U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012

Programs that increase income for families living in or close to poverty, like the earned-income tax credit, have positive effects on educational performance, as do programs that reduce economic segregation.

— Nancy Folbre, economics professor at the University of Massachusetts in an August 20 New York Times blog post

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Sign Your Local RESULTS Group onto “SAVE Vital Services and Prevent Rising Poverty” Letter

As part of the SAVE for All campaign, the Coalition on Human Needs is circulating a letter to Congress urging House and Senate members to protect anti-poverty programs. It urges members of Congress to protect important programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Head Start, child care, SNAP, and Medicaid from proposed or automatic deficit reduction cuts. The letter urges a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes targeted cuts as well as new revenue generated by ending costly tax cuts for the wealthy. CHN is looking to get as many national, state, and local organizations signed onto this letter as possible. RESULTS has already signed on as a national sponsor and we urge you to also sign your local RESULTS group on as well. The letter will be sent to Congress in September.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and sign your local RESULTS group onto the SAVE Principles letter. You can sign onto the letter at the CHN website. In addition to including a contact person for your group, sign the letter as “RESULTS Buffalo” or “RESULTS Santa Fe” and click “Authorized” when asked if you have authorization to sign on. Sign up your group today then send this out to other allies and groups in your community and urge them to sign on as well.

In addition, you can send a letter to the editor to your local paper urging Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of low-income families. Use our online LTE action to send your letter today.

Got Ten Minutes? Tell Members of Congress to Protect Tax Credits for Working Families (August Action)

There are only two weeks left in the summer recess, which means there is still time to get in front of members of Congress to talk about the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) to low-income working families. The August Action sheet provides lots of useful tips for setting up face-to-face meetings, as well as preparing for town hall events.

To help with drafting questions for your members of Congress in meetings and town halls, the Center for American Progress (CAP) has a new report on the impact that could be very helpful. The report examines H.R.8, the tax extension bill passed by the House a few weeks ago. As you recall, H.R.8 extends all the Bush tax cuts, including tax cuts for millionaires, but raises taxes on low-income, working families by eliminating the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC. CAP shows that these changes will negatively affect an important constituency to members of Congress — military families. For example, a married military police staff sergeant with three children would see his/her taxes increase by $1,118 under the House tax bill. Considering politicians go out of their way to demonstrate their support for the troops, they should be reminded that the House bill raises the taxes on men and women in uniform. Here is a sample question for a town hall meeting incorporating this information:

Representative/Senator_________________, in the past you have expressed your admiration and gratitude to the American men and women serving in our Armed Forces. Yet, are you aware that recent tax cut bill passed by the House actually raises taxes for these brave men and women? The House bill cuts taxes for millionaires and billionaires but specifically eliminates recent improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. This means that school teachers, firemen, police offices, child care workers, and yes, military families will see their taxes go up. Representative/Senator_________________, will you work with congressional leadership to enact a tax bill that protects working families by extending the expiring improvements to the EITC and Child Tax Credit?

TAKE ACTION: Take 10 minutes to draft a quick and powerful question urging your members of Congress to protect tax credits for working families. Use the EPIC Laser Talk format to help draft your question. Once you have your question, take it to a town hall event or face-to-face meeting this month. Use the August Action sheet, as well as the resources from last week’s update, to help you prepare for these meetings and events. Even if you don’t have a face-to-face meeting scheduled yet, take time during your group meetings this month to go through this preparation process. Sometimes groups will only have short notice about a meeting or town hall so by preparing early, you’ll be good to go when the time comes. Once you’ve had your meeting or attended an event, please fill out our lobby report form: http://tinyurl.com/2012lobbyreportform.

We have also updated our 2012 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary, as well as our recent developments pages regarding our Economic Opportunity and Early Childhood campaigns. When preparing for meetings and town halls, use these resources to keep up-to-date on recent congressional actions.

If you cannot get a face-to-face meeting or attend a town hall meeting this month, urge your members of Congress to protect the EITC and CTC by taking our online email alert.

Got Twenty Minutes? Invite Someone to Be an Advocate for the End of Poverty

Last Thursday, RESULTS started a new U.S. poverty group in Boston! Thirteen people attended to meeting to hear about RESULTS, which was hosted by our friends at United for a Fair Economy and facilitated by RESULTS New England U.S. Poverty Organizer Jenny Martin. This was an incredible group of Bostonians, and new connections were made with key organizations like Action Boston for Community Development (ABCD), the Boston EITC Coalition, and the Boston online network for Africans abroad “Ajabu Africa” (http://www.ajabuafrica.com). Four new people signed up to start a new Boston U.S. poverty group; they will start their new group training this Sunday, August 26 at 4:30 pm in Boston. As always, anyone is welcomed to join the group at any time. Welcome, Boston!

