U.S. Poverty Weekly Update January 31, 2012

Yet a debate on poverty is needed. And it would benefit from specificity, which often challenges ideology.

— Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post, in a January 19 op-ed

New and Urgent in This Weeks Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Send In the Plans! (January Action)

As we end January, RESULTS staff wants to thank all the RESULTS groups around the country that have done a great job at scheduling and completing their group plans this moth. Most of you have had your planning meeting or have one coming up. Thank you all for your hard work in creating your bold and creative plans. In addition to mapping out a great year for yourselves and your groups, group planning also helps save time. We know that you have other priorities outside of your RESULTS work and that you want your time doing anti-poverty advocacy to be well spent. By putting in a little extra time this month to plan, you create the vision and focus to accomplish the task at hand going forward. This will make your monthly meetings, conference calls, events and actions all that more efficient and effective.

Once you have completed your group plan, be sure to send a copy to your group members as well as to your regional coordinator and Meredith Dodson in the RESULTS DC office ([email protected]). This allows RCs and staff to support you throughout the year in meeting your stated goals, which again helps you make the best use of your time.

TAKE ACTION: Send in those group plans! We are eager to see what inspiring goals you have set for yourselves in 2012. Please send a copy to your group members, Regional Coordinator and Meredith Dodson ([email protected]). If you have scheduled your planning meeting, there is still time to meet with Meredith via Skype or conference call to talk about your group plan. Please contact her to schedule a time to meet with your group or your group leader before your planning meeting. Finally, if you have yet to schedule your group planning meeting, it’s not too late. Contact your group members and set up a time to meet. Use the January Action sheet to help with your planning, as well as the following resources: 2012 RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary, Group Planning Guide, and Group Plan Summary Form.

Thank you again for your hard work this month; we look forward to working with you to make your 2012 group plans a reality.


Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings (February Action preview)

We are just a few weeks away from the next congressional recess, so it is a good time to call the schedulers for your representatives and senators and request a face-to-face meeting. Request those meeting so you can talk to your representatives and senators about our 2012 priorities.

TAKE ACTION: Our February Action will focus on setting up face-to-face meetings with House and Senate members when they are home (the action sheet will be available later this week). However, you can contact House and Senate schedulers now to get a jump on this month’s action. Find scheduler names and contact info on our Elected Officials page. Also see our January 2012 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk for a sample conversation with a scheduler to set up a meeting and/or use our online e-mail to contact their offices about setting up a meeting. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you and your group prepare for your meeting(s). We’ll have more about the February Action in next week’s update.


RESULTS Outreach — Invite Contacts to New Orleans Meeting Next Week!

For those of you who live or know people in New Orleans, we have good news. RESULTS is coming to Big Easy next week! Next Tuesday, RESULTS Domestic Outreach Organizer Jos Linn and Global Grassroots Expansion Agent Katy Windschill will be holding a RESULTS “Group Start” meeting at Xavier University in New Orleans. The meeting will include an overview of RESULTS’ work and an advocacy training on our issues. The goal is to start both a strong domestic and global presence in New Orleans. If you know anyone in the New Orleans area, please invite them to attend. The meeting is Tuesday, February 7, 6:30 pm CT at the University Center, Room 205C at Xavier University (see the Facebook invitation). For more information, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

In addition, if you know people in other parts of the country who might be interested in learning more about RESULTS, don’t forget our bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. Our next RESULTS Intro Call is tomorrow, February 1 at 9 pm ET. These calls are great call for people wanting to get a basic understanding of RESULTS and our work. People can register at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) if you have questions about the call.

Finally, our Global team is hosting a meeting to start a new RESULTS Global group in Hattiesburg, MS this weekend. If you know people in southern Mississippi, please invite them to attend. The meeting is Saturday, February 4, 11:00 am CT at Forrest General Hospital in the Maple Room. For more information, please contact Katy Windschill at [email protected].


Register for Webinar on Election Year Do's and Don'ts for Nonprofits (TODAY at 2:00 pm ET)

The Coalition on Human Needs, the Half in Ten Campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Children’s Leadership Council have partnered to provide a valuable resource to our local partners, members, and allies about what not-for-profit organizations can do during election years. During the webinar, the Alliance for Justice will educate you and your organization about what actions are legally permissible during an election year, especially as you plan possible activities and opportunities to lift the anti-poverty frame. You’ll get AFJ’s advice about allowable activities during this election year and practical examples of things your organization can do. The webinar is TODAY,  January 31 at 2:00 – 3:15 pm ET. Register NOW for this FREE webinar at the CHN website.


