U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 25, 2014

Economic shocks are part of life. Let's help families prepare themselves.

— RESULTS Chambersburg (PA) volunteer Bruce Kessler a March 20 op-ed in the Chambersburg Public Opinion

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Urge Your Networks to Take Action on the Financial Security Credit

This month, RESULTS volunteers are taking action to help low-income Americans save for emergencies and the future. The Financial Security Credit (FSC) would make it easy for families to put away savings at tax time and receive a partial match from the government for the amount they save. Our goal this month is to educate lawmakers about this idea so that it will be included in federal tax reform in the next few years. Hopefully, all of you have already written letters to your senators and representative about the FSC. Now let’s urge others to do the same.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to copy this link (http://capwiz.com/results/issues/alert/?alertid=62759846&MC_plugin=2201) and paste it onto an e-mail, Tweet, and/or Facebook post urging people you know to take action on the Financial Security Credit. Urge them to use our online e-mail alert to ask members of Congress to support savings incentives for low-income Americans and the FSC. The more contacts we generate on this issue, the greater chance we have of the FSC being included in tax reform. Send it far and wide and urge your friends and family to take action.


Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up on Your FSC Letters (March Action)

Thank you to all of you who have written your letters to your senators and representatives this month about the Financial Security Credit (FSC). Your actions this month are helping bring this issue front and center with your members of Congress. This is just the beginning. Over the next year, we’ll continue to build support for low-income asset building and the FSC so that when Congress takes up tax reform, House and Senate leaders will feel compelled to include the FSC in that reform.

But writing letters this month is only the first step. In order for your letters to have impact, it is important that follow up to make sure your senators and representative got the message. If you’ve already sent your letter in, follow up by calling the tax aides in your House and Senate offices and asking if they got it (if the aides have not seen your letter, consider refaxing it or setting up a time to call back when they have). When they have seen it, ask if they’ve discussed it with their bosses and what action they will take on your request. This is the best way to make sure your messages get through and your requests get addressed.

Congress gets tens of thousands of messages each month from constituents but only a small percentage of those people actually follow up on their requests. Which requests do you think will get their attention?

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to follow up with tax aides about your letters concerning the Financial Security Credit (from the March Action). For RESULTS groups, the point persons in your group for each of your members of Congress should make the call (you don’t need everyone in your group calling the aide). You can find aide names on our Elected Officials page. Be sure to call the aides for both your senators and your representative. Ask if they got your letter, if their bosses will support the FSC, and will their bosses talk to tax leaders about it. For House members, also ask if their bosses are willing to co-sponsor H.R.2917, the Financial Security Credit Act of 2013 (you can see a current list of co-sponsors here). If you need coaching for follow-up calls, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for assistance.

Of course, if you haven’t written your letters yet, it’s not too late. The March Action has talking points and background information for letters. Once you’ve sent them in, follow up in a few days with the tax aides about your request.


Got Twenty Minutes? Send Us Your Contacts in the Pacific Northwest, New England, and the South

RESULTS is continuing our outreach efforts to expand our influence into new areas. Last week, we celebrated our new RESULTS Iowa City group, which begins its new group training tonight (contact Jos Linn for details). We’re also working to start groups and recruit Free Agents in other parts of the country.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to help us keep up our outreach momentum by sending us your leads and contacts in the following areas:

WASHINGTON STATE AND OREGON

RESULTS Grassroots Manager Jos Linn will be in the Pacific Northwest April 1-3 to help recruit new U.S. poverty advocates. If you know people in the Seattle, Portland, or Spokane areas, please invite them attend one of the following events or contact Jos Linn for details on how to connect with him while he is there ([email protected]).

  • April 1: Jos will be helping facilitate a “group start” meeting in Gig Harbor, WA. The meeting begins at 6:30 pm PT and will be held at the home of Catherine Luria, 87 Raft Island, Gig Harbor, WA. All are welcome. RSVP to Catherine at [email protected].
  • April 2: Jos will be in Portland, OR meeting with the local RESULTS Global group, coalition allies, and potential advocates.
  • April 3: Jos will be in Spokane, WA to meet with the new RESULTS group started there a few weeks ago. They are meeting at the downtown Spokane Library, 906 W. Main Ave at 12:00 pm PT.

NEW ENGLAND

New RESULTS Organizer Kristy Martino is working to start new groups in New Hampshire and Maine this spring. Here are some dates to keep in mind:

  • April 4-6: Kristy and RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson will be doing outreach in New Hampshire and Maine.
  • April 9: Meredith will be in Boston, MA meeting with volunteers and coalition partners.

If you know people in the New Hampshire and Maine, please contact Kristy at [email protected] to get them connected to her outreach efforts. If you know people in Boston, contact Meredith at [email protected] to connect them with her while she is there next month.

MIDWEST AND SOUTH

RESULTS Organizer Myrdin Thompson is doing outreach in the Midwest and South, including Louisville, Memphis, and Nashville. Contact Myrdin at [email protected] to connect them with her outreach efforts in Kentucky, Indiana, or Tennessee.

RESULTS INTRO CALL THIS FRIDAY AT 1 PM ET

If you don’t know anyone in the above areas but do know people who might be interested in learning more about RESULTS, please invite them to the next RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 calls are a great intro to our work and how to get involved. The next call is this Friday, March 28 at 1:00 pm ET. People can register that call or another upcoming call at: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.


