U.S. Poverty Weekly Update January 22, 2013

The commitments we make to each other... do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

— President Barack Obama, Second Inauguration speech, January 21, 2013

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Take Action to Protect Hungry Children and Families

In the gap between requesting your face-to-face meetings this month and waiting to get them scheduled, take a few minutes to tell Congress to protect people struggling with hunger. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is the first line of defense against hunger in the U.S. It currently serves 47 million people each month, half of them children. And it works. Researchers at Iowa State University have released new data that shows that SNAP reduces hunger in children by 20 percent and poor health by 35 percent. Despite this success, some in Congress are targeting SNAP for significant cuts as a way to reduce the deficit. Last summer, the Senate passed $4.5 billion in cuts to SNAP and the House proposed $16.5 billion in cuts. These proposals only serve to push hundreds of thousands (if not millions) off SNAP and making hunger in America worse. Tell your members of Congress that SNAP is working — protect and strengthen SNAP!

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to e-mail Congress about protecting SNAP in deficit reduction negotiations. As members of Congress work to resolve important budget issues in the coming weeks, they need to hear from you about the importance of successful and effective programs like SNAP. With that message, these programs will get cut. Use the RESULTS online SNAP alert to e-mail your senators and representatives today!


Got Ten Minutes? Keep Following Up on Your Face-to-Face Meeting Requests (January Action)

Last week, the Huffington Post published an informative and sobering article about addressing poverty in President Obama’s second term. With both parties looking to reduce the deficit yet both mired in political gridlock, anti-poverty advocates face an uphill climb. During the presidential campaign, very little was said about poverty in America (and when it was, it was used as justification for more budget cuts). "So much of the focus has been on the middle class, because it sounds better on the campaign trail. But the problem is not just about the middle class. It’s about the poor and how do we lift them. Poverty is a real issue and it’s a shameful one," said Meizhu Lui, Director Emeritus of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in Oakland, CA.

Unfortunately, most politicians would rather not talk about poverty unless it is used as a club to attack an opponent. It is time that our elected leaders stopped demonizing and ignoring people living in poverty and started listening to them. That’s why our face-to-face meetings are so important. If they won’ talk about poverty, then we will. It is time we had a national conversation about poverty and how to solve. You can get that conversations started now by meeting with your members of Congress as soon as possible.

TAKE ACTION: The House will be on recess January 28 – February 1 and both the House and Senate will be on recess February 18–22. Take ten minutes to follow up on your face-to-face meeting requests, per the January Action. We’ve already had one face-to-face meeting in 2013 (Bernardsville, NJ), with another one scheduled for next week (Des Moines, IA). Add your name to that list by submitting your face-to-face request and then following up with your House and Senate schedulers to get them on the calendar. Review our January 2013 Laser Talk for a sample conversation between a volunteer and scheduler. You can also listen to a recording of the January 2013 RESULTS National Conference Call and download the conference call PowerPoint presentation (pdf); both contain helpful information about protecting anti-poverty programs and requesting face-to-face meetings.

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 and requests to use in your meeting.


Got Twenty Minutes? Have You Had Your Group Planning Meeting Yet?

Have you scheduled your group planning meeting yet? If so, have you completed your Individual Planning Form before your meeting? January is the time when RESULTS groups plan their yearly advocacy agenda. It is an important process because putting goals and strategies to pen and paper make them real and achievable. As the old adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. RESULTS is here to help you succeed in the both the planning and executing of your 2013 goals. Download these materials to use in your group planning this month:

  • 2013 Group Planning Guide: This helps you understand the group planning process and have an effective run your planning meeting.
  • 2013 Individual Planning Form: This allows you to set your individual goals for the year and then use them to help form your group plan. Complete this form before your meeting and bring it with you.
  • 2013 Group Planning Summary: This helps you document your group plan. Once completed, make copies for your group members and send a copy to your Regional Coordinator
  • 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary: This provides a summary of our 2013 legislative agenda to use as you plan.