House Proposes Poor Families Pay for Payroll Tax Cut

Congress is currently working on a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The current extension expires at the end of February. Unfortunately, House Republicans are demanding a change in the Child Tax Credit (CTC) that could hurt millions of low-income children to help pay for it. Currently, tax filers with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) can claim the CTC. ITINs are used by millions of immigrant families to pay their taxes because they cannot get a SSN. The House plan would require claimants to now have a Social Security Number to claim the CTC, even though many families request an ITIN so they can do their duty and pay their taxes. According to the New York Times, the change would affect families earning an average of $21,000 per year, resulting in a loss of $1,800 in income. This not only hurts them and risks them falling further into poverty, but is also hurts the communities they live in where that money gets spent.

TAKE ACTION: RESULTS opposes Congress punishing immigrant children and their families in this way. Send an e-mail today urging members of Congress to oppose the CTC offset for the payroll tax cut and UI extension. Use this online action alert from the National Council of La Raza.


The Earned Income Tax Credit — Good for All of Us

Last week, RESULTS co-sponsored an event in Washington, DC with the National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) to help promote Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. Other co-sponsors of the event included the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Goodwill Industries, the New America Foundation, and the United Way. The event was a great success with EITC advocates and staff from 26 congressional offices in attendance. Thank you to all of you who contacted your House and Senate tax aides urging them to attend.

Speakers talked about the important of the EITC and other low-income tax credits, including the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for low-income working families. The EITC is the largest poverty-reduction program in the U.S.; in 2010, it lifted 5.4 million people out of poverty, including 3 million children. As the speakers noted, last year 29 million households claimed the EITC for a total of $59 billion. However, approximately 6 million eligible households still do not claim the credit.

In addition, the EITC also benefits communities. Because it is targeted to low-income households, EITC recipients tend to spend their refunds and thus generate. From the Center for American Progress: “When low-income families receive their refund check, they purchase groceries, child care, school supplies, and more, increasing demand for the goods and services of local businesses, which ultimately benefits the economy as a whole. In fact, economists suggest that for every earned income tax credit dollar received by low- and moderate-income families, an economic benefit of $1.50 to $2.00 is generated in the local economy.”

The EITC event also featured speakers talking about the importance of the EITC in building savings and assets. For example, because an EITC refund can many times represent the largest single income check of the year for recipients, it is an opportune time to promote saving part of their refund for a rainy day. David Rothstein of the New America Foundation and Policy Matters Ohio reported that six years ago, fewer than ten percent of respondents said they would save part of the EITC refund; in the last two years, that number has jumped to 50 percent. This is one reason RESULTS supports the Saver’s Bonus, which would help low-income tax filers start a matched savings account right on their tax return. The Saver’s Bonus can help these families turn a desire to save into actual savings quickly and easily.

As part of our 2012 Economic Opportunity for All campaign, RESULTS will be taking the message to lawmakers about the importance of low-income tax credits and savings. We will push Congress to make the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent, while also educating about the effectiveness of the Saver’s Bonus.

Thanks to NCTC for organizing the event last week. You can read more about the event on their website.

TAKE ACTION: To prepare for our legislative work on economic opportunity this year, visit our Economic Opportunity pages on the RESULTS website to read about the EITC, CTC, the Saver’s Bonus, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) and other issues. Also, please read the Center for American Progress’ Three Things You Should Know about the EITC, which provides some very help information you can use with lawmakers. Finally, you can take action today by using our online actions to promote the EITC and CTC and low-income asset development.

Here is a list of the congressional offices represented at the EITC event. House: Howard Berman (D-CA-28), Robert Brady (D-PA-1), Lois Capps (D-CA-23), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3), David Cicilline (D-RI-1), William Lacy Clay (D-MO-1), Micahel Grimm (R-NY-13), Janice Hahn (D-CA-36), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-4), Nan Hayworth (R-NY-19), Mike Honda (D-CA-15), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Ron Kind (D-WI-3), Rick Larsen (D-WA-2), Grace Napolitano (D-CA-38), Alan Nunnelee (R-MS-1), Reid Ribble (R-WI-8), Jackie Speier (D-CA-12), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8), Kevin Yoder (R-KS-3). Senate: Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Al Franken (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Udall (D-CO).


Fundraising Update — Buy a Valentine, Support RESULTS

Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Why not send a Valentine while also benefitting RESULTS. Our RESULTS Albuquerque group is selling handmade valentines, designed by RESULTS volunteer Louisa Barkalow. The whimsical heart on the front of the card is also a metal magnet to keep all year long. The price is $10 per card, and the proceeds will benefit RESULTS. To buy one or more, donate to RESULTS or RESULTS Ed Fund online at http://www.results.org/support_results/. Once you receive your donation confirmation by email, forward it to [email protected] along with your mailing address. You will promptly receive your valentine(s) in the mail. You will also know that your gift is spreading opportunity and dignity around the world.

