U.S. Poverty Weekly Update February 28, 2012

I never meet a ragged boy in the street without feeling that I may owe him a salute, for I know not what possibilities may be buttoned up under his coat.

— President James A. Garfield

New and Urgent in This Weeks Update (2-10-20 Actions)

Each week, we highlight specific actions you can take based on what time you have available. We call them our 2-10-20 Actions (if you have two minutes, ten minutes or twenty minutes available). Click on the links below for details about each action.

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Post Your Online Friends & Family Link on Facebook

Our spring Friends & Family Fundraising Campaign kicked off last week. Many of you are choosing to use our new online fundraising tool to reach out to your contacts to donate to RESULTS. Don’t forget that “friends” can also include Facebook friends. Social networking sites are a great way to let people know about the work you do on behalf of people living in poverty and also build financial support for RESULTS.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to post your personal Friends & Family webpage on Facebook and invite people to give. Follow these simple directions to easily post it:

  1. Once you have created and finalized your individual webpage, log out of your individual page (you don’t want to be logged into the editing tool for this exercise).
  2. Go to the Friends & Family online homepage and search your name under “Search for Participants” and choose to “View” your page.
  3. Once you’re at your individual page, copy the URL from the address bar in your internet browser.
  4. Open your Facebook page and paste the URL into your “Update Status” bar. Be sure to include a brief message urging people to visit your Friends & Family page and to give to RESULTS.
  5. Be sure to do this periodically throughout the month of March, providing people updates on your progress and urging those who haven’t already donated to give.

For more information about the Friends & Family Campaign, please see our Fundraising Update section below. And don’t forget that the individual as well as the team that raise the most money online by March 31 with our Friends and Family Campaign will win one free IC registration!


Follow Up on Your Meeting Requests (February Action)

The House and Senate return to Washington, DC this week after the President’s Day recess. Thank you to all of you who put in requests to meet with members of Congress during the recess. If you did have a meeting or attended a town hall, please be sure to let the RESULTS Domestic staff know how it went. Also, be sure to follow up from your meeting by sending a thank you note to the people you met with. Be sure to reiterate your requests and include any other information you may have agreed to send in your meeting.

However, not everyone was successful in getting meetings for this recess. We know that these meetings can sometimes be hard to come by. Unfortunately, one request letter or phone call rarely secures that coveted meeting. Members of Congress are inundated with information and requests on a daily basis, so one request while still important can easily get lost in the shuffle. That’s why we have to be respectfully persistent in our efforts. Following up on our requests by calling the scheduler to make sure our request was received and to check on its status must be standard operating procedure in our work. The key is to follow up regularly until you get a definitive YES or NO on your request.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to follow up on the February Action. Contact schedulers to check on your request for a face-to-face meeting with House and Senate members when they are home. The House will be on recess March 9-18 and again March 30-April 15. The Senate will be on recess April 2-15. You can find schedulers’ names and contact info on our Elected Officials page. Here is a script you can use for your follow-up calls:

Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. _________________  from _________________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, representing volunteer activists in our area. I submitted a request on ______________ for our local RESULTS group to meet face-to-face with Rep./Sen. _________________. I am following up to see if you received that request and to check on the status of it. I am hoping we can schedule a time to meet with him/her during one of the upcoming recesses in March or April. 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 that break the cycle of poverty and investments in early childhood development programs. What times would he be available to meet?

The February Action also has tips on scheduling a meeting, as well as talking points for each of our major issues. In your meetings, be sure to take our 2012 Request and Background sheets. These one-page "leave behinds" are summaries of our 2012 requests and background on each issue. We have sheets covering low-income tax credits, the Saver’s Bonus, and Head Start and child care.

Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you and your group prepare for your meeting(s).


Register for the International Conference and Start Making Travel Plans

The middle of April has two significant deadlines that affect us all. And both can have an impact on our wallets. The first, of course, is paying our taxes. The other is Early Bird registration for the RESULTS International Conference. Between now and April 16, you can register for the conference at the amazing rate of only $150. If you’ve ever attended a conference in Washington, DC before, you know how expensive they can get. $150 is a great deal, especially for all you’ll be getting. Four days of inspiring speakers, top-notch skill-building, connecting with old friends and making new ones, and of course, having an exciting and empowering day on Capitol Hill. Isn’t all that and more worth $150? You betcha! (See current agenda for more details about the conference, which will continue to be updated.)

