U.S. Poverty Weekly Update January 7, 2014

This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America… It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.

— President Lyndon B. Johnson, January 8, 1964

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Join the RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET (January Action)

Happy New Year! RESULTS hopes that all of you had a very happy holiday season and that your 2014 has gotten off to a great start. With the New Year comes our first National Conference Call of the year. The call is this Saturday, where we will focus on group planning. Group planning is the process RESULTS groups and Free Agents go through each January, mapping out their advocacy and outreach goals for the year. For this weekend’s call, we will help your group do group planning while on the call. Be sure to have your forms with you on Saturday (see below). In addition, we’ll update you with the latest on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps. Join us for on Saturday for a fun and informative first call of 2014.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call this Saturday, January 11 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. On the call itself, be sure to:

  1. Have your completed Individual Planning Form with you (see more below), AND
  2. Have at least one copy of the Group Planning Summary (for the while group) available to fill out.

You can also download the Group Planning Guide to have available. You can find all these resources on our Group Resources page on the RESULTS website. We will have the January 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.

If you're not able to participate in the call this weekend with your group, please send your completed Individual Planning Form to your group leader before the call.


Got Ten Minutes? Fill Out Your 2014 Individual Planning Form before Saturday’s Group Planning Session (January Action)

As mentioned above, we’ll be focusing on 2014 Group Planning on this Saturday’s RESULTS National Conference Call. Group Planning is a process where all RESULTS groups and Free Agents set their goals for the year and the ways they plan to meet them. We do this every January; it is an important process that has helped RESULTS create our legislative, outreach, and media successes over the years.

The first step in Group Planning is for you individually to decide what you want to accomplish in 2014. This is one of the fun things about Group Planning. For this exercise, the sky’s the limit. You get to decide what you want to do this year and then bring that to the table with your group on Saturday. This is a very important step because your individual goals will help shape your group goals. Don’t leave anything out – your goals may be something others in your group did not think of. There’s no better way to help your group be stronger and more effective than including your aspirations in the mix.

RESULTS makes this easy by providing you a quick, easy Individual Planning Form for you to use. Simply download the form, fill it out, and bring it to the call on Saturday. You’ll use it with your group on the call itself. All of our 2014 Group Planning resources are available on the RESULTS website.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes fill out the 2014 Individual Planning Form. This one-page lets you reflect on your successes from this year, your hopes for the coming year, and concrete actions you’d like to see taken in 2014. The January Action has resources to help you with Group Planning this month. Each group member and Free Agent should fill out this form; it will be used during the Group Planning session we’ll conduct on this Saturday’s National Conference Call. (Note: for U.S. Poverty Free Agents, we’ll do group planning on our calls later this month).

We also encourage you to look over the other Group Planning Resources on the website: the Group Planning Summary, Group Planning Guide, and Grassroots Roles. As mentioned above, please have at least one copy of the Group Planning Summary with your group on Saturday to fill out during and after the call. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help.


Got Twenty Minutes? Follow Up with Members of Congress about SNAP and the Farm Bill

As noted before the holiday break, Congress is close to finishing a Farm Bill, which includes reauthorization of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Before Congress adjourned in December, negotiators leaked that a tentative agreement on SNAP had been reached. Sadly, this agreement would cut the program by $8.6 billion over the next ten years. This cut would primarily impact “Heat and Eat” programs in 15 states (CA, CT, ME, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA, and WI). These programs help SNAP households increase their benefits when receiving assistance to pay their utility bills. Considering home energy benefits are already scarce, these programs are helping many Americans who literally have to choose between heating and eating. Despite the need, it appears Congress is ready to scale back these programs; the cut would reduce SNAP benefits by an average of $90 per month for 850,000 households.

While we are pleased that more severe cuts and changes proposed by the House (eliminating state flexibility to adjust SNAP eligibility limits, imposing harsh work requirements, cutting off unemployed workers without children after only three months, drug testing of applicants) appear to be out of the bill, we strongly oppose further cuts to SNAP and urge policymakers to reconsider the $8.6 billion cut to SNAP.

