U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 14, 2012

Congress must protect programs that help people lift themselves out of poverty — not balance the budget on the backs of people who were not responsible for our deficit and debt to begin with.

— Rev. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World and 2012 RESULTS International Conference speaker, urging Congress to protect tax credits for working families

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Invite Massachusetts Contacts to Thursday’s Group Start in Boston and August 25 Coffee in Greenfield

RESULTS groups are forming in the Boston area and in western Massachusetts! Do you live in Massachusetts? Do you know someone who lives in Red Sox country? If so, plan to attend or invite others to attend one of two upcoming meetings facilitated by New England RESULTS Organizer Jenny Martin.

RESULTS Boston Informational Meeting, Thursday, August 16, 6:30 - 8:30 pm ET, United for a Fair Economy conference room, 5th Floor, 1 Milk Street, Boston, MA (Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/events/402642009801830/). This Thursday, Jenny will be hosting RESULTS informational meeting in Boston to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group. The meeting will include an introduction to RESULTS, our issues, and how you get involved. RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson will also be there to share the latest in policy news from Washington, DC. This is the perfect meeting for you, your family, and your friends to learn about RESULTS and how you can help end poverty in America!

RESULTS Coffee Chat for Change, Saturday, August 25, 2:00 pm ET, Shellburne Falls Coffee Roasters, 100 Federal Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 (Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/332628163497420/). Jenny will also be hosting a RESULTS Coffee Chat for Change a week from Saturday in Greenfield, MA. This is an informal meeting will bring together people in Western Massachusetts Pioneer Valley to talk about poverty, what needs to change, and how RESULTS can help make a difference. Tell your family and friends out in western MA to come on over and have a lively discussion over a good cup of Joe.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to invite people you know in Massachusetts to our upcoming RESULTS meetings. These meetings are free and open to the public and all are welcomed. Be sure to also use social media to invite people to come. Facebook links are listed above and if you use Twitter, send out this tweet today about Thursday’s meeting: Hey #Boston, want to help #endpoverty? Join us at our RESULTS group kickoff this Thursday 8/16 to learn more! bit.ly/RESULTSBoston.

RSVPs for either meeting should go to Jenny at [email protected], (413) 772-9596. Thanks for adding your connections to our RESULTS expansion efforts!


Got Ten Minutes? Pick Up the Phone and Call about Member of Congress Events in Your Area (August Action)

The action this month focuses on getting face-to-face interactions with members of Congress. As we all know, the election season is starting to gear up and candidates are ripe to hear from constituents about their priorities and concerns. Don’t disappoint them — get out there and make your voice heard.

RESULTS groups are already making the most of these opportunities. RESULTS San Fernando Valley (CA) volunteers recently attended two town hall meetings held by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA-27) and Howard Berman (D-CA-28). As volunteer Al Sheahan shared on last Saturday’s national conference call and on the RESULTS Blog, they used the tips provided in the August Action to make the most of this opportunity. In addition, RESULTS Boise members had a face-to-face meeting with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) yesterday to talk about the importance of the EITC and Child Tax Credit for low-income working families. They had a great meeting, which left them feeling inspired, energized, and ready for the next face-to-face meeting. Follow the lead of these and other groups by urging your members of Congress face-to-face to protect tax credits for working families.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to pick up the phone and call your congressional offices about setting up face-to-face meetings and attending town hall events. The August Action has important tips and resources to help you. Contact their local offices to ask about meetings and events; you can find contact information on our Elected Officials page. Also, many politicians make appearances at state and country fairs during this recess; here is a list of state and county fairs by district (Excel doc) from our friends at FRAC. Once you get a meeting or confirm that you will be able to raise an issue at a town hall or other event, please touch base with RESULTS staff for the latest strategies and messaging insight for your specific policymakers. 

Thanks to everyone who shared on Saturday’s U.S. Poverty National Conference Call about their recent advocacy activities and experiences at the RESULTS International Conference. You can listen to a recording of last Saturday’s national conference call and download the conference call slide presentation on the RESULTS website.


Got Twenty Minutes? Prepare for your Face-to-Face Meetings and Town Hall Activities (August Action)

One of the reasons RESULTS has been successful at grassroots advocacy for more than 30 years has been that we don’t take anything for granted. You hear a great deal from us about getting in front of members of Congress to talk about issues of poverty. However, scheduling that meeting or planning to attend a town hall is only the first step. If you don’t properly prepare for these encounters, you risk minimizing the true impact you can have. We want to help you avoid that fate.