Invite Congressional Offices to Witnesses to Hunger Events in DC Next Week

The Witnesses to Hunger is a groundbreaking project featuring the voices & photography of caregivers who have experienced hunger & poverty first-hand. Last year, Witnesses spoke at our International Conference, providing real-world knowledge of the challenges low-income Americans face. Their stories are sobering, informative, and inspiring. We are very pleased that Shearine McGee of Witnesses to Hunger (and RESULTS March conference call guest speaker LaNae Havens of RESULTS and Circles) will speak on a similar panel at this summer’s RESULTS International Conference.

Many of the Witnesses to Hunger will be in Washington, DC next week at events highlighting poverty in America. This is a great opportunity for members of Congress and their staff to learn from the “real experts” on poverty.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your representatives and senators urging them or their staff to attend the events listed below. You can find contact information on our Elected Officials page (contact aides you know or ones working on hunger issues or issues related children and families).

Thursday, April 3: Poverty in America: A Panel Discussion on the Social and Economic Issues Affecting Americans Today. Rayburn House Office Building, B-369; 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm ET. Panel will include members of Congress and Witnesses to Hunger. RSVPs for this event are not required, but encouraged 

Friday, April 4: Witnesses to Hunger Exhibit. Rayburn House Office Building, Rayburn Foyer; Breakfast Reception with Witnesses to Hunger; 9:00 am - 11:00 am ET. Exhibit Open from 8:30 am - 5:30 pm. RSVPs for this event are not required, but encouraged


RESULTS International Conference; REAL Change Deadline Extended

Thank you to all the people who applied for the REAL Change Fellowship Program. As of last Friday’s registration deadline, we had over 100 applicants! Because of the tremendous response, we’ve decided to extend the registration deadline for REAL Change another two weeks. If you are between the ages of 18 and 28 years old and want to get educated, trained, and inspired to end poverty here in the U.S. and around the word, we urge you to apply for the Fellowship today. The new deadline is April 8. To learn more, go to www.results.org/realchange and encourage others you know to apply!

The Early Bird Registration for regular conference attendees is fast approaching too. Right now, you can register for the 2014 RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund International Conference for only $165. With amazing guests like Jim Kim of the World Bank, Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, panels with national media figures, and top notch trainings on how best to realize the end of poverty, you can’t pass up that deal. But it won’t last forever. You have until April 6 to register at the discounted price. After that, the registration fee goes to $240. Don’t miss your chance to make a difference in the world while saving a little money at the same time. Register for the RESULTS International Conference TODAY!


Quick News

Put in Face-to-Face Requests for April Recess. RESULTS volunteers had five face-to-face meetings last week during the congressional recess. Congratulations! These encounters are so important to our work; we thank everyone who put in requests for meetings. If you did not get a meeting, you don’t have to wait too long for the next opportunity – Congress will again be on recess April 14-25. Submit your requests now for meetings during those two weeks. Use our downloadable meeting request letter or our online version to make your requests today. Be sure to put in requests for all the representatives your group covers and both senators in your state. Find aide names, contact info, and website links on our Elected Officials page. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for individualized coaching on what issues and messages to use in your meeting and plan to take a copy of our Economic Mobility and Early Childhood lobby request sheets when you go to your meeting.

Heat and Eat Update. A new posting on the Food Research and Action Center website – Heat and Eat: State Responses to the Changed Federal Law – explains the 2014 Farm Bill change in coordination between SNAP and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program payments, reviews developments on state actions to protect SNAP benefit levels, cites comments from several governors, and provides links to relevant resources. For details on RESULTS’s work on SNAP and the Farm Bill last year, see our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary.

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


Fundraising Update: NEW! Virtual Run for RESULTS: Where Will Your Journey Take You?

We're excited to announce our next virtual race challenge to benefit RESULTS Educational Fund by registering for a $25 medal you will earn by running, walking, biking, or doing any activity to challenge yourself anytime and anywhere. This time our fantasy-themed medal is inspired by a magical world where a lamppost in a snowy wood can lead to the beginning of an adventure. The words "Your Journey Begins with a Single Step" circle the lamppost and remind us that whether your challenge is on foot or to get to the end of poverty, you have to have the courage to take the first step. Visit the registration website for the Lamppost Virtual Challenge and decide where your journey will take you!


Advocacy Tip and Announcements

Advocacy Tip: Hand-Write Your Letters to Members of Congress. Interaction with staff over the years has shown us that hand-written letters attract more attention than form letters and e-mails. Hand-written letters are more personal and stand out in a crowd of correspondence. Remembers to fax your letters if possible; regular mail works but can sometimes take weeks to arrive because of government security procedures. For more helpful tips on how to best advocate on the issues, see the RESULTS Activist Toolkit.

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].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: April 14-25. Request face-to-face meetings.

Friday, March 28: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

Tuesday, April 1: RESULTS Gig Harbor (WA) Group Start Meeting, 6:30 pm PT. 87 Raft Island, Gig Harbor, WA. Contact Jos Linn for more details ([email protected]).

Tuesday, April 15: RESULTS Media Support Webinar, 8:00 pm ET. Join online at: http://fuze.me/23656947. To join by phone, dial (201) 479-4595, meeting number: 23656947

Tuesday, April 15: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Saturday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. REGISTER TODAY!


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.