Spring update from the Executive Director
We’re now just two months out from our International Conference, where this year we’ll be joined by World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, among a long list of other leaders in the fight against poverty. Dr. Kim’s bold vision for ending extreme poverty worldwide by 2030—and how we can work together to make it a reality—will be a central pillar of the conference. We will also have the opportunity to dialogue with domestic anti-poverty leaders including Children’s Defense Fund founder and RESULTS board member Marian Wright Edelman, and broadcaster and author Tavis Smiley about what it will take to end poverty in America. Our major campaigns this year are focused on some of the most important strategies to accelerate these efforts to eradicate poverty here at home and around the world:
- Securing Education for All: In June 2014, the global community will come together for a pledging conference to support the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the world’s only multilateral institution dedicated solely to achieving a quality education for all children. The GPE reaches those children most in need in the poorest and most conflict-affected countries, and GPE helps leverage increased domestic investment. RESULTS advocacy in 2011 resulted in the first-ever U.S. contribution to GPE. Now RESULTS is powerfully advocating for a multi-year commitment from the U.S. administration to GPE to support country plans to provide quality basic education for all children. We just completed a seven-city media tour to turn up the public pressure, and we’re mobilizing members of Congress around a formal ask of the Obama Administration.
- Increasing Access to Lifesaving Vaccines: In late 2014, the GAVI Alliance will also host a pledging conference to close the estimated $8 billion resource gap necessary to provide new and underutilized vaccines in poor countries. These vaccines protect against the biggest killers of children and are being rolled out in the poorest countries and communities with GAVI support. In 2011 RESULTS worked to secure the first U.S. multi-year commitment to GAVI, a $450 million investment over three years to help save 4 million lives.
- Ending Poverty in the U.S.: This year, we’re focusing our U.S. anti-poverty advocacy on strategies that both enable families to get out of poverty and protect them from falling back. One piece of work already underway is building support for the Financial Security Credit Act, which helps families accumulate critical savings. Evidence shows that savings improve household stability, make it more likely that kids will attend college, reduce reliance on government programs, and help families and children move out of poverty. The bill encourages low-income families to save by providing a financial match when families deposit their refundable tax credits in savings accounts.
- Advancing the Fight against Tuberculosis and HIV: We’re building on an enormous win from last year: the U.S. commitment to provide up to $5 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the largest source of external financing to fight tuberculosis (TB). TB still needlessly takes 1.3 million lives annually, and is a huge cause of poverty. Last month, RESULTS engaged Congress, the Administration, and the media around World TB Day (March 24) to build U.S. support to fight this disease of poverty. As vice chair of the global Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board, I joined an online PBS discussion with a panel of experts to discuss the new FRONTLINE documentary, “TB Silent Killer.” RESULTS also hosted the documentary’s director and three TB survivors in DC, where they shared their stories on and off Capitol Hill. The same week, RESULTS honored three members of Congress for their leadership on TB at a full-house event, helping raise awareness and create a sense urgency with decision-makers and the media.
- Expanding Our Reach and Impact: Our ambitious advocacy goals aren’t the only challenges we’ve given ourselves this year, because we know that achieving the end of poverty will require all the resources and energy we can muster. Our regional coordinators (grassroots volunteer leaders who are an indispensable link supporting RESULTS volunteer chapters) worked with staff to develop a bold set of goals for 2014 to increase our impact and expand our reach. These include:
- Increasing our coverage to 30 additional key congressional districts and 6 more states to reach a total of 260 districts in 46 states, engaging even more members of Congress to forward our goals;
- Bolstering our existing volunteer chapters and focusing on leadership development;
- Meeting face-to-face with 100 percent of the House members and at least a third of the senators that our grassroots cover—because we know that this is the single most powerful way to get members of Congress to understand and support critical anti-poverty programs.
When we gather for our International Conference June 21-24 in Washington, DC, it will be our biggest conference yet. We’ll convene over 500 of our grassroots activists from around the U.S. and at least 12 other countries, including 100 young leaders through our REAL Change fellowship program. We’re looking forward to powerful dialogue with an exceptional line-up of keynote speakers focused on building the political and public momentum to end poverty. Last year, our volunteers met with over 300 congressional offices, as well as senior officials from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and this year we plan for even more!
None of what we’ve accomplished so far or plan to achieve in 2014 would be possible without you. Our supporters, volunteers, and donors are part of every single victory, and I’m so happy to be able to share some of our good news with you.