U.S. Poverty Weekly Update April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | April 28, 2015

 “A drastic cut in the budget for SNAP would be a big mistake with generational consequences.”

April 27 editorial in The Houston Chronicle, generated by RESULTS Houston volunteers

“SNAP is an efficient, effective program. Tell Congress not to fix what isn’t broken.”

– RESULTS Montana volunteer Karen Cunningham in an April 26 letter to the editor in the Daily Interlake (Kalispell, MT)

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Use the Media to Help Protect SNAP

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Call Schedulers about Scheduling Face-to-Face Meetings

Next week, the House will be on recess until May 12 and both the House and Senate will be on recess the week of May 25. With the budget resolution process likely to be concluded in the next few days (see below), this is an opportune time to weigh in with members of Congress about continuing to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and discussing tax fairness and the need to protect working families receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Meeting face-to-face is the most effective way to influence your lawmakers on our issues – make your appointment today.

TAKE ACTION: To two minutes to contact your House schedulers about face-to-face meetings during next week’s recess. If you previously submitted a request, call to follow up to see if you can get a meeting next week. If you have not submitted a request recently, please do so now using our online request form. Also ask if your representatives are doing any town halls or public events that you can attend during the recess. If you cannot get a meeting next week, ask to schedule a meeting during the Memorial Day recess (contact Senate schedulers about meetings that week as well). Once you get a meeting or town hall confirmed, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching on specific requests for your meeting. Be sure to use poverty data for your congressional district in your meetings (http://talkpoverty.org/poverty/) and bring copies of our SNAP and Tax Credit Lobby Meeting requests.

Got Ten Minutes? Share the Impact of Your Media Work with Your Action Networks (April Action)

It appears you did it! Later this week, we anticipate that both the House and Senate will debate and attempt to pass a final budget resolution and we’re hearing that the final version will not include fast-track cuts to SNAP. Keeping these cuts off the fast-track (i.e.  budget reconciliation), Congress will have to use the normal legislative process to pass any cuts and thus overcome a likely filibuster in the Senate. You deserve a tremendous amount of credit for making this happen. Your advocacy over the last two months, especially your media advocacy, has sent the message loud and clear – leave SNAP alone. While Congress will probably still propose cuts to SNAP later this year (plus this budget still does a lot of other bad things to anti-poverty programs), you have reduced the likelihood of SNAP cuts becoming law. Sometimes, that’s enough.

Here’s what you’ve done to make this happen. In just the first four months of 2015, you’ve gotten 62 media pieces published about protecting SNAP: 49 letters to the editor, 2 op-eds, 8 editorials, and 3 articles/radio (you’ve gotten a total of 76 media pieces published this year). And these are just the published ones. Think of the dozens of other letter you sent in that did not get published but pushed your local paper to do something on these issue (e.g. publish another letter to the editor, accept an op-ed, or do a story). Every action makes a difference, whether publicly or behind these scenes. Remember, at the beginning of the year, it appeared that SNAP was going to be a huge target for cuts this year but because of your efforts, that threat has been significantly reduced. This is the definition of political will… and worthy of celebration!

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to celebrate your SNAP success by drafting a note to your local Action Network members (those you have in your e-mail lists) reminding them of the power of citizen advocacy to effect change. You may want to wait until later this week (once the budget is finalized). At that time, RESULTS will send out an update that you can forward to your Action Networks. Be sure to tell them about any local successes you’ve had (media, letters, meetings) and thank them for any actions they took, remind them that their efforts have made a difference, and urge them to stay engaged.

Also, if you have not taken action this month yourself, your letters to the editor are still important. SNAP is never truly out of the woods so the more lawmakers hear from constituents about protecting the program, the better. Use the April Action to write you own letter or use our online LTE action to send in a letter today. If you have questions or need help with your letters, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for assistance.

Got Twenty Minutes? Take Your Message Directly to Congress at the RESULTS International Conference

Have you registered for the 2015 RESULTS International Conference yet? If not, it’s time to do so. On the heels of your stunning media success the last two months, plan to join us in DC when the budget battles are in full swing. Even though SNAP has apparently avoided fast track cuts this year, it still faces threats when Congress finalizes its spending bills this fall. In addition, the expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC still loom heavily over millions of low-income families and it’s going to take a strong push Congress to make them permanent. The unique thing the International Conference gives you is the opportunity to take these issues directly to your members of Congress and staff in Washington, DC. Imagine the message it sends for them to see their constituents travel all the way to Washington to advocate for people living in poverty. Few people go there to lobby Congress for purely altruistic reasons – coming to DC makes you part of that honorable few.