We expect Congress to act fairly quickly to vote on the new Farm Bill. Details of the bill could be released this week and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) expects to complete work on the Farm Bill by month’s end. This gives us precious little time to weigh in with members of Congress about SNAP. Let your members of Congress know today that cuts to SNAP are wrong and to protect the program in the final Farm Bill.

TAKE ACTION: Reconnect with agriculture aides in your Senate and House offices, urging them to protect SNAP in the final Farm Bill. Ask the aides to urge their bosses to talk to Farm Bill Conference Committee members to reconsider the $8.6 billion in SNAP cuts being proposed in the Farm Bill. You can find aide names on the Elected Officials page of the RESULTS website. Use this helpful resource to brush up on your SNAP facts (and myths) before calling. For a plethora of SNAP data and resources, also see the SNAP Basics from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Supplement your calls by sending a card to Congress and President Obama to protect people in hunger. Our friends at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) have an easy, helpful resource to send your cards today at: http://whogoeshungry.org/. You can also help generate media about protecting SNAP using our online SNAP letter to the editor alert.


Start the Year Off Right with a Face-to-Face Meeting

The New Year brings with it renewed energy and enthusiasm, not only for the happenings in our daily lives, but also bigger endeavors like hastening the end of poverty. Start the year off right by channeling some of your energy into one of our most important actions – setting up face-to-face meetings with members of Congress. Face-to-face meetings are essential in building the relationships with members of Congress needed to end poverty. In 2013, RESULTS U.S. Poverty volunteers had 69 face-to-face meetings with House members and 14 meetings with senators. This is excellent! These meetings were an important part of our advocacy efforts, specifically helping us keep egregious cuts to SNAP out of the Farm Bill.

In 2014, we want to build on our 2013 success by having even more face-to-face encounters. This means having face-to-face meetings with every House member and one-third of all senators where we have volunteers. We know these meetings can be difficult to get, which is why it is important to start early. Congress will be on recess in two weeks and again in February. This is a perfect time to meet with them about putting poverty on the 2014 agenda early. Get yourself in the queue early and set up your meeting today.

TAKE ACTION: Call or e-mail the schedulers for your members of Congress to set up face-to-face meetings for upcoming recesses. Be sure to put in requests for all the representatives your group covers and both senators in your state. The December Action has all the information you need to help with your requests. Also ask about any public events or town halls they may be holding this month. You can find scheduler names and contact information on the Elected Officials page of the RESULTS website.

Once you confirm a lobby meeting, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help in preparing for your meeting or town hall.


Join Our First RESULTS Intro Call Tomorrow Night at 9 pm ET

Many of us make New Year's resolutions, but don't have a plan to make them happen. If one of your resolutions is to make a difference, we've got just the solution for you: learn how you can participate with RESULTS grassroots advocacy efforts to end poverty in the U.S. and around the world. RESULTS needs you – your commitment, your passion, your voice – to help ensure that we remain steadfast in our commitment to end poverty.

We invite you or someone you know to join our next RESULTS Introductory Call. This 30-45 minute call will provide you an introduction to RESULTS and our work to create the political to end poverty, and show you how you can get involved.

Will you join us? Will you invite a friend to call in?

The next RESULTS Introductory Call is tomorrow (Wednesday), January 8, at 9:00 pm ET. All are welcome. Simply go to www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/ to register for the call. If you cannot make Wednesday's call, click on the link and register for one of these bi-monthly calls that fits your schedule.

Also, be sure to check out our new Everyday Heroes video. It’ll be the best seven minutes of your day (or perhaps 2014, at least to date): http://www.results.org/about/everyday_heroes/.

If you have any questions about RESULTS and our outreach efforts, please feel free to contact Meredith Dodson at [email protected]. Thank you for your time and your commitment to make the world a better place.