RESULTS has numerous resources available to you to help you prepare an informative and inspiring meeting with members of Congress. We are well aware that meeting with members of Congress can be intimidating to many people, be they new to advocacy or seasoned advocates. These tools are therefore designed to make the preparation process easy for you so that you feel comfortable and prepared when attending that meeting or public event. Here are a few steps and resources to get you started.

  1. Schedule your meeting/plan to attend town hall. See the above section of this Update.
  2. Meet with your group to start preparing for your meeting or town hall. For this, you will want to decide who will facilitate the meeting, who will be speaking at your meeting, what topics you cover, and who will do follow up. Here are some resources to help:
  3. Draft your EPIC Laser Talk. Developing good talking points for a meeting or town hall question is key to your success. Use these resources to help you:
  4. Take Leave Behind Materials. To supplement what you discuss in a meeting or ask about at a town hall, be sure to take “leave behind” materials to give to your members of Congress or their staff these events. You can download and print the follow materials to take with you:

Remember, these materials are resources to help you. You may use all of them or only some of them. Also, please take advantage of staff resources as well. The RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff is here for you; once you have a meeting or event you plan to attend, please contact us to help you prepare and answer any questions you have.

TAKE ACTION: Take 20 minutes to start preparing for your face-to-face encounters this month. Even if you don’t have a face-to-face meeting scheduled yet, take time during your group meetings this month to go through this preparation process. Sometimes groups will only have short notice about a meeting or town hall so by preparing early, you’ll be good to go when the time comes. The August Action has lots of useful tips to help you get started, as well as the resources listed above. Once you’ve had your meeting, please fill out our lobby report form: http://tinyurl.com/2012lobbyreportform. Good luck!


Urge Representatives to Protect SNAP, Support H.Res 760

Last month, the House Agricultural Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill by a vote of 35-11. It includes $16.5 billion in cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The effects this bill could have on a community are disastrous. Estimates are that the House cuts would force 2-3 million people off SNAP per year and deny school meals to nearly 300,000 children. This is on top of the $4.5 billion in cuts to SNAP passed by the Senate in its Farm Bill; the Senate bill would cut SNAP benefits by $90 per month for an estimated 500,000 households. It is uncertain if and when the House bill will come to the floor.

Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), George Miller (D-CA), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) sponsored H.Res. 760 (full text), the Sense of the House Resolution opposing SNAP cuts. The more members of the House support this measure, the stronger the message that “SNAP works!”

TAKE ACTION: Urge your members of Congress to protect hungry children and families by rejecting cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill or other deficit reduction legislation. Specifically, urge representatives to support H.Res 760. House members' offices should contact Keith Stern at Rep. Jim McGovern's office at [email protected] to join as a sponsor (the official sponsorship records will not be updated until Congress returns from recess). Can’t make a call or your representative is already a sponsor? Use our online email alert to tell Congress to protect SNAP.


RESULTS Outreach: Join Upcoming RESULTS Intro and Free Agent Calls

Many of you attended the RESULTS International Conference for the first time last month and caught the “RESULTS bug” like so many of us. Others have heard about us and want to know more. To feed that momentum, we have some great upcoming opportunities to help get and keep you engaged in the work of RESULTS. First, if you or someone you know is looking for a quick, fun, and easy introduction to RESULTS, plan to attend one of our bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. These calls are a great introduction to anyone wanting to learn more about RESULTS and be inspired about the power of citizen advocacy. We do these calls the first Wednesday and third Friday of the month. Our next call is this Friday, August 17 at 1:00 pm ET. You can RSVP for Friday’s call (or an upcoming call) online. Please share this link with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to sign up too.

But what if you don’t need an intro to RESULTS and instead are ready to take action? Have no fear! We are ready to help you too. First, please see our map of RESULTS groups around the country to see if there is a group in your area. If so, click on the group to find local contact info or contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help connecting you with them. If there is no group but you would like to know how to start one, please contact Jos to learn how you can bring RESULTS to your community.

Finally, while waiting to start that new group, join our monthly RESULTS Free Agents group call. These monthly support calls are designed to support our “free agent” activists (new or seasoned advocates in an area with no existing RESULTS group) in taking action and staying connected to RESULTS volunteers and staff. The next call RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents call is Tuesday, August 21 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). If you have questions, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected]. Note: The global Free Agents group will meet next Monday, August 20 at 8:00 pm ET (contact Lisa Marchal, [email protected]) for details).