However, we know that coming to the conference is a big undertaking, especially financially. We’ve done all we can to reduce costs this year, including a $100 registration fee for active RESULTS volunteers (until June 1) and a discounted rate at the hotel. But we recognize that that some of you might need additional financial assistance. RESULTS has a small scholarship available to help U.S. Poverty volunteers attend the conference. If you want to come to the conference but need help to get there, please fill out our online scholarship form at http://tinyurl.com/USPSF. We want you to be there this summer.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to register for the RESULTS International Conference today! Don’t miss out on our biggest event of the year and the opportunity to hear from world-renowned speakers, get excellent advocacy and policy training, and make your voice heard on Capitol Hill. If you’re an active RESULTS volunteer, registration is a bargain at $100 but only until June 1 (you also have to register for the hotel by June 1). If you need financial help coming to the conference, fill out our RESULTS U.S. Poverty Activist Scholarship Fund form. Please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) with questions about the conference.

Help us Give (and Get) BIG on May 5!

The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBig Campaign is back on May 5! All donations made to RESULTS from Midnight PT on May , through Midnight PT on May 5, via the GiveBig web-site, will earn us a percentage offered by the Seattle Foundation. But here's where the GET gets Bigger! In addition to the percentage we gain directly from participating in GiveBig, we have been chosen as one of a select group of Global Washington members for a special challenge grant! The Seattle International Foundation will give us an additional $5,000 if we are able to raise at least $5,000 on the day of the event! This is an unheard of one-for-one match.

We urge you to engage your friends and family to participate with a donation to RESULTS Educational Fund on May 5. Donors do not need to reside in Seattle or even Washington State to give.

The link to our donation page for the May 5 event is: http://tinyurl.com/ngwhu9f. Share it widely so we can Give (and get) Big on May 5! 

RESULTS Outreach Update: Growing in the Midwest, West, and South

April has been a fantastic month for outreach! We started off by officially welcoming the new RESULTS Evansville (IN) group, when they finished their training earlier this month and became a fully-fledged RESULTS group. They’ve already had a face-to-face meeting with their representative and have plans to grow in the coming months. We welcome them and look forward to great things from our new advocates in southern Indiana. We also launched a brand new group in Colorado Springs, CO, with a wonderful group of engaged folks who bring a variety of skills and perspectives to fight poverty. Special thanks to Felicia and Sherri for their tremendous hospitality and organizational energy. Their first New Group Training is this Thursday, April 30 at 6:00 p.m. MT. If you or anyone you know is interested in getting involved in Colorado Springs, please contact Kristy Martino at [email protected]

Moving southward, things are hopping in the Bayou State. Another brand new RESULTS group started in Baton Rouge, LA at the end of March and one of its members has been accepted into our REAL Change Fellowship Program. Ja'Davian Serf is an extremely bright young man who has lived in Baton Rouge all his life, persevering through all the challenges life has brought him and his family. He is already a young leader, helping to produce a weekly radio show part of the local Teen Insight Radio Network. We are so excited that he will be joining us in Washington, D.C. this year at the RESULTS International Conference (register yourself and come meet him). 

Lastly, RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino and RESULTS Emerson Hunger Fellow Tade Mengesha wrapped up April with a road trip in the Southeast last week. They first attended and presented at the Circles USA National Conference in Atlanta and got a chance to hear from some new Circles leaders. They also met with our new RESULTS Atlanta group to get them prepped to meet with their members of Congress (and socialize around Atlanta’s impressive food scene). 

From there, they drove to Raleigh, NC where they met with one of our new Free Agents, Ruth. Ruth is a dedicated activist, mother, wife, accountant, and entrepreneur working hard on getting her degree and committed to fighting poverty with us. We have a few other engaged folks in the NC Triangle area, so please let us know if you know others who’d like to get involved.

Finally, we will be hosting a RESULTS group start presentation in Salt Lake City, UT on May 19 at 7:30pm. Utah is an important state for our U.S. Poverty work so if you know people in the SLC area (or in other areas around the country who’d be interested in RESULTS), please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for more information.

To all our new RESULTS volunteers, thank you for your dedication, passion, and willingness to learn and take on one of the most important issues of our time. Welcome to RESULTS!

Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events.

Next Congressional Recesses: House: May 2-12 and 23-31; Senate: May 23-31. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting, May 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Guest speaker: Regina Oldak, National Women’s Law Center. Listen to previous conference calls and meetings on our National Conference Calls page.

Advocacy Training: Advocacy 101 Training and What to Expect at the International Conference, May 11 at 12:00 pm ET. Join online at: https://www.fuze.me/28699630 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, passcode 28699630.

RESULTS Introductory Call, May 13 at 9:00 pm ET. If you are new to RESULTS, learn more about our work by joining our next RESULTS Intro Call. Register for an upcoming call on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, May 19 at 8:00pm ET. Join online at: http://fuze.me/27491886; or by phone at (201) 479-4595 and enter Meeting ID: 27491886. For more information, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).

RESULTS Group Start in Salt Lake City, May 19 at 7:30 pm MT. Contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for more details.

Attend the RESULTS International Conference, July 18-21. Join us for the RESULTS International Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. This is the biggest event of the year for RESULTS. Register TODAY!

Find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

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