U.S. Poverty Weekly Update April 2, 2014

We have the resources, knowledge and proven effective methods to end poverty. All we need is the political will.

— RESULTS Albuquerque volunteer Sandra Duckert in a March 25 letter to the editor in the Albuquerque Journal

New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Get Ready for Outreach by Writing Down Your Top Reason(s) Why Others Should Get Involved with RESULTS

This month, we’re focused on outreach, specifically reaching out to those in our own communities and beyond to learn more about the movement to end poverty in America by participating in a virtual town hall with Tavis Smiley (see below). As we reach out to our own friends and family, we’ll be more effective if we can share specific reasons why each of us is involved with RESULTS – especially if we can share examples of why we volunteer and times we’ve made a difference.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to jot down your story of why you engage in advocacy to end poverty in America, or a time you’ve seen your efforts make an impact. Your friends and family will be moved by learning more about why you


Got Ten Minutes? RESULTS Welcomes Tavis Smiley for April Outreach Event – Start Planning Now! (April Action)

RESULTS is thrilled to announce that National Public Radio host and anti-poverty advocate Tavis Smiley will be holding a national virtual town hall event with us in the coming weeks! Mr. Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, as well as The Tavis Smiley Show and Smiley & West both from Public Radio International (PRI), and the daily radio program, Tavis Talks, on the Tavis Smiley Network (TSN). He is also the author of 16 books, including his latest The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, co-authored with Dr. Cornell West of Princeton University.  Poverty is a frequent topic on his shows and in his writings. In 2011, he and Dr. West sponsored an 18-city Poverty Tour, designed to raise awareness of poverty in America. He is also founder of the Tavis Smiley Foundation, which works to provide leadership development for youth.

We could not be more excited about this event (and the fact that Mr. Smiley will also be speaking in-person at the RESULTS International Conference). This is a unique event and a unique opportunity for RESULTS and you – our volunteers. Because of Mr. Smiley’s national prominence, this is a great opportunity to reach new people with our message of ending poverty in America. While we are still working on confirming the date, start planning now so you can make this  a successful event in your community.

IMPORTANT: So you can concentrate on getting people in your community to attend this event, there will be NO SATURDAY RESULTS U.S. POVERTY NATIONAL CONFERENCE CALL IN APRIL. Our next regular U.S. Poverty National Conference Call will be on Saturday, May 10.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to start planning for the virtual town hall with Tavis Smiley. Here are some actions you can take to get things started:

  • Pick a location to do the event. Pick a location that is convenient, easily accessible, has the room you need, and has access to a speakerphone.
  • Draft an agenda for your local event. Plan to start your event before the call begins and build in time afterward to answer questions. Be sure to include time to talk about your local group including the activities you engage in, current actions you’re working on (use our Financial Security Credit Outreach Action), and how people can get involved with your group (have RESULTS Participation Forms available).
  • Make a list of people you want to invite. Invite friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to attend. Even if they’ve come to events before and never gotten involved, invite them again. You never know when someone is ready to get engaged. Also include coalition allies and others you’ve connected with through RESULTS and other local efforts.

If you need help brainstorming ideas or planning for your event, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]).


Got Twenty Minutes? Start Inviting People to the RESULTS Virtual Town Hall with Tavis Smiley (April Action)

Successful inviting is critical to make your outreach event successful. It’s time to get the word out now! People’s schedules fill up quickly and you want to make sure your event is included. This is going to be an exciting event, both in inspiring you and engaging others in your community in the important work of ending poverty. Be expansive in who you include. Invite friends, family, acquaintances, coalition allies, and anyone else you feel would be interested in participating in this exciting event. Even include people who never say yes – this might be the time they do.