Quick News

Join Half in Ten Budget Webinar Tomorrow. Poverty reduction and deficit reduction are not mutually exclusive goals. Low-income Americans and the programs that support them should be protected in deficit reduction. Join a distinguished panel of speakers from Half in Ten, the Center for American Progress, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN-5) for a webinar on how we can dramatically reduce poverty, grow our economy, and restore shared prosperity, even as we deal with long-term deficit reduction. Participants will learn the details of the Center for American Progress’s poverty and deficit reduction plan, get the latest briefs and messaging resources, and learn how to put this information into practice in advance of the elections this fall. It’s time that we pivot from playing defense to playing offense on restoring shared prosperity for all. The webinar is tomorrow, August 15 at 2:00 pm ET. Register TODAY at the Half in Ten website.

Gov. Romney Chooses Rep. Paul Ryan as Running Mate. Last weekend, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) as his vice-presidential running mate in November’s election. Rep. Ryan is Chairman of the House Budget Committee and author of the infamous “Ryan” or House Republican budget. As we have reported over the last few months, the Ryan budget would make devastating cuts to programs designed to help low-income Americans. The EITC and CTC would see cuts, as would early childhood programs like Head Start and child care. SNAP would see over $130 billion in cuts (over 10 years) and between 31 and 44 million Americans would lose health coverage under Medicaid (both of these programs would also be converted into state block grants). For more details about the Ryan budget, see our overview from the March 27 Weekly Update.


Announcements

Join our Social Media Rapid Response team! Online advocacy is one of the quickest, easiest, and most important ways to take action and spread the word about the issues we care about. That's why we're starting the RESULTS Social Media Rapid Response team. To further RESULTS' reach and impact, the Rapid Response Team - comprised of grassroots volunteers like you - will receive guidance on how to take quick, strategic actions each week via platforms like Twitter and Facebook to spread our message about upcoming legislation and priorities. Never used social media before? That's okay! We'll help you get started and build your skills to share important news and resources online and help you become as strong an advocate online as you are offline. Join us for an intro training call Wednesday, August 29 at 9pm ET. Dial (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579. Please RSVP to Laura Ochoa at [email protected].

Fill Out the International Conference Evaluation. The 2012 RESULTS International Conference was a resounding success. We had an inspiring, informative, and fun time in Washington, DC this year. If you attended this year’s conference, please take a few minutes to fill out our conference evaluation form. Your input is important to us. We want to know what you liked and what we can do better next year. Thank you again to everyone who attended, planned, and supported this year’s conference and stay tuned, we’ll have dates for our 2013 conference in the coming weeks.

Save the Date for September Media Training Call. Next month, the U.S. Census will release its annual poverty data report. This release will include data on poverty, health coverage, income, and other important information for 2011. This release provides us a unique opportunity to generate powerful media coverage around issues of poverty. To help us make the most of this moment, please join the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Team for a media training call on how to create media around the release of the Census poverty report. The call is Wednesday, September 12 at 9:00 pm ET. Dial (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579 to participate.


Fundraising News

Congratulations to the RESULTS Columbus group. They held their fundraiser over the weekend. Despite not so perfect weather, around 30 people attended the event, which raised at least $2,400 with more expected to come in. The group also had 11 people sign up to get involved with RESULTS at various levels. As part of the agenda, the group presented a community leader who directs a local Settlement House with an award they call the “Seeds of Hope” and tied their advocacy work together with this leader’s work providing the service directly to people in poverty. Organizers said the event was fun and satisfying. Congratulations, Columbus, and thank you!

Next up is RESULTS Chicago, which will be hosting a fundraising event celebrating Education for All on August 26, 2012 3:00pm - 5:00pm at Zocalo Restaurant and Tequila Bar. If you live in Chicago or know someone who does, plan to join the Chicago volunteers Join us for an open bar, appetizers, silent auction and speakers highlighting successes in global education and U.S. Head Start programs. Contact Cindy Levin at [email protected] or (773) 236-7758 for more details.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House: August 4 – September 9. Senate: August 6 – September 7. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, August 17: RESULTS Introductory Call. 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Tuesday, August 21: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Wednesday, August 29: RESULTS Social Media Response Team call, 9:00pm ET. Dial (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579. Please RSVP to Laura Ochoa at [email protected].

Thursday, August 30 (noon ET) – Monday, September 3: All RESULTS offices closed for Labor Day holiday.

Saturday, September 8: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Wednesday, September 12: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Media Training call, 9:00 pm ET. (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579.

Tuesday, November 6: Election Day.


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 U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

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