U.S. Poverty Weekly Update September 9, 2014
"I believe that the overwhelming majority of New Mexicans want to work and take care of their families. In order to do this, they need community support during these tough times. They need encouragement, not censure."
New and Urgent in This Week's Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Join us for the RESULTS National Conference Call this Saturday, September 13. With next week’s release of the 2013 U.S. poverty data from the U.S. Census, RESULTS volunteers are working to get editorials published connected the new poverty data to our work to expand economic mobility in America. To help us, we are thrilled to have Inez Russell Gomez as our guest speaker on Saturday’s conference call. Ms. Gomez has been the editorial page editor at The Santa Fe New Mexican since 2012. She previously served as editor of the award-winning special sections for six years. As a freelancer writer, her work has appeared in People magazine, the Dallas Morning News and New Mexico Magazine. She also served as editor of The Taos News, and as editor and reporter at papers in Texas, Florida, and New Mexico. Inez will share her insights and expertise on how to approach editorial writers and make your case for an editorial on poverty in America. The call will also include an update on legislative campaign, a training on pitching an editorial, and shares about some of the great things you have done over the last month. Join for this informative call.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call this Saturday, September 13 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 September 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.
Got Ten Minutes? Read Our New Resources for Generating Editorials This Month (September Action)
Next Tuesday, the U.S. Census will release its 2013 U.S. poverty, income, and health insurance data. This event usually gets coverage in the national media. We want to make sure it gets as much coverage as possible. As RESULTS is famous for doing, we want coverage to be more than just talking about the problem but offering practical solutions to that problem. This means using the poverty data release (which is not expected to much different from the 15 percent national poverty rate in 2012) to connect it to ways we can reduce poverty in America with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). By generating editorials on this issue, we can do to make sure that message gets out to as wide an audience as possible. RESULTS is here to help you do that.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to get started on your media action this month by reading the September Action and our Editorial Memo for local editorial writers. The Action provides a guide to help you reach out to editorial writers in your area, urging them to write an editorial on poverty in America. The Memo is a background packet you can send directly to the writer. It provides information about the upcoming poverty data release and then connects it to the EITC and CTC and the need for Congress to take action now. Use these resources to make your case for a strong editorial. See below for more resources to help with your media outreach this month.
Got Twenty Minutes? Reach Out to Editorial Writers This Week with our New Editorial Memo (September Action)
Last night, RESULTS held a webinar as step one in helping you do your media outreach this month. The training focused on the best practices for reaching out to editorial writers about the new poverty data and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). RESULTS Media Team members Colin Smith and Ginnie Vogts led the training, while RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson provided the legislative context for why media pieces are of particular importance now. With Congress expected to do some kind of tax bill (not major reform, though) after the election, including possibly enacting the recent bad CTC bill (H.R. 4935) into law, the new poverty data provides the perfect opportunity for local newspapers to push lawmakers to enact tax policy that actually reduces poverty instead of making it worse.
Colin, RESULTS’ Deputy Director of Communications, spent the bulk of the call walking us through the process of reaching out to editorial writers. He reminded listeners that writers are people too and they respond to things the same way the rest of us do. Therefore, when approaching them, be mindful that praise and support are likely to get you farther than criticism and demands. Another key point Colin made was to be personal or individual in your outreach; don’t contact an editorial writer with a generic inquiry. Find ways to connect with that writer or the paper specifically. For example, reading the editorial page to get a sense of their position on the issues, finding stories and previous editorials you can mention in your request (use www.news.google.com) , and of course, if you know the writer, building on your relationship with him/her. All these things increase your chance of success.
The webinar, despite some unforeseen technical problems at the beginning for which we deeply apologize, was very informative. If you did not have a chance to listen to the webinar, we recommend you listen to the recording, which we will have available shortly, view the webinar PowerPoint, and reach out to your local writer urging them to write a piece this month.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to reach out to an editorial writer (or writers) urging him/her to write a piece on the new Census poverty data and tax credits for working families. As discussed in our training webinar last night, here is a timeline you can use:
Dear [writer/editor’s name],
I was interested to read Friday’s editorial on tax extenders. Thanks for reminding readers that what Congress does affects us all. Congress has also failed to act on another tax issue – and the wellbeing of thousands of hardworking Oregonians is at stake.
Important provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit – one of the country’s most effective anti-poverty strategies – are set to expire soon. Together with the Child Tax Credit, it helped lift more than 10 million working Americans out of poverty in 2012. The Credits have broad bipartisan support, but Congress is failing to act. More information attached here.
As you may know, next Tuesday the Census Bureau will release its latest data on poverty. It will show we’ve come a long way in reducing poverty, but we still have a long way to go.
