Domestic Weekly Update November 16, 2010

Hope is a decision, not a feeling. Whatever we feel, we can decide to act with hope. I’d argue we need to decide to act with hope, hope about what’s possible, and hope about the bridges we can build on issues that matter for the world.

— RESULTS/REF Executive Director Joanne Carter on the November 2010 RESULTS National Conference Call

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Reviving the Lame Duck — Have You Sent In Your Letters on the EITC and CTC? (November Action)

The game is on. The time to take the November Action is now. Congress returned to Washington yesterday to begin the 2010 Lame Duck session. As discussed on the RESULTS National Conference Call last Saturday, this week is an important week in making sure Congress does the right thing for working families.

Our guest speaker this month was Joan Huffer of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. As Joan pointed out, our action this month — writing letters about low-income tax credits — is absolutely essential in the fight to preserve the 2009 improvements to Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). While tax legislation is not expected to come up for a vote before Thanksgiving, this week leaders will be meeting on how best to proceed. They need to hear from us now; if we wait, it might be too late.

Joan gave us some helpful strategic tips as we take action this week. First, focus your attention on the Senate first. Since 60 votes will be needed to move any tax legislation forward in the Senate, we need to shore up as many senators as possible. So write senators first. Once you’ve written to both of your senators, then write to House members.

Second, make sure your members of Congress know how these programs are impacting your state. New data from Citizens for Tax Justice provides state level statistics on how many families have benefitted and how much money has been brought into each state because of the 2009 ARRA improvements to the EITC and CTC. Be sure to cite your state’s data in your letters. In addition, let them know just who will be affected if these changes expire. Hard working people like janitors, preschool teachers, home health care workers, grocery and retail workers, i.e. people working hard in low-paying jobs, will be hit the hardest. They are just trying to make a living and protect their families, and we shouldn’t punish them for it (which is what Congress will do if it lets these credits expire but extends tax cuts for the wealthy).

Finally, Joan said that pointing out the economic benefits of these tax credits can be very persuasive, especially with members of Congress who are focused on the economy and jobs. Remember, that in the short term, spending (getting money moving) is vital in helping the economy recover. Because these credits go to lower-income Americans, they are more likely to spend it (out of necessity) versus higher income people who are more likely to save any additional income. In addition, they will be spending it locally on food, fuel, clothes, utilities, etc thus generating more local economic activity.

Now it’s time to take Joan’s sound advice and put it into action. Because this is such a pivotal week in this debate, as part of the conference call, we urged you to write your letters after the call on Saturday and send them in first thing this week. This will hopefully have two-fold effect. First, it will highlight the groundswell of support for low-income working families in the tax debate. Second, it will tell members of Congress to act now and now wait until after these provisions expire to take action. Already many of you have taken action. Seven members of the RESULTS San Gabriel (CA) group wrote 42 letters on Saturday and sent them to Congress. Even our new group in Boise, Idaho, which is still going through the new group training process, wrote letters last Thursday and faxed them in yesterday. So the question is — have you sent yours in yet?

TAKE ACTION: Take the November Action. Take a few minutes to write out your letters in support of making the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements permanent as part of the middle class tax bill. Start by writing your senators then move on to your representative. Be use to use the tips Joan gave us on last weekend’s conference call. Once you have completed your letters, fax them into their DC offices. Also, fax or deliver them to their local offices in your state. The time is now! Congress will only be in session this week before leaving for Thanksgiving so please send your letters in this week.

You can find fax numbers for members of Congress and office locations on our Elected Officials page of the RESULTS website.

Once you are done, forward the November Action sheet or our EITC/CTC e-mail action alert to people you know and ask them to take a few minutes to help low-income working families. We have new EITC and CTC Fact Sheet you can also send them to give them a quick primer on these tax credits.