Jenny will also be hosting a RESULTS Coffee Chat for Change this Saturday in western MA. This will be an informal discussion about how RESULTS can help you make a difference in the lives of low-income Americans. The goal is to get a new RESULTS group started there in the next month or two. Here are the details: RESULTS Coffee Chat for Change, Saturday, August 25, 2:00 pm ET, Shellburne Falls Coffee Roasters, 100 Federal Street, Greenfield, MA 01301, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/332628163497420/.

If you know people in Boston or in western MA, please invite them to attend one of these upcoming meetings and forward their contact information to Jenny at [email protected] so she can get them connected to these new groups.

Our success in Boston once again highlights the importance of outreach to our efforts to bring an end to poverty. Much of our outreach success over the years has come from you — the volunteer. You have shared your experiences with others in outreach meetings, individual conversations, and other settings which have inspired others to join our work. It is those stories and experiences that move people into action — move people to make the leap from caring citizen to impassioned advocate.

As we have discussed the last few months, RESULTS has a goal of expanding our reach and impact here in the U.S. as part of our new strategic plan. We have a bold but achievable goal of having RESULTS groups and/or Free Agents in all 50 states and two-thirds of congressional districts by 2015. RESULTS staff is actively working to reach this goal, as evidenced in Boston last week, but we need your help. With the energy of the election gearing up, and the fact that Congress is doing very little legislative work right now, this is a great time to pause and think about the people you know who would find RESULTS as rewarding as you do. Write down their names and then take a few minutes to invite them to learn more. You are the best ambassadors we have. Your stories, your passion, your commitment are what make the difference.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to invite at least one person to learn more about RESULTS. Call them, email them, have lunch, send them a Facebook message — whatever works for you — and share your RESULTS story. Tell then why you got involved, share a meaningful memory from your RESULTS work, or talk about something that excites you about advocacy and then tell them why you think they would enjoy it too. After you’ve shared your story, here are a few next steps you can do to connect them to RESULTS:

  • Invite them to attend a RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 calls are a great intro to RESULTS and our work. The calls are the first Wednesday (9:00 pm ET) and third Friday (1:00 pm ET) of each month. The next call is Wednesday, September 5 at 9:00 pm ET. Urge people to register at: www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.
  • Forward a potential contact to RESULTS staff. RESULTS staff are available to talk one-on-one with new people about our work. If you know someone who might be interested in RESULTS, let our staff know so we can reach out to them. Contact Jenny Martin for contacts in New England (jmar[email protected]) and Jos Linn for contacts outside New England ([email protected]).
  • Invite someone to your local group meeting. One way to expand our reach and impact is to simply grow your group. Perhaps you live in an area that straddles more than one congressional district. Invite them to attend one of your meetings to learn more about your work. By adding just one person from a new district, we are one step closer to our 2015 goal. And even if you don’t live in one of these multi-district areas, getting new people involved magnifies your local voice and makes your impact that much greater.
  • Invite a Fellow Activist to a RESULTS Free Agent Call. Perhaps you know someone who is already taking action but does not have a RESULTS U.S. poverty group nearby. Or perhaps you or someone in your local global group would like to keep up with our U.S. poverty issues. Our new Free Agents calls can help keep these folks connected through a monthly support call. The next RESULTS Free Agents (U.S. Poverty) group call is tonight at 9:00 pm ET (details below).

Join the RESULTS Free Agent Call Tonight at 9pm ET

If you are a RESULTS volunteer taking action (or wanting to take action) but don’t yet have a RESULTS group in your area, join our monthly RESULTS Free Agents group. These monthly support calls are designed to support our “free agent” activists in taking action and staying connected to other RESULTS volunteers and staff. The next RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents call is tonight, August 21 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). If you or someone you know want to become a RESULTS Free Agent, please join us tonight. The U.S. Poverty Free Agents meet every third Tuesday of the month. If you have questions, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Note: We also have a Free Agents group for our global poverty issues. If you or someone you know wants to get monthly support on our global poverty work, please join this call. The next call is next Monday, August 27 at 8:00 pm ET (contact Lisa Marchal, [email protected]) for details). This group normally meets the third Monday of the month at 8:00 pm ET but due to staff vacation schedules, this month’s call was pushed back one week.

Urge Representatives to Join Resolution Protecting SNAP

As noted last week, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), George Miller (D-CA), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) have sponsored H.Res. 760 (full text), a Sense of the House Resolution opposing cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) SNAP cuts. Both the House and Senate have proposed cuts to SNAP as part of their respective Farm Bills. The resolution is designed to send a strong message to House and Senate leadership that cutting SNAP is wrong for children, wrong for families, and wrong for America.

TAKE ACTION: Urge representatives to support H.Res 760. House members’ offices should contact Keith Stern at Rep. Jim McGovern’s office at [email protected] to join as a sponsor (the official sponsorship records will not be updated until Congress returns from recess). If you can’t make a call or your representative is already a sponsor? Use our online email alert to tell Congress to protect SNAP.