Also, visit the RESULTS Runners page for a preview of our new online fundraising tool. See how the runners are well on their way to their $3,000 goal. This kind of website will be available to you for the upcoming Friends & Family fundraising campaign, which begins in three weeks! (Feb. 21 – Mar. 31). In the coming weeks, we’ll have more information about how you can create your own Friends & Family site to solicit donations and track your progress. In the meantime, take a few minutes to check out this slick new online tool.


Quick News

CFED Assets and Opportunity Scorecard Is Out. The Corporation for Enterprise Development, which works to promote low-income asset building policy, has released its 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard. The report shows that a whopping 27 percent of households are in asset poverty, which is an increase of 21 percent since 2009. Also, 43.6 percent of households of color in vs. 20.1 percent of white households. The Scorecard includes comprehensive data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia to assess how well they are doing in the fight against asset poverty, as well as A Portrait of Financial Insecurity and Policies to Rebuild Prosperity in America, a downloadable special report aggregating the Scorecard data to explore what states can do to promote the well-being of their residents. Find all this important and useful information at the new Assets & Opportunity website. Take action by sending a message to Congress urging them to invest more into low-income asset development.

CHN’s Debbie Weinstein Responds to SOTU. Please be sure to read last week’s Huffington Post op-ed from CHN Executive Director Debbie Weinstein responding to President Obama’s State of the Union speech. Debbie is a great friend of RESULTS, having been a frequent guest on our national conference calls. She makes an impassioned plea for our leaders in Washington to put word in deed when it comes to helping low- and moderate income Americans still struggling to make ends meet.

Join Child Homelessness Webinar this Thursday. Join the National Center on Family Homelessness for a free webinar on America's Youngest Outcasts 2010 report. The report found that more than 1.6 million American children - one in every 45 - is homeless each year. Attendees will learn about the impacts of the economic recession on child and family homelessness, as well as tips for using the report to effectively advocate to policymakers and attract media attention to the issue of child and family homelessness. The webinar is this Thursday, February 2 at 2:00 pm ET. You can register at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/820464134.


RESULTS International Conference — Submit Your Video Today

Please plan to join us in Washington, DC, for 2012 RESULTS International Conference, July 21-24. You can register TODAY on the RESULTS website. Our goal is to have 400 attendees this year, and we are committed to having everyone there who wishes to attend. Contact your group leader, your regional coordinator, and/or RESULTS staff if you have questions about the conference and need a hand in making sure you can join us in Washington, DC, this summer.

As we noted last week, to help promote the conference, we want you to tell us why you think people should attend this year’s conference by submitting your own video testimonial. As an incentive for people to submit a video, RESULTS staff will choose a “winning video” out of the submissions and the winner will receive one free conference registration. That’s a savings of $225 (the standard registration fee). So don’t delay and get your video in today. The submission deadline is February 15. Be sure to read the guidelines for submitting a video and see the videos already submitted on our website!

Even if you don’t submit the winning video, we still want to make this year’s conference both memorable and affordable for all. Therefore, if you register before April 16, your conference registration is only $150. Take advantage of this opportunity by registering today!


Announcements

RESULTS on the Road. This past week, RESULTS Director of US Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson was flown out to California to lead an advocacy training for the Tuberculosis Coalition of Los Angeles County. While out on the West Coast, Meredith got a chance to meet with RESULTS volunteers in San Jose and convene a day-long regional workday for RESULTS groups in Southern California. On Saturday, sixteen participants from five RESULTS groups discussed strategies to improve the health of our grassroots network, engage new volunteers, create successful advocacy strategies to influence members of Congress based on new data from the Congressional Management Foundation. They also did live demonstrations of how to make the most of RESULTS on Facebook by sharing RESULTS posts and creating the RESULTS San Diego Facebook page. Thanks to all those who participated in last week’s events!

New Activist Orientation Series Starts Soon. The next New Activist Orientation series begins in February. These calls are great for new activists in your group or people wanting to learn more about RESULTS beyond the Intro call. This series is two calls, which will be on February 13 and 27 at 9pm ET. Please contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]) for details.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House recesses, Feb. 10-13 and 18-26; March 9-18. Senate recess, Feb. 20-24. Request face-to-face meetings!

Tuesday, January 31: CHN Election Year Activities webinar, 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET. Register at the CHN website; Target date to complete 2012 Group Planning (please send a copy of your plan to your Regional Coordinator or Meredith Dodson).

Wednesday, February 1: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Saturday, February 11: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Monday, February 13 and 27: RESULTS’ New Activist Orientation series, 9:00 pm ET. Contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]) for details.

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Start planning today to attend our 2012 conference!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 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. PovertyLegislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday over 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 domestic campaigns.