Quick News

Budget Deal Excludes Unemployment Benefits Extension. Before the holidays, the House and Senate passed a new budget deal for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. President Obama signed the deal on December 26. House and Senate appropriators must now finalize spending levels for specific programs before January 15. Conspicuously absent from the deal was an extension of long-term unemployment benefits. 1.3 million Americans have lost unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as a result. When Americans, especially low-income workers, are still struggling to find work, it is unconscionable that Congress would choose to cut them off from what for many is their only income. Fortunately, the Senate has moved forward on a three-month extension but its future is uncertain in the House. Tell Congress to extend UI benefits using the Coalition on Human Needs’ UI Action Alert. Also, please urge your members of Congress to fund Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance at the highest possible levels in FY 2014 using our online e-mail alert.

Support Media Coverage about Engaged Citizenship. This weekend, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof did a column asking readers to tell him which issues need more coverage. He said he'd pick some and cover them. RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris posted a comment about the need to address apathy and disillusionment among Americans about our ability to change the world. This a core challenge RESULTS works to overcome. Help this become one of the issues Kristof covers by “recommending” Sam’s comment. Simply go to http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/04/your-submissions-for-most-neglected-topic/#postComment, click on the “Reader Picks” tab. Look for Sam’s comment (as of this morning, it was number 2 on the list) and recommend it. You can also hit the "reply" at the bottom of his comment and write your own comment (Note: you might have to register with the NY Times but it is free to do so).

New Tool for Mapping Poverty. The New York Times has created a new tool for mapping poverty in America. Using U.S. Census data, the map shows poverty rates and the number of people in poverty by county. It also has maps for several large metropolitan areas in the U.S. When doing group planning, setting up face-to-face meetings, or contacting Congress about protecting SNAP, use this tool to highlight the problem of poverty in your area.

For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary on the RESULTS website.


Thank You for Your 2013 Fundraising Efforts!

Happy New Year from the Development Team! Thanks to your fantastic fundraising last year; we have quite a lot to celebrate from 2013. For instance, our partners held 18 events raised about $260,000 and allowed local partners to recruit new members and keep in touch with donors in their local communities. Forty online and mailed fundraisers - held by individuals participating in the Friends and Family Campaign, birthday celebrations, running challenges, or the virtual Thanksgiving Feast - raised over $26,000 and helped us reach many first–time donors. Best of all, last year we inspired 733 new donors who had never given to RESULTS before. We look forward to building relationships with them, cultivating our long time donors, and reaching out to more new folks with your help in 2014. Thank you!


Announcements

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? Then this is the call for you! Join this monthly call for inspiration and ideas to keep you going. The call is Tuesday, January 21 at 8:00 pm ET, (267) 507-0370, passcode 4471061#. If you have questions, please contact Ginnie Vogts at [email protected].

Join January 27 Webinar on Expanding RESULTS. 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 U.S. poverty groups. Join this introductory webinar to discuss some of the best practices for starting new RESULTS groups and recruiting new activists. The webinar is Monday, January 27 at 8:00 pm ET. To join from your computer or mobile device, copy this link into your browser: http://fuze.me/22423683. To join the audio, call (201) 479-4595 or (855) 346-3893. If prompted, enter the meeting number 22423683#.

Give Feedback to Grassroots Board Members. The four RESULTS Grassroots Board Members have taken on a larger role of communication between the RESULTS grassroots network to the Board. They would like to hear from you if you have questions or ideas. For questions or suggestions to the Grassroots Board Members please contact them at: [email protected]. With congratulation for all your accomplishments and gratitude for all your work, commitment and passion, they are your proud Grassroots Board Members: Heide Craig, Lydia Pendley, Ginnie Vogts, and Beth Wilson.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: January 20-24. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, January 8: 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/.

Saturday, January 11: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. (888) 409-6709. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Monday, January 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (All RESULTS offices closed).

Tuesday, January 21: Media Support Call, 8:00 pm ET. (267) 507-0370, passcode 4471061.

Tuesday, January 21: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Monday, January 27: Expanding RESULTS webinar, 8:00 pm ET. To join from your computer or mobile device, copy this link into your browser: http://fuze.me/22423683. To join the audio, call (201) 479-4595 or (855) 346-3893. If prompted, enter the meeting number 22423683#.

Saturday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. More details soon.


RESULTS Contact Information

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.