U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 28, 2012

Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.

— George Washington

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Call Local Offices about Town Hall Meetings This Week (August Action)

This is the last week of the congressional summer recess. Members of Congress will be returning to Washington next week. To make the most of this final week, make one last call to your local House and Senate offices to see if your members of Congress are holding any town halls or public events this week. If they are, plan with your group to attend these events to ask legislators about Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. This is the last time you’ll have to talk with them face-to-face about these issues for several weeks. Send your representatives and senators back to DC with a strong message in their minds — protect working families by protecting the EITC and CTC!

TAKE ACTION: TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call your congressional offices about town hall events in your area before the summer recess ends. You can find local contact information on our Elected Officials page. See the August Action for important tips and resources to help you prepare for these events. 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. 

If you cannot attend a town hall meeting this week, urge your members of Congress to protect the EITC and CTC using our online email alert.


Got Ten Minutes? Put in Requests for Face-to-Face Meetings (August Action)

In addition to seeking out town hall events this week, you also want to start setting up your next round of face-to-face meetings. Congress will be on recess for the remainder of this week before returning to DC after Labor Day. Putting in a request for a meeting this week is a long shot, but not impossible. Just last week, RESULTS Des Moines volunteer and staffperson Jos Linn got notice of a local coalition meeting with Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA-2) with only four days notice. He was able to make the meeting and got a few minutes with the congressman to talk about protecting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).

However, even if you cannot get a last minute meeting this week, putting in your request now gets you in the queue early for the next recess. Members of Congress will only be in DC for about a month before returning home to campaign in early October. They will not return until after the election. This extra time at home is an important time in our work to protect recent improvements to the EITC and CTC. After the election, Congress will be working to settle many unresolved issues, including what to do about expiring Bush tax cuts and the EITC and CTC improvements. When Congress takes up these tax issues after the election, we want their first thought being about the EITC and CTC. Face-to-face meetings—along with repeated e-mails, letters, and phone calls—will help ensure that that message gets through.

TAKE ACTION: Take 10 minutes to draft quick request for face-to-face meetings with your representative and senators. In your request, ask for a meeting this week or during the October recess. Be sure to include how many people will be attending the meeting, that your issue to discuss concerns protecting working families receiving the EITC and CTC, and the times you are available. Here is a sample request, which you can find in the August Action sheet:

Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. _________________ from _________________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots group working to end hunger and poverty. RESULTS has a proven track record of working with legislators from all backgrounds to support smart and cost-effective policies to break the cycle of poverty. I know that Rep./Sen. _________________ values input from constituents on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule meeting with Rep./Sen.______________ while he/she is still home this month. Would it be possible to set that up today? There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting and we would like to discuss tax policies, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which break the cycle of poverty and investments in early childhood development programs. What times would he be available to meet?

You can find contact information, including scheduler names, on our Elected Officials page. We also have an online request form you can use. Be sure to follow up within a few days to confirm that your request was received and the status of it. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you plan your agenda and devise the best messaging to use in your meeting. We have also updated our 2012 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary, as well as our recent developments pages regarding our Economic Opportunity and Early Childhood campaigns to help you prepare. Finally, don’t forget to take copies of our 2012 Lobby Request Sheets for tax credits and savings and early childhood development to your meetings.

While you wait for a response to your request, urge your members of Congress to protect the EITC and CTC by taking our online email action.


Got Twenty Minutes? Fill Out the RESULTS International Conference and Strategic Plan Survey

The last weeks, we have been urging volunteers and e-mail activists to fill out a survey about the recent RESULTS International Conference. The response rate has been pretty good but we want input from more of you. The survey is for all RESULTS volunteers and e-mail action network members, regardless of whether you attended the conference or not. For those of you who did attend, we need to know from you how we can improve the conference experience. For those of you who did not attend, we need to know what factors kept you from coming so we can hopefully remove some of those barriers next year.

However, the survey is not just about the conference. It also includes questions about our recently unveiled Strategic Plan. As we work to implement this bold plan, we need your help. The survey gives you the opportunity to identify ways you can help expand RESULTS’ reach and impact as we work to dramatically increase our grassroots presence here in the U.S. RESULTS has always valued the input of our volunteers in the work we do—in fact, none of this work would be possible without you. Please take a few minutes to help put your stamp on this blueprint and help make it a great success.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to fill out our International Conference and Strategic Plan Survey. Your input is invaluable so take a few moments to share your thoughts and ideas with us.


Join our Social Media Rapid Response Team — First Call Tomorrow Night

RESULTS is starting a Social Media Rapid Response team to further RESULTS' reach and impact. The Team, which will be 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 tomorrow, August 29 at 9pm ET. Dial (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579. Please RSVP to Laura Ochoa at [email protected].