I am a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots advocacy group. I’d love to see the Oregonian use the Census release to highlight the struggles working Americans face and call for action on the programs we know work – like the Earned Income Tax Credit.
And with elections approaching, I hope you might consider these policies in your endorsement. I can plan to follow up in a few days, and I will reach out again when the new Census data is released next week. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to working with you.
[your name and contact info]
If you have questions about doing your media outreach, please don’t hesitate to contact Jos Linn (j[email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for help. Also, please plan to join this Saturday’s RESULTS National Conference Call, where we discuss the September Action with Santa Fe Mexican editorial page editor Inez Russell Gomez and role play a conversation with an editorial writer. This will be very helpful in your outreach.
Finally, if you want to get a preview of what the Census data is likely to reveal, join our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs for their Poverty Date Preview Webinar this Thursday, September 11 at 2:00 pm ET. Jared Bernstein, economist and former advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, will share his predictions on what the data will show. Register for the webinar at the CHN website.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new hunger data for the year 2013. While the good news is that hunger in America did not get worse between 2012 and 2013, the bad news is that it also did not get better. 17.5 million households – 14.3 percent of the population – were food insecure in 2013 (compared to 14.5 percent in 2012 (no “statistically significant” change). In addition, 19.5 percent of households with children were food insecure in 2013.
In addition, despite claims from some politicians that spending on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) was out of control, SNAP usage is actually starting to decline, as predicted. SNAP caseloads are 1.6 million fewer this year than in 2012, when participation was at record levels in response to the Great Recession. This once again shows that SNAP is an essential – and temporary – tool for individuals and families in tough economic times. Unfortunately, efforts like Paul Ryan’s new poverty plan, would force deep cuts to SNAP and other important services thus increasing hunger.
To help build support for SNAP, our friends at the Center for Hunger Free Communities have created a new social media toolkit to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of SNAP. It is designed to help people who have used SNAP to share their experiences so policymakers can understand the true impact of this important program. Use and share the toolkit with people you know. You can also let your members of Congress know that you care about hunger in the U.S. and urge them to protect SNAP using our online e-mail alert.
RESULTS Outreach Update – Events in Boulder, Salt Lake City, Arizona, Alabama, and St. Louis Coming Up
Building on our outreach update from last week, here is new information on how RESULTS is working to expand our reach and impact into new and existing areas:
Tonight in Boulder, CO. REAL Change Fellows are working to start a new campus group at the University of Colorado in Boulder. They will be holding outreach meeting tonight at the University to get things started. If you know anyone in the Boulder area, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected] to get them connected to this new group.
Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah. Local RESULTS volunteers are working to start a U.S. Poverty Group there to complement our strong global group and provide coverage for Senator Orrin Hatch, the key Republican leader on the Senate Finance Committee. Organizers will be holding a meeting this Thursday, September 11 at 7:00pm MT to get things going. If you know anyone in Utah, please contact Meredith at [email protected] to connect them with our volunteers there.
September 23 in Tucson, Arizona. U.S. Poverty Organizer Myrdin Thompson is working to start a new group in Tucson. She is holding a RESULTS outreach meeting on September 23 at 6:30pm MT at Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea. If you know anyone in Arizona, please contact Myrdin at [email protected]. See the Tucson Facebook Event page for more details.
September 23 in Auburn, AL. U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino is working with students at Auburn University to start a new group on September 23. If you know anyone in the Auburn area, please contact Kristy at [email protected].
September 25 in Birmingham, AL. Kristy is also working with local advocates in Birmingham to start a new group on September 25 at 6:30 pm CT. If you know anyone in the Birmingham area, please contact Kristy at [email protected]. See more about the event at our Birmingham Facebook Event page.
October 20 in St. Louis, MO. Jos Linn is working with REAL Change Fellows in St. Louis to strengthen the local group there. They will be having an outreach meeting on Monday, October 20 at 7:15pm CT at Schlafly Bottleworks. If you know anyone in St. Louis, please contact Jos ([email protected]). See our St. Louis Outreach Facebook page for details.
RESULTS is also working to start or build groups in Detroit, Louisville, and Dayton, among other places. If you know anyone in these or other areas, please contact Meredith Dodson at [email protected]. Also, if you’d like to get support for expanding RESULTS in your area, join our Expansion Team for “Growing RESULTS” support call on September 24 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. Contact Meredith if you have any questions about the call.
If you or someone you know is new to RESULTS, invite them to join our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 minute calls provide a good overview of RESULTS and how you and others can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is tomorrow, September 10 at 9:00 pm ET. To register for this or another upcoming Intro Call, go to: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.