Once you’ve registered for the conference, start planning your trip right away. We want to do all we can to help make your conference experience memorable and affordable. First, make your reservation at the DoubleTree Hotel in Crystal City now. RESULTS has a discounted rate of $155 per room plus tax (this is for one or two people per room; there is a $20 per person fee if there are more than two people in a room). The great thing is that you don’t have to pay until you actually get to the conference. This rate applies until July 2 or until our block of rooms fill up. Make it easy for yourself by reserving your room today.

In addition to the discounted registration and room fees, AirTran Airlines is offering a ten percent discount to people traveling to our conference. Download the airline agreement for more information. Also, travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, Southwest, and others offer discounted flights, especially if you make your reservation well in advance. If you are closer to DC, Amtrak, Megabus, and Greyhound offer affordable travel options as well. With gas prices expected to rise over the next few months, it makes sense to secure your travel sooner rather than later when prices could be higher.

Finally, RESULTS does have some financial assistance available for conference attendees. The Karen McQuillen Fund was created years ago to help offer assistance to people attending the RESULTS International Conference. The scholarship is limited so if you need help with conference expenses, apply as soon as possible. Contact Meredith Dodson at [email protected] for more information. Also, REAL Change Scholarship offers a great opportunity for 18-25 year olds to come to the conference. If eligible and selected, persons participating in the REAL Change program will have most of their conference expenses covered, not to mention a fabulous conference experience. Find out more about the REAL Change Scholarship on the RESULTS website.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes and start your 2012 RESULTS International Conference experience:

  1. Register for the conference today to take advantage of the Early Bird Registration discount of $150 (ends April 16).
  2. Reserve your room at the DoubleTree Hotel – Crystal City to secure your discounted room rate of $155 plus tax (ends July 2).
  3. Start looking at travel options via air, train, bus or car and make your reservations as early as possible.

We are looking to make this the best RESULTS conference ever and we want you to be part of it. We look forward to seeing you there!


Urge Lawmakers to Protect Early Learning Services (March Action Preview)

In March, following the release of the President’s FY 2013 budget proposal, Congress will begin its work on next year’s budget. The House is expected to release its budget in mid-March. This budget is expected to look similar to the infamous “Ryan plan” released last year (named for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1). Rep. Ryan’s FY 2013 budget will likely again include substantial cuts and structural changes to many of the programs RESULTS supports such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the EITC, Child Tax Credit (CTC) and others. It will also likely include substantial cuts to non-defense domestic discretionary programs. This category of programs includes Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG).

RESULTS and our allies pushed back hard against such proposals in 2011. Because of these efforts, Head Start and child care were spared to deep cuts that other programs received. We want to make sure that we continue that momentum.

While we still strongly support expanding Head Start and child care services for all eligible children, we know that we again face a tough budget environment, which is exacerbated by this being an election year. As such, we will push hard to protect the services from reckless budget cuts. Specifically, we are looking to:

  • Increase funding for Head Start and Early Head Start by $325 million over the FY 2012 levels. This allows for a more substantial cost of living increase that reflects costs of keeping qualified staff.
  • Increase funding for CCDBG by $825 million over FY 2012 levels. This will help make up some ground lost last year when some of the CCDBG slots created in 2009 and 2010 were cut.

As the budget process gets underway in Congress, our March Action will focus on contacting representatives and senators and urging them to tell appropriators to fund Head Start and child care at the above levels. In addition to protecting existing services, these levels will help build support and momentum to expand quality early childhood services to all eligible children and families in the future.

TAKE ACTION: Be ready to take the March Action (available on March 5). Call or write your representatives and senators about protecting critical early learning investments. Specifically, tell them to speak to House Labor-HHS subcommittee chair Denny Rehberg (D-MT-AL) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT- 3) and Senate Labor-HHS subcommittee chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) and urge them to increase funding for Head Start and Early Head Start by $325 million in FY 2013 and increased funding for CCDBG by $825 million in FY 2013. See our Head Start and child care request and background sheet for additional information.


Fundraising Update — Friends & Family News

A big thank you to RESULTS Louisville volunteers for holding the first fundraising event of the year! Building on our karaoke tradition from the RESULTS International Conference, they held their event at a karaoke bar and even had U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth in attendance (although he did not sing). They a raised about $1000 and had a lot of great one-on-one conversations with their guests about RESULTS. Best of all, they had an absolute blast doing it. This is just another great example of RESULTS volunteers making their fundraising events creative and fun. Congratulations, Louisville!