Quick News

Join Tomorrow’s Families USA Call about the ACA Medicaid Expansion. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court health reform ruling in June, expanding Medicaid in 2014 will become a significant policy fight in many states. Please join our friends at Families USA for a conference call to discuss strategies for moving forward with the coverage opportunities provided by the expansion, as well as how to advocate for this critical health coverage in your state. The call is tomorrow, August 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm ET. You can register for the call at the Families USA website. Also tell Congress to reject efforts to cut Medicaid in recent budget proposals using our online e-mail alert.

New Report Highlights Rising Child Care Costs. From CLASP: “One challenge many parents face is the rising cost of child care, which is often one of the costliest items in a family budget. In 2011, child care costs exceeded 10 percent of the median household income for a two-parent family in 40 states and the District of Columbia, according Child Care Aware (formerly the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, or NACCRRA), which released the latest update in its ongoing research on the cost of care, Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2012 Report. These high costs rival families’ spending on food, rent, and mortgage payments. In 35 states, the average annual cost of child care exceeds state college tuition.” Read the report and help us Put Child Care on the Map by e-mailing, calling, and meeting with legislators about the importance of child care assistance to low-income, working families.

The Nation Poverty Series Links to RESULTS. Earlier this year, we highlighted a new series by journalist Greg Kaufmann of The Nation called “This Week in Poverty.” Each week, he highlights stories of people impacted by poverty and policy debates going on around issues of poverty. In last Friday’s installment, Mr. Kaufmann highlights a recent wage victory for Houston janitors and the impact of anti-poverty program cuts in Pennsylvania. In his “Get Involved” section, he also links to RESULTS website pages about protecting SNAP and tax credits for working families. We thank Mr. Kaufmann for his support of our work and for his important efforts at making poverty a priority in our national debate. Please take time to read “This Week in Poverty” and show your support by submitting comments about what you read.

RESULTS Also Highlighted in “Bolder Advocacy” Blog. Check out this great plug for RESULTS in yesterday’s Alliance for Justice “Bolder Advocacy” blog entry. Thanks to AFJ for highlighting RESULTS’s work in urging action during the summer recess.


Join our Social Media Rapid Response team! RESULTS is starting a Social Media RapidResponse team to further RESULTS’ reach and impact. The Team, which will be comprised of grassroots volunteers like you, will receive guidance on how to take quick, strategic actions each week via platforms like Twitter and Facebook to spread our message about upcoming legislation and priorities. Never used social media before? That’s okay! We’ll help you get started and build your skills to share important news and resources online and help you become as strong an advocate online as you are offline. Join us for an intro training call Wednesday, August 29 at 9pm ET. Dial (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579. Please RSVP to Laura Ochoa at [email protected].

Fill Out the International Conference Evaluation. If you attended the 2012 RESULTS International Conference, please take a few minutes to fill out our conference evaluation form. Your input is important to us.

Save the Date for September Media Training Call. Next month, the U.S. Census will release its annual poverty data report. This release provides us a unique opportunity to generate powerful media coverage around issues of poverty. Please join the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Team for a media training call on how to create media around the release of the Census poverty report. The call is Wednesday, September 12 at 9:00 pm ET. Dial (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579 to participate.

Fundraising News

We have several great fundraising events coming up in August and September. Please help us promote them if you know anyone in these cities!

Chicago, IL: August 26, 3:00-5:00 pm CT. Afternoon Fiesta with Head Start & Global Education speakers. For more information, contact Cindy Changyit Levin, [email protected], 773-236-7758.  RESULTS Chicago Event Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/405267212840383/

Seattle, WA: September 15, 5:00 – 7:00 pm PT. House Party with Dr. Chris Dunford, Freedom from Hunger. For more information, contact Karen Gielen, [email protected]

Bremerton/Kitsap, WA: September 16. Luncheon event with Dr. Chris Dunford, Freedom from Hunger. For more information, contact Beth Wilson, [email protected]

Anchorage, AK: September 21. House Party with John Hatch, Founder of FINCA. For more information, contact Roger Hudson & Mary Martin, [email protected].

Sitka, AK: September 22. Dinner event with John Hatch, Founder of FINCA. For more information, contact Michele Friedman, [email protected]

Tacoma, WA: September 26. Dinner event with Kolleen Bouchane, ACTION Director. For more information, contact Phyllis Bjorkman, [email protected].

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House: August 4 – September 9. Senate: August 6 – September 7. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, August 21: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Monday, August 27: RESULTS Free Agents group (Global Poverty) call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information, contact Lisa Marchal at [email protected].

Wednesday, August 29: RESULTS Social Media Response Team call, 9:00pm ET. Dial (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579. Please RSVP to Laura Ochoa at [email protected].

Thursday, August 30 (1:00 pm ET) – Monday, September 3: All RESULTS offices closed for Labor Day holiday.

Wednesday, September 5: RESULTS Introductory Call. 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Saturday, September 8: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Wednesday, September 12: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Media Training call, 9:00 pm ET. (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579.

Tuesday, November 6: Election Day.

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. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via 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 U.S. poverty campaigns. 

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