You can find these and other 2013 Group Planning materials on the RESULTS website. Also, please be sure to review our updated U.S. Poverty Campaigns page, which outlines the areas we will be focusing on legislatively in 2013.

As you get set to do your group plans, we strongly urge you to read this excellent op-ed, “How We Can Truly Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”, by Children’s Defense Fund founder and RESULTS Board member Marian Wright Edelman. It is a call to action for anyone who cares about vulnerable individuals and families and will provide you wonderful inspiration as you plan on how you can help end poverty in America.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to complete the 2013 Individual Planning Sheet. Bring your completed form to your group planning meeting this month to incorporate into your group’s 2013 plan. Once you’ve completed your group plan, please make sure to send a copy to your Regional Coordinator. As you work to set your individual and group goals, keep in mind the grassroots goals we’ve set for 2013 (these goals include both RESULTS Global and U.S. Poverty volunteers):

  1. Work with existing RESULTS groups, Free Agents, and the RESULTS Expansion Team to achieve coverage of 250 congressional districts and 45 states
  2. Meet face-to-face with every member of Congress RESULTS covers
  3. Develop and pilot an on-going Group Leader training program to build leadership throughout the grassroots
  4. Improve relationship building with conservative members of Congress
  5. Expand grassroots media by 50 percent, and increase the number of groups that generate media and have relationships with editorial writers

Finally, please do not hesitate to ask for help as you do group planning. RESULTS staff and regional coordinators are here to help you in any way we can.


Invite Tax Aides to EITC Briefing THIS THURSDAY in Washington, DC

This Thursday, RESULTS is proud to cosponsor an EITC Awareness Day briefing in Washington, DC. This briefing is great opportunity to educate lawmakers and their staff about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and how it helps families work, pay for basic necessities, and become more financially secure. Although recent improvements to the EITC and Child Tax Credit (CTC) were extended as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal, threats still remain. If Congress decides to take up tax reform or look to cut low-income programs to save money, the EITC and CTC could be cut. Keep the importance of low-income tax credits fresh in the minds of members of Congress by inviting them and their staff to attend this important event.

TAKE ACTION: Invite House and Senate tax aides to the EITC Awareness Day congressional briefing in Washington, DC. The briefing is next Thursday, January 24, 10:00–11:00 am ET in the 385 Russell Senate Office Building. You can find the names of your House and Senate tax aides on RESULTS’ Elected Officials page. Be sure to download and forward them the flyer with all the event details.

Once you’ve invited your tax aides to the event, take a few minutes and use our online e-mail alert to send a message to your members of Congress reminding them of the importance of the EITC and CTC and urge them to protect these important credits in deficit reduction negotiations.


Join RESULTS Intro Call This Friday at 1 pm ET

If you are new to RESULTS or know someone who might be interested in learning more about our work, please invite them to an upcoming RESULTS Introductory Call. These bimonthly 30 minute calls are great for learning more about RESULTS and how you can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is Friday, January 25 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for an upcoming Intro call, go to www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/ and sign up today.

Also, because of popular demand, we have scheduled another RESULTS Website Training call. If you want to learn how to better navigate the RESULTS website, join us for this helpful website tour. Please plan to be in front of your computer during the call. The call is Wednesday, February 13 at 8:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP or send questions to Jos Linn at [email protected].


Quick News

See New Resources from NPP. Our friends at the National Priorities Project provide expert information about the federal budget. This information is invaluable to RESULTS volunteers and other advocates. They have just released a new Federal Budget Timeline, which provides a chronological overview of the federal budget over the next year. They also provide a summary of the four major budget issues facing Congress in the coming months. As you prepare to meet with members of Congress in the next few weeks and months, use these resources to help you prepare. You can also take action by using our online e-mail alert to urge Congress to protect tax credits for working families in budget negotiations.

