vote later today on their proposal to extend the payroll tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits. As part of the Tax Relief Act of 2010, Congress cut the employee share of the payroll tax (which funds Social Security) from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for one year. President Obama has been pushing to extend the cut for another year and expanding it to 3.1 percent. The House bill would merely extend the current rate for another year. The President has also proposed extending unemployment insurance (UI) for the long-term unemployed, who can currently receive benefits up to 99 weeks of unemployment. The House proposal would extend benefits but cut the amount of eligible weeks by about half. To pay for these provisions, the House would mandate drug-testing for unemployment applicants, limit Child Tax Credit eligibility for immigrant families, and freeze pay for federal employees. It also contains other “poison pills,” such as approving the construction of an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The President has said he will veto the House bill if passed in its current form.


Announcements

Invite People to January RESULTS Intro Calls. Our successful RESULTS Introductory Calls will resume in January. These 30 minute “meet-and-greet” calls are a perfect introduction to RESULTS for people unfamiliar with our work. Many people have connected with RESULTS since we began these calls last summer. Beginning in January, we will be offering both evening and daytime calls. Calls will generally take place on Wednesdays at 9 pm ET and Fridays at 1 pm ET. Our January calls will be Wednesday, January 4 at 9:00 pm ET and Friday, January 20 at 1:00pm ET. As you socialize during the holidays with family and friends, urge them to attend one of our upcoming calls. Just go to our registration page to sign up. Please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) if you have any questions.


Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Thursday, December 15: NWLC Early Childhood Update webinar, 2:00 pm ET. Register at the NWLC website.

Friday, December 16: Current continuing resolution (CR) expires; Congress must pass the FY 2012 budget (or another CR) by this date or face a government shutdown. Target date for congressional holiday recess.

Friday, December 23 (1:00 pm ET) – Monday, January, 2, 2012: All RESULTS office closed for holiday break (offices reopen on Tuesday, January 3). There will be no Weekly Update on December 27.

Wednesday, January 4: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Saturday, January 14: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Tuesday, January 17: House returns to Washington from holiday recess.

Monday, January 23: Senate returns to Washington from holiday recess.

Friday, January 20: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Start planning today to attend our 2012 conference!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS 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.