A helpful tip is to write down a goal of how many people you want to attend. When we articulate a specific goal for ourselves, we are more likely to take the steps to achieve it. As you work on your contact list this week, set a goal for how many people you will personally be in touch with. And if you call someone and don’t get an answer, don’t be content with just leaving a message. Call them back until you connect with them in person. Think about how many calls many of you have gotten this election season about voting. It’s the same concept; campaigns keep calling until they talk to you personally because they know it increases the likelihood that you’ll go out and vote.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to start inviting guests for your upcoming outreach meeting as part of the Virtual Town Hall (date to be announced shortly). Be sure to be in touch with your fellow group members to compare lists so you don’t overlap on who you contact. To help you, we have these resources available for you:


Invite Members of Congress to Witnesses to Hunger Events in DC This Week

As noted last week, our friends at Witnesses to Hunger will be in Washington, DC hosting events designed to raise awareness of the challenges Americans in poverty face. This is a great chance for congressional offices to interact with low-income families and learn from the “real experts” on poverty. Urge you members of Congress to attend these important events.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your representatives and senators today urging them or their staff to attend the events listed below. You can find contact information on our Elected Officials page (contact aides you know or ones working on hunger issues or issues related children and families).

  • Thursday, April 3: Poverty in America: A Panel Discussion on the Social and Economic Issues Affecting Americans Today, Rayburn House Office Building, B-369 from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm ET. Panel will include members of Congress and Witnesses to Hunger. RSVPs for this event are not required, but encouraged.
  • Friday, April 4: Witnesses to Hunger Exhibit, Rayburn House Office Building, Rayburn Foyer. Breakfast Reception with Witnesses to Hunger, 9:00 am - 11:00 am ET; Exhibit Open from 8:30 am - 5:30 pm. RSVPs for this event are not required, but encouraged.

 

And don’t forget that we are very pleased that Shearine McGee of Witnesses to Hunger will speak at this summer’s RESULTS International Conference.


Follow Up on Your Financial Security Credit Letters (March Action)

Thank you all again for writing letters to your senators and representatives this month about the Financial Security Credit (FSC). Now it’s time to follow up with tax aides about your letters. For RESULTS groups, the point persons in your group for each of your members of Congress should make the call (you don’t need everyone in your group calling the aide). You can find aide names on our Elected Officials page. Be sure to call the aides for both your senators and your representative. Ask if they got your letter, if their bosses will support the FSC, and will their bosses talk to tax leaders about it. For House members, also ask if their bosses are willing to co-sponsor H.R.2917, the Financial Security Credit Act of 2013 (you can see a current list of co-sponsors here). If you haven’t written your letters yet, it’s not too late. The March Action has talking points and background information for letters. Once you’ve sent them in, follow up in a few days with the tax aides about your request.

If you need coaching for follow-up calls, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for assistance.


RESULTS International Conference – Tavis Smiley of PBS and NPR to Help Open the Conference!

As mentioned above, we are honored to announce that Tavis Smiley – broadcaster, author, advocate, and powerful voice for change – will join RESULTS Executive Director Joanne Carter at the opening plenary of the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund 2014 International Conference on June 21 here in Washington, DC! Here is a special invitation from Mr. Smiley himself:

"There is both a moral obligation and an economic imperative for public and private sectors to work side by side to build a bridge for those who are facing poverty today and those who may be down the road. Recently, my foundation launched Ending Poverty: America's Silent Spaces, a four-year initiative to examine barriers and identify solutions to alleviate poverty in the United States. The initiative helps advance action against domestic poverty by engaging and mobilizing individuals, communities, and organizations to identify innovative and community-based solutions. We must be willing to share responsibilities and resources to achieve sustained results in alleviating poverty. Working together is the only way. I look forward to seeing you at the RESULTS International Conference for this important conversation."

We are thrilled that Mr. Smiley has made time in his busy schedule to come speak at this year’s conference. Let’s welcome him with a big, enthusiastic crowd by reserving your spot today. And this is the perfect week to do it! The deadline to get the Early Bird Registration fee is this Saturday, April 6! Be sure to register before then to save yourself $75! Register for the RESULTS International Conference TODAY!

Also, remember that we've extended the application deadline for the REAL Change Fellowship. If you are between 18 and 28 years old and want to learn how you can end poverty, apply today! Please have your application submitted no later than April 15th.  