Join CHN Webinar on Budget Negotiations Next Monday. Join our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs and the National Women’s Law Center for a webinar on the on-going budget and deficit reduction negotiations in Washington, DC. You’ll learn about the recent “fiscal cliff” deal and its impact on low-income Americans and what to expect next as the debt ceiling, sequestration, and expiration of the current federal budget approaches. The webinar will be very helpful in getting you up-to-date on the latest from DC and help with preparing you for your face-to-face meetings. The webinar is Monday, January 28 at 1:30 pm ET. You can register at the CHN website.

Tavis Smiley Event Now Online. For those of you who missed Vision for a New America event last week hosted by NPR’s Tavis Smiley, which attendees said was very informative and inspiring, you can watch the event on the C-SPAN website.

Greg Kaufmann Article Calls for Anti-poverty Contract. Last year, RESULTS began highlighting The Nation’s Greg Kaufmann and his “This Week in Poverty” blog. The blog is designed to raise awareness of poverty issues and push citizens and lawmakers to take action to end poverty in the U.S. His latest piece calls for an Anti-poverty Contract for 2013, which includes raising the minimum wage, ending childhood hunger, and promoting access to child care. Kaufmann is looking to further the conversation about poverty and help those creating the political will to end it (like RESULTS) create more of it. He even highlights our January Action about requesting face-to-face meetings. Read his blog and then send a letter to the editor about the importance of early childhood education in reducing poverty.


Announcements

Congratulations Montana Advocates! We salute RESULTS Montana advocates for some impressive media success they achieved right before the holidays. Advocates in northwest Montana, who have been meeting together to take action for the last several months, submitted letters to the editor to several major newspapers in Montana about protecting the EITC and CTC in fiscal cliff negotiations. Their work paid off. In the span of four days, they got three letters published in the Missoulian, The Montana Standard, and the Billings Gazette. Congratulations, Montana! You can join them in their success by sending your own letter to the editor urging Congress to protect the social safety net in budget negotiations.

Vote for New Grassroots Board Member. We have 4 candidates for the open Grassroots Board seat. Please vote for one of the candidates by Feb. 7. Candidates are: Rob Marshall of Atlanta, Mary Albertson of Detroit, Beth Wilson of Gig Harbor in Washington State, and Frank Gilbert of Louisville. Please consider their statements and bios and vote today.

Blog, Tweet, and Facebook: RESULTS is Everywhere! Remember in the new year to be part of all the RESULTS buzz through social media. We have our own blog, we’re on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RESULTSEdFund), and we tweet (@RESULTS_Tweets)! Comment, retweet, and share with those you know!


Fundraising Update

A big thank you to the RESULTS Washington, DC group for holding the first RESULTS fundraiser of 2013! Last Wednesday, they hosted a fun night out at a board-game-themed bar called "Board Room DC" and raised over $2,500. They used tools like our Save-the-Date graphic and a website to collect donations, which you can see on their event website.

We’re excited to announce that Chicago is planning a fundraising house party and Salt Lake City is planning a major fundraising event with Prof. Muhammad Yunus, who will also be speaking at the 2013 RESULTS International Conference. Both of those exciting events are happening in March. As you do group planning meetings this month, please include your 2013 fundraising goals in your group plan. For assistance in planning or to learn more about the Chicago and Salt Lake City events, please contact RESULTS Grassroots Development Associate Cindy Levin at [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House: January 28 – February 1, February 18–22. Senate: February 18–22. Request face-to-face meetings.

Thursday, January 24: EITC Awareness Day Briefing, 10:00 am ET. Invite tax aides to attend this event at 385 Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

Friday, January 25: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Saturday, February 9: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Wednesday, February 13: RESULTS Website Training, 8:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Jos Linn at [email protected].

Tuesday, February 19: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587# (RESULTS#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Saturday, July 20 – Tuesday, July 23: 2013 RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC.


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 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.