Also, the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents will be meeting next Tuesday, September 16 at 1:00 pm ET for their monthly support call. On this month’s call, we’ll talk about the September Action and provide you support in your media outreach. To participate in the call, dial (857) 232-0476 and enter passcode 703096. Note: because of the RESULTS Poverty Data webinar on September 16 at 8:00 pm ET, there will be no evening Free Agents call this month. We urge all Free Agents to dial into the webinar instead.
Wealth Gap Widening. A new study from the Federal Reserve shows that the wealth gap in the U.S. got worse between 2010 and 2013. Median income dropped by 5 percent (from $49,000 to $46,700) and net worth fell in all income categories (the median dropped by 2 percent to $81,900). The loss is mostly attributed to the decline in housing values after the Great Recession. In addition, a new Harvard University study that says the wealth gap in the U.S. is “unsustainable” and may get worse. While this data is not surprising (RESULTS has been talking about the widening wealth gap for years), it underscores the importance of keeping this issue front and center with lawmakers. You might use some of this data in your pitches to editorial writers this month, in upcoming face-to-face meetings, or in letters/e-mails to Congress urging them to invest in tax policies that help close the wealth gap.
Great Job at Face-to-Face Meetings this Summer – Keep It Up! Thank you to everyone who pushed hard for face-to-face meetings this summer in your home states and districts. Since the RESULTS International Conference at the end of June, you’ve had 18 face-to-face meetings or town hall appearances (16 representatives and 2 senators). Congratulations! We thank you and know that your efforts do make a. RESULTS Organizer Myrdin Thompson has shared about a recent town hall experience RESULTS Blog, highlighting that the meetings are more than just a meeting. Be sure to read it. And don’t forget that Congress will again be on recess at the end of this month and during October. If you did not have the chance to meet with your members of Congress in July or August, please put in your request for a meeting the next time they’re home. And once you’ve had your meeting, please remember to fill out our online Lobby Report form at: http://tinyurl.com/LobbyReportForm.
The Nuns Are Back on the Bus – Go See Them in Your Town. The Sisters at NETWORK are back on the road again. Following up on their successful road trip a few years ago, the "Nuns on the Bus" are traveling across the country this fall to bring attention to the importance of voting as an antidote to big money in politics. They will be holding public events in ten states over the next two month. You can see a list of their stops at the NETWORK website. If they are traveling to your area, RSVP to their local event and be sure to share the information with others you know.
For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.
Did you know that the development team has a fundraising goal of $25,000 for our Friends and Family Campaign in 2014? Currently we have raised $8,823 toward that goal. With that being said, we need YOUR help. We have a number of great FFC options already set up online to fit all sorts of special occasions – birthdays, physical challenges (runs/walks), but one of our most popular campaigns from 2013 has returned – our Virtual Thanksgiving Feast. This is a way to celebrate Turkey Day while also raising important financial resources for RESULTS.
To sign up to participate in the Virtual Thanksgiving Feast, simply click here to access the page and get yours set up today! It's simple, and all online! Our new online fundraising platform makes it easier than ever to raise funds from home, when it's convenient for you to log on and manage your contacts and messages that go out. No paper, no stamps, just personalized email messages directly from you. Once you sign up to participate in our Virtual Thanksgiving Feast you will receive an online toolkit via email to help you manage your campaign effectively. It will include tips on how to manage your social media platforms and email messaging for the Virtual Feast which will guide you to a successful result that will help the development team reach their goal of $25,000 for 2014!
Join Call on Building and Maintaining Your Action Network. Have people stopped into one of your RESULTS meetings and you're not sure how to engage them? Did you host a table at a RESULTS-related event and now you have a sign-in sheet full of names? Are you an Action Network Manager in your group? Cultivating folks who have shown interest in RESULTS and your group is time well spent. On this half-hour call, get some quick tips on how to engage these visitors to become more deeply enrolled in the work of RESULTS! The call is Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: September 22-26, October 6 – November 7; Senate: Unknown. Request face-to-face meetings.
Tuesday, September 16: U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm ET. (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.
Tuesday, September 16: RESULTS Poverty Data Webinar, 8:00 pm ET. This webinar will review the data from the U.S. Census on poverty in 2013. Register for the webinar here: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/webinar/register/1028550. For audio, dial (201) 479-4595, meeting code 25845194.
Thursday, September 18: Training call for Building and Maintaining Your Action Network, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
Wednesday, September 24: Growing RESULTS Support Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262
Wednesday, October 1: Pre-Election Bird-Dogging: Getting Poverty Issues on the Radar, 9 pm ET. Webinar info: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/webinar/register/1029466. To join via conference call, dial (201) 479-4535, passcode 25949862.
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.