U.S. Poverty Weekly Update February 4, 2014
New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
Latest from Washington, DC
This Saturday, RESULTS volunteers will gather from around the country for our monthly U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. As we complete our 2013 work on protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps),
this month we’re going to build off the amazing media success you created in 2013. Our February Action focuses on generating op-eds about expanding economic mobility to all Americans (see more below). For our call this weekend, we are pleased to have Margot Friedman as our guest speaker. Margot is a media specialist and the principal at DuPont Circle Communications, a full-service communications firm specializing in writing opinion editorials for nonprofit organizations. Margot has assisted authors with opinion editorials that were published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Newsweek’s “My Turn,” Politico, The Huffington Post, and many other outlets. She will share with us her tips on getting op-eds published. This is an important call as it will set the tone for the rest of our work in 2014. We hope you will join us.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, February 8 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709 and once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call. We will have the February 2014 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. You will find them on the RESULTS Home Page in the “Take Action” box in the top right-hand corner.
After 13 months of work to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), it’s done. Last week, House and Senate Farm Bill negotiators released their proposed final Farm Bill. To no one’s surprise, it included an $8.6 billion cut to SNAP, primarily through rolling back state “Heat and Eat” programs (for an overview of the nutrition-related provisions in the bill, see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis). The House took up the bill on January 29 and passed it 251-166. The Senate voted earlier today and passed the bill, 68-32. It now goes to the president who is expected to sign it into law. RESULTS did not support the Farm Bill because of the cuts to SNAP. See RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson’s thoughts on the new Farm Bill in this RESULTS Blog post.
While we are disappointed in the cuts in the final bill, there is still much to be grateful for when compared to what many members of Congress wanted to do to SNAP. Cuts to SNAP started at $135 billion in the House 2014 budget, then to $40 billion in the House SNAP bill, and ended up at $8.6 billion in the final Farm Bill. Your advocacy work and the work of our allies in this work made that happen. Without your perseverance, the Farm Bill would look a whole lot worse for SNAP.
So thank you. Thank you for your patience, your compassion, and your determination. Thank you for your advocacy, your outreach, and your focus. Because of you, 3.7 million Americans will continue to receive SNAP benefits and put food on their table. Because of you, millions of SNAP families will not be subject to degrading and patronizing drug tests. Because of you, many homeless Americans will continue to get SNAP, which may be their only source of support.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to sit down, reflect, and thank yourselves for the work you’ve done to protect Americans living in hunger. Outcomes in advocacy are never perfect but when working with people like you day and day out – people who give their time, energy, and money to help others – they are always inspiring. Thank you.
In addition to giving yourselves a much-deserved pat on the back, be sure to those who helped you in your communities. Send a thank you to your local Action Networks. updating them on the Farm Bill and thanking them for helping protect SNAP over the last year. You might send something like this:
Thank You! I wanted to take a few minutes to express our gratitude to you for helping protect millions of American individuals and families from cruel cuts to food stamps (now called SNAP). While the final Farm Bill does include some cuts to SNAP, things could have been a lot worse. Because of the actions you took – sending e-mails, making phone calls, alerting the media – nearly 4 million Americans will be putting food in their stomachs this month instead of facing empty plates at the dinner table. Please know that our local RESULTS group values your partnership in this work. We look forward to working with you again soon as there is certainly more to do. But for how, we thank you all.
Got Twenty Minutes? Generate Media about Expanding Economic Mobility (February Action)
As we wrap up our work on SNAP, we now move forward on our 2014 agenda. The last few years, we’ve had to play a lot of defense – protecting important programs like SNAP, Head Start, and the Earned Income Tax Credit from deep cuts. Defense is good (just ask Seahawks fans) but it’s time to play some offense again. It’s time to be more proactive in moving closer to our goal of ending poverty rather reactive to next threat coming down the pike.
The details of our RESULTS 2014 U.S. Poverty Campaigns will be available later this month, once our Board gives final approval to our proposal. However, we do know that it’s going to focus around the idea of expanding economic mobility. Recently, Harvard researchers found that economic mobility in the U.S. has remained stagnant for the last 50 years. Children born into poverty today have no better chance of rising up the economic ladder than their grandparents did. If America truly wants to live up to the ideal of the American Dream – that anyone can be a success – this must change. For our work, this means that low-income Americans need to earn enough to make ends meet, they need to be able to stay on their feet and not be punished for their success, and they need to be able to save for the future to build a better life for themselves and their children.