Finally, if you did not hear last Saturday’s national conference call, you can listen to it online at the RESULTS Musings blog. We thank Joan Huffer for her time and key insights on our conference call. If you have not visited the CBPP’s website (www.cbpp.org), please do — their research and analysis is pivotal in our work to end poverty.


Fundraising Update: Keep Up Those Follow-up Calls

Thanks to all of you who continue to support the work of RESULTS through your own financial contributions and requesting donations from others. As we enter the final weeks of our Friends and Family fundraising campaign, we want to help you finish out this process with great success.

At this point, if you have sent out your letters to donors, you should be planning and making follow-up phone calls to these potential donors. This will make a huge difference to the success of your efforts. On these calls, most donors are delighted to chat, especially when they hear your enthusiasm and know that you care deeply about the mission and purpose of the organization. But, what do you say? It’s easier than you think. To help you, we have created a sample call script which you can edit and make your own! Once you start making these calls, you’ll find they are no big deal and can be quite fun.

On this month’s conference call, it was great to hear from Beth Wilson (Olalla, WA), Bruce Davidson (Buffalo, NY), Judy Zobel (Des Moines, IA), and Mark Tierney (Columbus, OH) about there recent fundraising efforts. We thank them for their hard work. They once again proved that a little effort can create big rewards.

Your donations will start to arrive after you’ve made your follow-up phone calls. Once they do, collect remittance envelopes and record donations on the donations tracking form until you think you have them all. Once you have them all:

  • Carefully review checks and remittance envelopes for accuracy and for omissions such as expiration dates on credit cards, failure to check one of the gift designation boxes, or unsigned checks, etc.
  • Be sure “Friend and Family” or “Events” is circled and that your group name is written on each envelope.
  • Once all your donations are ready to go, please bundle the checks and remittance envelopes together and send them directly to the New York address on the remittance envelope:

            RESULTS Educational Fund, Inc.
            P.O. Box 10413
            Uniondale, NY 11555-10413

The deadline for mailing checks to our bank in New York is December 1. Also, in addition to mailing your checks to the bank, be sure to send your donation tracking form to the DC office ([email protected]). If you have questions or need more information, please contact our Development Director Donna Howard at (202) 783-4800, x124 or [email protected].

In addition to Friends and Family efforts, some of our groups are also holding fundraising events this call. If you know anyone in these areas, please contact the RESULTS Domestic Staff (contact information below) for details. Here is the list of our upcoming events.

November 20: RESULTS San Jose, CA, fundraiser

November 30: RESULTS Twin Cities, MN, fundraiser

December 5: RESULTS Chicago, IL, fundraiser

December 9: RESULTS Washington, DC, fundraiser

Finally, remember that anyone can donate online at anytime. Just go to our Donate page for more information. If donating online, please be sure to write “RESULTS Domestic” in the comment box of the online form.

Thanks to everyone for supporting RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund during our annual Fall Fundraising Campaign. Your work in garnering these resources is critical to our organization!


Join in Training Call This Week to Help You Reach Out to Returning and New Members of Congress

An important way to help set the agenda for the new Congress coming in in January is to get in front of members of Congress now. There are many new faces coming into office and if we want our issues to get priority, we must start meeting with them as soon as possible. Many of these people will not be familiar with RESULTS so this is the perfect time for an introduction; after January, it will only get more difficult to get time with them. In addition, returning members of Congress will be looking for feedback from constituents on the issues they find important. Help fill in the blanks for them with a strong agenda for ending poverty.

To help you, we are offering a training call this week on researching members of Congress. Long-time volunteer and regional coordinator Allison Gallaher will again lead this popular training to help you find the information you need when meeting with elected officials. Her training will also include tips on how to find out about newly-elected members of Congress. This training will be a great resource as you set up meetings over the next month. The call is this Thursday, November 18 at 9:00pm ET (call-in details below).