Outreach Update – Invite People to RESULTS Events in Pacific Northwest and New England

We have some exciting events coming up designed to expand the RESULTS volunteer network. If you know people in these areas, please invite them to attend an event or contact the appropriate staff person for details.

  • Gig Harbor, WA: RESULTS Grassroots Manager Jos Linn and local volunteers led a group start meeting last night in Gig Harbor, WA. To join this new group, contact Catherine at clu[email protected].
  • Portland, OR: On Wednesday, April 2, Jos will be in Portland, OR to build a RESULTS U.S. Poverty presence. Jos will be meeting with other RESULTS volunteers at 4:00 pm PT at Peet’s Coffee, 7471 SW Bridgeport Bldg G, in Tigard, OR. If you want to learn more about RESULTS and our efforts in Oregon, plan to come. Contact Jos at [email protected] for more information.
  • Spokane, WA: On Thursday, April 3, Jos will be in Spokane, WA to meet with the new RESULTS group started there a few weeks ago. They are meeting at the downtown Spokane Library, 906 W. Main Ave at 12:00 pm PT. If you’d like to learn more about the new Spokane group, please plan to join us at this meeting. Contact Jos at [email protected] for more information.
  • Portsmouth, NH: RESULTS Organizer Kristy Martino is hosting RESULTS Group Start meeting from 6:30 – 8:30 pm ET at the Store Gallery at 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan Street Portsmouth, NH 03801. If you know people in southern Maine and New Hampshire, please invite them to come. You can RSVP via Facebook or contact Kristy for details at [email protected].
  • New Hampshire and Maine: Kristy and RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson will be doing outreach April 8-11. Please contact Kristy at [email protected] for details.
  • Boston, MA: Meredith will be in Boston, MA on April 10 meeting with volunteers and coalition partners. They are meeting from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ET in the 9th floor conference room at ABCD, 178 Tremont St. in downtown Boston. If you want to learn more about RESULTS and our efforts in New England, please plan to attend. Contact Meredith for more details at [email protected].
  • Midwest and South. RESULTS Organizer Myrdin Thompson is doing outreach in the Midwest and South, including Louisville, Memphis, and Nashville. Contact Myrdin at [email protected] to connect them with her outreach efforts in Kentucky, Indiana, or Tennessee.

 


House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan Releases Budget Proposal

Yesterday House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) released his FY 2015 budget. This comes on the heels of his recent report about the War on Poverty, which according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ignores the long-term success of anti-poverty programs, Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal includes deep cuts to anti-poverty programs. Ryan’s report and controversial statements about poverty in the media have drawn sharp criticism, including a highly critical piece from RESULTS 2012 Cameron Duncan Award winner Greg Kaufmann questioning whether Rep. Ryan truly wants to solve the problem of poverty.

Rep. Ryan’s plan promises to balance the budget within ten years. Unfortunately, he does so by taking a chainsaw to anti-poverty programs. Rep. Ryan’s plan would primarily benefit the wealthy, who are less likely to be impacted by cuts to government programs while seeing their income skyrocket through huge new tax cuts. Specifically, the House budget proposal would:

  • Convert SNAP into a block grant for states,* change eligibility requirements, limit on enrollment in the program, and institute stricter work requirements, cutting a total of $135 billion over ten years from the program
  • Convert Medicaid into a block grant to states* and repeals the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, cutting a total of $1.5 trillion over ten years from the program
  • Cut non-defense discretionary spending, which includes funding for Head Start and child care, by $791 billion below the sequestration level. As Bob Greenstein of CBPP points out, “shrinking this part of the budget to less than half its share of the economy under President Reagan.”
  • Drastically cut taxes for the wealthy by creating a top tax rate of 25 percent

The House is expected to approve the Ryan Budget, but the Senate will not take up a budget resolution this year. However, it is important to understand these proposals and speak out about policies that could deepen poverty in America. For more on the various budget proposals (including President Obama’s budget proposal and the Congressional Progressive Caucus proposal), see the National Priorities Project’s fabulous Competing Visions tool.