Sign Your Local RESULTS Group onto CHN Letter; Invite Your MT and MA Contacts to Training Calls

As mentioned last week, our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs are circulating a letter to Congress urging members of Congress to protect important programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Head Start, child care, SNAP, and Medicaid from proposed or automatic deficit reduction cuts. To send a strong message to Congress about protecting low-income Americans and using a balanced approach to deficit reduction, CHN is looking to get as many national, state, and local organizations signed onto this letter as possible. Already 700 groups have signed on, but we want more than double that amount by the time the letter is sent in two weeks. We need you to sign your local RESULTS group onto the letter today.

In addition, CHN is hosting “drill down” training calls for Montana and Massachusetts advocates on September 4 and 5. These 60-minute trainings will focus on the critical choices before Congress and what you can do to ensure that poverty is not increased by these policy decisions. This call will feature policy analysis from leaders at the Coalition on Human Needs and grassroots expertise from our own Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns. If you or someone you know lives in MT or MA, please attend and invite others to attend these informative calls. Registration links for each call are listed below.

TAKE ACTION: If you have not done so already, please sign your local RESULTS group onto the SAVE Principles letter. You can sign onto the letter at the CHN website. Sign the letter as “RESULTS Buffalo” or “RESULTS Santa Fe” and click “Authorized” when asked if you have authorization to sign on. Be sure to send this out to other allies and groups in your community and urge them to sign on as well.

Also, please urge advocates in MT and MA to attend the CHN training calls next week. Here are the details and registration links:

In addition, you can send a letter to the editor to your local paper urging Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of low-income families. Use our online LTE action to send your letter today.


Quick News

Tell Representatives to Protect SNAP. A new report from the Gallup organization shows that for millions of American families, hunger is a still daily struggle. The reports showed that food hardship was 18.2 percent for the U.S. in the first six months of 2012. Despite this alarming number, both the House and Senate have proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) as part of their respective Farm Bills. That’s why key leaders in the House are circulating a Sense of the House Resolution, H.Res. 760 (full text), opposing cuts to SNAP cuts. Urge representatives to support H.Res 760 to send a strong message that cutting SNAP is wrong. House members' offices should contact Keith Stern at Rep. Jim McGovern's office at [email protected] to join as a sponsor. If you can’t make a call or your representative is already a co-sponsor, use our online email alert to tell Congress to protect SNAP.

Join CHN Poverty Data Webinar Next Week. Our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs are hosting a webinar on using the new census data. This annual training webinar is always informative. Speakers will show you how to find national and state data quickly; in fact, fast enough so you can make same-day comments to the press. The webinar is Thursday, September 6, 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm EDT. You can register for the webinar at the CHN website.

New Data Shows Middle Class Shrinking. A new report from the Pew Research Center confirms that America’s middle class is shrinking, while the share of people living on the low end of the economic ladder is growing. The report shows that the 2000s have been a lost decade for low- and middle income households. Middle class families have seen their median wealth decrease by 28 percent and low-income families saw theirs drop by a whopping 45 percent. Meanwhile, wealth for those at the top was unchanged. And who do people blame for this “lost decade?” Congress (62 percent of respondents said “a lot” of the blame rests with Congress). Remind Congress that their actions do impact the wealth of American families by urging them to support policies that help low-income Americans build wealth. Use our outreach action sheet to write a letter today.


Announcements

Join/Invite Others to RESULTS Intro Call Next Week. If you or others you know anywhere in the U.S. (particularly in MT and New England) might be interested in learning more about RESULTS, join our next our bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. These calls are great if you want to get a quick, basic understanding of RESULTS and our work. The next RESULTS Intro Call is Wednesday, September 5 at 9:00 pm ET. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) if you have questions about the call.

Join September Media Training Call. The U.S. Census will release its annual poverty data report on September 12. This release provides us a unique opportunity to generate powerful media coverage around issues of poverty. 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 and thank you to Chicago partners who had an afternoon fundraiser on Sunday at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate education campaign successes! Ireta Gasner from Ounce of Prevention spoke about Head Start and Cindy Changyit Levin shared one of our favorite grassroots stories about our global Education for All campaign. They were very excited about telling their stories to new donors including teachers and welcoming staff and board members from ONE, Microcredit Summit Campaign, and Bread for the World.

Please contact Beth Wilson at [email protected] if you know people in Alaska or Washington State who would like to attend these upcoming RESULTS fundraising events:

  • Seattle, WA on September 15
  • Bremerton/Kitsap, WA on September 16
  • Anchorage, AK on September 21
  • Sitka, AK on September 22
  • Tacoma, WA on September 26

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House: August 4 – September 9; October 7 – November 12. Senate: August 6 – September 7. Request face-to-face meetings.

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 (1:00 pm ET) – Monday, September 3: All RESULTS offices closed for Labor Day holiday.

Wednesday, September 5: RESULTS Introductory Call. 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

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, September 18: 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].

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.