TAKE ACTION: Set up face-to-face meetings with returning and newly-elected members of Congress. Remind or introduce them to RESULTS and our work and urge them to enact and strengthen policies that reduce poverty in America. To prepare for your meeting, join the “Researching Your Member of Congress” Conference Call, this Thursday, November 18 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Once you have a meeting set up, please contact Meredith Dodson or Jos Linn (contact information below) for assistance in planning your meeting. The RESULTS staff is here to help you.


New Hunger Data Highlights Need for Strong Child Nutrition Programs

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its Household Food Security in the United States, 2009 report and the news is not good. According to the report, more than 50 million Americans lived in households struggling against hunger in 2009, including 17.2 million children. This is up from 49.1 million in 2008. The 2009 number is the highest since USDA first started the survey in 1995.

This report shows that 23.2 percent of all children in the U.S. are struggling against hunger. In a country as wealthy as the U.S., where some are demanding a $100,000 tax cut for every millionaire, this is unconscionable. If we are not willing to do all we can to protect our children from something as basic as hunger, what does that say about us as a nation?

Luckily, we don’t have to make the wrong choice. Congress still has time to pass a strong child nutrition bill this year. Child nutrition programs provide the meals and snacks kids need for their health and development. Let’s keep the pressure on our members of Congress to do what’s right for our nation’s children.

TAKE ACTION: If you haven’t yet done so, take the October Action. Write letters to your representatives and senators urging them to pass a strong child nutrition bill and restore cuts to SNAP made in the Senate child nutrition bill. Point out the recent hunger data showing that hunger is still a pressing problem in America. If you cannot send a letter, send an e-mail to your members of Congress about child nutrition. We also strongly urge you to contact the Obama Administration with the same message, since it is key that they engage in efforts to restore SNAP cuts. See our e-mail action alert that allows you to send an e-mail message directly to the White House.


Quick News

Take Action to Protect Child Care and Head Start. From our friends at the National Head Start Association: Congress has limited time to ensure that funding is not cut for child care and Head Start before the end of the year. As many as to 300,000 children could be dropped from Head Start and child care if Congress does not approve adequate funding levels in December. Call (888) 460-0813 today and ask for your representative or senator’s office. Tell the staff person: My name is ____________ and I am calling from __________________ and I am RESULTS volunteer. Don’t drop 61,000 children from Head Start and 239,000 children from child care. Make sure that continued funding for Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant are NOT REDUCED in the appropriations bill and that the Early Learning Challenge Fund is included. We are counting on you here in (state). Thank you. If you cannot call, be sure to send an e-mail urging them to act now for early childhood programs. Be sure to urge others to call or write as well.


Announcements

Check Out Our Campaigns Summary Page. Want to keep up with all our legislative work in ending U.S. poverty? Then check out our RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page. This will give you an overview of our legislative campaigns that their current status. This is a great way to keep up with our success over the year.

The 2009 Annual Report is online! Check out the 2009 RESULTS/REF Annual Report, titled “Taking Leadership in Extraordinary Times.” The report proves that RESULTS/REF staff and volunteer activists have the courage to change the things that are not acceptable and to inspire their leaders to do the same. See what your efforts created at http://www.results.org/about/annual_report/.


Upcoming Events

(Click to see a complete calendar)

November 18: Researching Your Member of Congress, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

November 18: RESULTS Iowa City (IA) Informational Call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 2883622#. (Starting the process of starting a new group; contact Jos Linn for details)

November 22–26: Congressional Thanksgiving recess.

November 25–26: RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

November 29: Congress reconvenes the lame duck session.

December 11: Joint RESULTS Domestic and Global National Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET.

December 25 January 2: All RESULTS offices closed.

June 18–21, 2011: RESULTS International Conference at the Four Points Sheraton in Washington, DC (Note: start date subject to change).


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: Meredith Dodson, (202) 783-7100 x116 ([email protected]); Jos Linn, (515) 288-3622 ([email protected]), Ann Beltran ([email protected]), and Ann Racuya-Robbins ([email protected]).

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.