This month, we’ll use the media to get this conversation started. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, which provides an excellent “hook” to get the media’s attention. Our goal is to get 15 op-eds printed in local media outlets around the country talking about the importance of expanding economic mobility and building ladders out of poverty. The February Action has all the talking points and background information you need to write a powerful op-ed (or letter to the editor if you’re pressed for time). It even has a sample op-ed you can use. course, the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Staff is also here to help you.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to draft an op-ed about the War on Poverty and our need to expand economic mobility in America. Tell readers that when families can earn what they need, stay on their feet, and save for the future, we all succeed. We encourage each member of your local RESULTS group to submit an op-ed. We also recommend you be strategic in whom you submit it to. Instead of everyone in your group submitting their pieces to the same paper, pick and choose different outlets in addition to your local paper. Look to other papers in your state, weekly papers, alternative papers, radio and TV, popular blogs, and even national papers like USA Today, The New York Times, or The Washington Post (although know that it is harder to get published in these papers). The key is to get the message in as many outlets as you can.
The February Action has all the resources you need to draft your op-ed. If you need help with drafting, editing, or coaching on submitting your op-ed, please contact RESULTS Grassroots Manager Jos Linn at [email protected] for assistance. We’ll have more about the February Action and how to get op-eds published on our February National Conference Call this Saturday.
We’ve hit the 50 percent mark for submitted 2014 Group Plans. Woo-hoo! Thank you to all the groups who completed and submitted their plans over the last month. Now let’s finish it and get the rest of your 2014 RESULTS Group Plans in. If your group has not met to do Group Planning yet, please take time right after Saturday’s National Conference Call to do it. If not then, please schedule a time next week to meet and complete your plan. Remember, this is very important for your and our success this year – we can’t support you in meeting your goals if we don’t know what they are. J
You can find all the Group Planning materials on our Group Resources page. Also, listen to the recording of our January 2014 National Conference Call for a run-through and tips for doing Group Planning. Once you’ve done your planning, please submit a copy of your 2014 Group Planning Summary to Jos Linn at [email protected]. Please send in your plans today!
Last week, RESULTS sponsored a briefing with the National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) and others about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It was held in conjunction with national EITC Awareness Day (January 31). The event featured policy experts, local advocates, and service providers, sharing stories about the success and importance of the EITC in helping working families. The event also featured an inspiring story from R. Camille Harry, a school teacher from Maryland, about how the EITC has helped her family. You can read a full recap of the briefing from NCTC.
Thank you to all of you who contacted tax aides in your congressional offices, asking them to attend the event. Here is a list of the offices by state who sent someone to the briefing: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), Mike Honda (D-CA-17), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA-20), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rep. John Larson (D-CT-1), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-5), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY-3), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA-7), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN-5), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6), Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY-13), and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23).
TAKE ACTION: If your tax aide attended the event, follow up with a thank you and urge them to talk to their bosses about protecting and expanding the EITC. If your aide did not attend, take action using our online e-mail alert to tell Congress to protect and expand the EITC and tax credits for low-income Americans in tax reform. For a refresher on the EITC, Child Tax Credit, and Financial Security Credit, see our 2013 Economic Opportunity PowerPoint.
Members of Congress will be on recess the week of February 17. This is a great time to meet with them to talk about expanding economic mobility in America. If you have not submitted a face-to-face request, please do so today. If you have, follow up with your House and Senate schedulers to check on the status of your request. If you are part of a RESULTS group, the point persons for each member of Congress should handle this. You can find scheduler names and contact information on our Elected Officials page. See our updated meeting request form to print off letters to each of your congressional offices (please customize your letters before printing).
Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]). Meredith will help you prepare for your meeting with personalized coaching for your member of Congress and materials to take with you.