TAKE ACTION: Submit a letter to the editor (or, of course, an op-ed) urging Congress to protect low-income Americans in the federal budget. Use our online letter to the editor action to send your letter, or if you prefer to write your own, the February Action sheet provides talking points, background information, and a sample letter to help you. You can find a list of media outlets in your state in our Media Guide.

*For more information on why block granting SNAP and Medicaid is such a bad idea, see our RESULTS Blog Post on block grants.

 


Quick News

Put in Face-to-Face Requests for April Recess. Congress will be on recess April 14-25. Please submit your requests now for meetings during those two weeks. Use our downloadable meeting request letter or our online version to make your requests today. Be sure to put in requests for all the representatives your group covers and both senators in your state. Find aide names, contact info, and website links on our Elected Officials page. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for individualized coaching on what issues and messages to use in your meeting and plan to take a copy of our Economic Mobility and Early Childhood lobby request sheets when you go to your meeting.

New Bill Would Expand the EITC. Last week, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act (S. ), which would make important improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It would triple the EITC for workers without children (from approximately $500 to approximately $1,400) and allow workers to start claiming the EITC at age 21 (currently 25). It would also allow workers to earn more income and still receive the credit. it is estimated that this would help 13 million low-income workers. The bill would also allow families to deduct 20 percent of a secondary earner’s income in calculating their EITC (both spouse must have earned income and at least one child under age 12 to qualify). RESULTS supports these changes and applauds Sen. Murray for her leadership on the issue.

Download Powerful Stories to Use in Your Advocacy. The Half in Ten campaign and the Coalition on Human Needs have a new resource to use in your anti-poverty advocacy. The Our American Story (OAS) community is a network of low-income families, service providers, and other community leaders working to expand economic opportunity for all through the power of sharing personal experiences. These personal narratives can help better inform policy debates and provide communications opportunities. Download Our American Story today.

For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.


Fundraising Update – “Fundraiser to Go” Materials Available This Month

In April, we will have a new fundraising resource available called the “Fundraiser to Go" available for you. It is a flash drive full of tools to make it easy for you to host a fundraiser with an outreach twist. The materials can help you bring an "Everyday Heroes" theme to your event! This sort of fundraiser is ideal to help make connections in your community and invite new partners into your group. The flash drive will contain all the goodies you need for a great party, including:

  • Sample fundraising shares from partners
  • The RESULTS “Everyday Heroes” video and other video shares from Muhammad Yunus and Senator Bennett
  • A slideshow of RESULTS partners in superhero costumes
  • “Everyday Hero” invitation templates
  • Sample emails for invitations and followup
  • Your donation reporting documents
  • Even ideas for appetizers!

Contact your fundraising coaches  (Cindy Levin or Jen DeFranco) to receive a “Fundraiser to Go” resources kit to throw your own Celebration of Everyday Heroes when they become available mid-April.


Announcements

Give Feedback to Grassroots Board Members. The four RESULTS Grassroots Board Members (Heide Craig, Lydia Pendley, Ginnie Vogts, and Beth Wilson) would like to hear from you if you have questions or ideas about RESULTS and our work. Send your questions or suggestions to Heide at: [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: April 14-25. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, April 1: RESULTS Gig Harbor (WA) Group Start Meeting, 6:30 pm PT. 87 Raft Island, Gig Harbor, WA. Contact Jos Linn for more details ([email protected]).

Wednesday, April 9: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

Tuesday, April 15: RESULTS Media Support Webinar, 8:00 pm ET. Join online at: http://fuze.me/23656947. To join by phone, dial (201) 479-4595, meeting number: 23656947

Tuesday, April 15: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Saturday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. REGISTER TODAY!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

  • Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (202) 783-7100, x.116, [email protected].
  • Jos Linn, Grassroots Manager, U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
  • Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (502) 295-1315, [email protected]

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email 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 U.S. poverty campaigns.