Our Friends & Family fundraising campaign launched on last week and we're off to a great start. Forty people have registered with fundraising webpages and have already raised over $3,200. Sandra Eagle is our top earner so far with $600 and her Coastal Connecticut Team is in first place with $1161. Great work! This puts us at nearly twenty percent of our $30,000 goal with 5 weeks left to go. Help keep the momentum going by sending out your mailed letters, following up with more Tweets, Facebook updates, and most importantly, personal phone calls. To help, please use these support materials:

Finally, a few people have experienced difficulty changing the text on their page and we have been able to quickly assist and get them back on track. If you are having any sort of difficulty using the online fundraising tool, please immediately contact Cindy Levin at [email protected] or (773) 236-7758.

Thank you all again for your support of our Friends & Family Campaign. Keep up the great work!


Quick News

$aveUSA Helps Low-Income Americans Save $1 million. Earlier this month, the $aveUSA program announced that it has already helped low-income clients build nearly $1 million is savings. $aveUSA was created in 2011 as an extension of $aveNYC, New York City’s savings program similar to the Saver’s Bonus. Participants who enrolled in the program agreed to save all or part of their tax refund in a designated saving product. After one year, if they still retained their initial deposit of $200, they received a match from the city of the amount they had saved (up to a certain amount). The program was such a success, in 2011 it was expanded to Tulsa, Newark and San Antonio and renamed $aveUSA. Since then, the program has helped create over 1,600 accounts! The success of $aveUSA once again shows that the Saver’s Bonus can work. Help build support for the Saver’s Bonus by taking our online e-mail action.

New Report Highlights ARRA Impact on Jobs. As many of you know, RESULTS’ work in 2012 is focused on protecting expansions of the EITC, CTC, Head Start and child care that were part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the economic recovery bill passed by Congress in early 2009. ARRA’s impacts have been widely debated since it was passed. However, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that ARRA is still making positive impacts on the U.S. economy. The report shows that in December, 2011, ARRA helped create between 300,000 and 2 million jobs. The report also shows that ARRA also boosted work hours. This bolsters the consensus from most credible economists that ARRA protected the economy from falling into another Great Depression and is continuing to have positive impacts. See more about ARRA in this video from the Center for American Progress. For a comprehensive and balanced analysis of ARRA and its impacts, consider reading “Money Well Spent?” by Michael Grabell.

New Data Shows More Children Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty. A new “snapshot’ report from Kids Count shows that the number of American children living in areas of concentrated poverty is growing. Concentrated poverty is defined as an area with at least a 30 percent of the residents living below the poverty line ($22,314 for a family of four in 2010). Census data shows that between 2006 and 2010, the number of children living in these areas reached nearly 8 million, an increase from 9 to 11 percent. As the report notes, “Research has shown that even when family income is held constant, families living in areas of concentrated poverty are more likely to struggle to meet their children’s basic material needs. They are more likely to face food hardship, have trouble paying their housing costs, and lack health insurance than those living in more affluent areas. Children living in areas of concentrated poverty are also more likely to experience harmful levels of stress and severe behavioral and emotional problems than children overall.”


RESULTS International Conference — We Have a Winner

Thank you to everyone who submitted their video testimonials on why they are attending the RESULTS International Conference this year. We received amazing submissions for our contest looking for the best video testimonial about why the conference is a great experience and why you think everyone should attend. You should check them out on the RESULTS website. We loved watching every one of these creative videos, but only one person could win the free conference registration. After much debate, we are pleased to announce that RESULTS activist Rob Marshall from Georgia is our winner! You can see his video here. Even though the contest is now over, we still would love to see your videos. We’re planning on showing the videos at the conference so please submit your testimonial as to why you are attending this year’s conference and why other should too. You can send your submission to Jennifer Maurer at [email protected].


Announcements

Send in Your Group Plans. Most RESULTS U.S. Poverty Groups have completed their group plan meeting but only a few have submitted their plans. We are eager to see what inspiring goals you have set for yourselves in 2012. Please submit your final Group Plan Summary form to your group members, Regional Coordinator and Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) as soon as possible.

Register for the Next RESULTS Intro Call. If you know anyone interested in learning more about RESULTS (or you’re interested yourself), please urge them to register for our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These calls are ideal for people looking for a way to put their passion for justice in action with RESULTS. Our next RESULTS Intro Call is next Wednesday, March 7 at 9:00 pm ET. People can register at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. Also, we’re working to start new groups in Rochester, NY, Montana, Maine and Massachusetts. If you know anyone in these or other places around the U.S. and would like to connect them with RESULTS, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Team.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House recesses, March 9-18, March 30-April 15. Senate recess, April 2-13. Request face-to-face meetings!

Wednesday, March 7: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Saturday, March 10: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

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.