Asset Poverty Still Way Too High. Also last week, the Corporation for Enterprise Development released its 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard. It shows that the asset poverty rate for the U.S. was 25 percent in 2011. This means that, if faced with a job loss or other financial crisis, nearly a quarter of Americans would not have enough assets to survive above the poverty line for more than three months. When focused on liquid assets (cash or assets that can be converted to cash quickly), the rate jumps to 43 percent. This is a sobering statistic and one more lawmakers should be familiar with. Use the Scorecard to find out how you state ranks and then send it to tax aides in your House and Senate offices. Then urge them to help families build assets by urging your members of Congress to support the Financial Security Credit. You can use our online e-mail alert to send your message today.
Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Has Deadly Cost. Harvard researchers released a study that shows the in the states rejecting the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, up to 17,000 people could lose their lives. According to the researchers, “we predict that many low-income women will forego recommended breast and cervical cancer screening; diabetics will forego medications, and all low-income adults will face a greater likelihood of depression, catastrophic medical expenses, and death.”
Listen to Women Succeed Town Hall Recording. Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), and others held a “Tele-Town Hall” to talk issues important to women in today’s economy, such as equal pay, paid leave, and child care. This was an informative discussion and if you missed it, you can listen to a recording of the call online.
For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary on the RESULTS website (our 2014 Campaigns Summary will be available later this month).
Looking for an easy fundraiser for your group? Invite your friends to skip the fancy February 14 date night out and donate what they would have spent to RESULTS/REF with our "Valentine's Date Night IN!" online fundraising site! Their contributions can be gifts of love for the children of the world who need vaccines, adequate nutrition, and quality education. Set your own goal and send out silly Facebook and Twitter updates about why people should stay in on the 14th and donate to RESULTS. Visit www.tinyurl.com/2014RESULTSLOVE to create your personal fundraising page. Contact Cindy Levin if you have questions.
Providing More flexibility for the 2014 Friends & Family Campaign. We listened to our grassroots, we analyzed the data, and we have a brand new strategy to share with you for our 2014 Friends and Family Campaign. Instead of a month-long effort, the 2014 Friends & Family Campaign will be an ongoing campaign from February to October. It begins with our "Valentine's Date Night IN!" online fundraising site. Donations to RESULTS/REF solicited by volunteers via fundraising letter writing, emails, or webpages will count towards our overall $25,000 goal for personal fundraising appeals to friends and family. See our blog about it for more details and contact Cindy Levin to discuss how your group can best participate this year. Thank you for your continued support in our fundraising efforts!
Help Us Expand RESULTS Into New Areas. RESULTS has a goal of expanding into new Congressional districts, and in 2014 a team of RESULTS volunteer Regional Coordinators have a goal of starting 20 new global groups from our existing expansion network, and 10 new US poverty groups. Join our February webinar on Wednesday, February 26 at 9:00 pm ET to discuss some of the best practices for starting new RESULTS groups and recruiting new activists. The call will focus on how to tell stories about our involvement with RESULTS and practicing how to add a sense of “urgency” based on our current campaigns. To join, go to http://fuze.me/22978863 or dial: (201) 479-4595, meeting number: 22978863.
Join our Monthly Media Support Call. Want to be part of the on-going support that’s available to help you reach your media goals? Join this monthly call for inspiration and ideas to keep you going. The next Media Support Call is Tuesday, February 18 at 8:00 pm ET, 712-775-7300 Passcode 954747#. If you have questions, please contact Ginnie Vogts at [email protected].
Join and/or Invite Others to February Intro Calls. If you or someone you know wants to learn more about RESULTS and how you can get involved, we invite you to join on of our bi-monthly Intro Calls. These 30-45 minutes calls provide an overview of RESULTS’ work and how you can join our effort to end poverty. All are welcome. Our February calls are Wednesday, February 12 at 9:00 pm ET and Friday, February 28 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for an upcoming call, go to http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.
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].
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: February 17-21. Request face-to-face meetings.
Saturday, February 8: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Wednesday, February 12: 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/.
Monday, February 17: Happy Presidents’ Day! All RESULTS office closed.
Tuesday, February 18: Media Support Call, 8:00 pm ET. 712-775-7300 Passcode 954747#.
Tuesday, February 18: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.
Wednesday, February 26: Webinar for expanding RESULTS into new areas, 9:00 pm ET. Go to http://fuze.me/22978863 or dial: (201) 479-4595, meeting number: 22978863.
Saturday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. More details soon.
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:
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.