U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 23, 2016

August 23, 2016

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | August 23, 2016

“New York’s congressional representatives move to expand the EITC to vulnerable workers, who, despite their greatest efforts to earn a livable income, are being pushed even further into poverty.”

– RESULTS Albany REAL Change Fellow Kassandra Martinchek in an August 11 letter to the editor in the Albany Times Union

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Get a Face-to-Face Meetings with Lawmakers Before They Head Back to DC

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Use Last Two Weeks of Recess to Meet with Members of Congress (August Action)

Members of Congress only have two weeks left of their seven-week recess. Whatever will they do with their time? Meet with you, that’s what. Congress is gearing up for a fast-paced September, where they have to finalize a plan to keep the government open past the election. That, plus the election, will dominate their attention for the month. Meeting with them now will give you the time to lay out the importance of addressing poverty before and after the election. By advocating for strengthening policies that help low-income working Americans, you remind them 1) to preserve funding for important anti-poverty programs during budget negotiations and 2) to protect and strengthen programs and services after the election.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to contact schedulers about setting up face-to-face meetings and attend town halls with members of Congress this month. The August Action has tips to prepare for town halls, as well as sample questions you can ask. You can find websites for members of Congress on our Elected Officials page (under the “Contact” tab). Once you do get a meeting or plan to attend a town hall, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to set up a lobby prep call to help you get ready. Also, please take copies of our EITC, wealth gap, and SNAP request sheets with you.

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Got Ten Minutes? Find Candidate Events to Attend and Ask a Question (August Action)

You might have heard that there is an election this fall. That means America is awash with candidates seeking your attention and your vote. Why not make them earn it? Too often candidates are elected without providing the details of their positions on the issues. And we are complicit when we don’t ask for those details. Candidate events and town halls are your opportunity to do that.

For example, does Jason Kander (running for Senate in MO) support expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers? Will Darryl Glenn (running for Senate in CO) stand up for hungry families by protecting SNAP from cuts and block grants? What would your House candidates do about helping low-income families build savings and assets? You won’t know the answers without finding where they’re speaking, planning to attend, and asking the questions. These people will be representing you in Congress. Do you want them taking on that job without knowing what you care about?

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to research candidates in your area and find events you can attend. Find out who your candidates on our Elections page and then contact them to find events near you. Use the August Action and resources from Saturday’s National Webinar to help you prepare. As always, RESULTS staff is available to help you with drafting questions and to provide coaching for these events. Please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) for assistance.

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Got Twenty Minutes? Use the 20th Anniversary of Welfare Reform as a Quick Media Hook

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the program that replaced AFDC (“traditional” welfare) when President Clinton signed welfare reform in 1996. As many have pointed out, the legacy of TANF has been mixed at best – and the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the 1990s played a substantial, and perhaps more significant, role in supporting millions of low-income single mothers to enter the workforce. It is important, in particular, to understand TANF’s record as a block grant program, given some politicians’ interest in a similar model (under veiled language as “streamlining” or “flexibility”) for nutrition programs such as SNAP (formerly Food Stamps).

The anniversary of welfare reform and the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty (in 2014) provide an important opportunity to educate ourselves, policymakers, and others in our community about the success (and lack thereof) of key anti-poverty programs. It also allows us to remind them that there is still work to be done, such as addressing the racial wealth gap. Next month, we’ll use the September 13 release of the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty data to get the word out in the media on ending poverty, but we urge you to read more and use any press coverage of welfare reform as a hook to send off a quick letter to the editor today.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to review information about welfare reform’s legacy, and use the media coverage of the anniversary as a hook to get a letter to the editor published urging candidates and Congress to make ending poverty a priority. You can tailor our online media alert about expanding the EITC for young workers and others not raising children or our media alert about protecting and strengthening nutrition programs including SNAP to send your letter today.

For more analyses of the impact of welfare reform, we recommend:

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Give Us Your Feedback on 2017 Fundraising Goals

As RESULTS advocates, each year you play a critical role in ensuring our organization has the resources needed to end extreme poverty by hosting fundraising events and joining Friends and Family fundraising campaigns. The financial resources you secure support our volunteer advocacy work – including funding grassroots staff and expanding our network to all 50 states.

This October we begin the process of finalizing RESULTS’ 2017 budget. In the past, we’ve estimated our yearly fundraising goals based on past experience. However, that is not always the most accurate measure. This year, we want to be proactive and include you in the process from the very beginning.

To do that, we ask that you estimate your group’s 2017 fundraising plans and goals and share it with us now. We’ll then use this information to shape the overall budget. We understand that many of you have done little or no planning at this point – and that’s okay. We just need a general idea of what you plan to do.

To help you, here are the fundraising opportunities we have planned for 2017:

  • Spring Fundraising Friends and Family Campaign (FFC)
  • Virtual Thanksgiving Feast FFC
  • Celebrations FFC –  to commemorate a personal milestone, like a birthday, anniversary, or athletic feat
  • Fundraising Event – in person gathering

In addition, please know that when you sign up to fundraise for RESULTS, you have the support of the Development team behind you. During your FFC or event, you will get one-on-one support from Development staff, customized fundraising materials such as invitation templates, Facebook posts, Tweets, and phone scripts, and help you design a personal online fundraising page.

To make this easy for you, we have a simple Google form you can fill out with your estimated 2017 fundraising plans. Please discuss your plans with your local RESULTS group and have one person complete the complete the form by September 21. Your cooperation will help us stay on track for budget planning.

If you need help filling out the form or have questions about your fundraising group plan, please contact Mea Geizhals, Grassroots Fundraising Manager, at [email protected] or (202) 783-4800, x. 131.

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Quick News

Register for CHN’s Poverty Data Webinar. On September 13, the U.S. Census will release its annual poverty data for 2015. The information included in this data release gives you an idea on how the U.S. is doing at combatting poverty and what’s left to be done. To help you get ready for the release and understand the data when it comes out, join our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs for a webinar with economist and Senior Fellow at CBPP Jared Bernstein, CHN’s Debbie Weinstein, and Ellen Teller of FRAC for an overview of what’s expected and how you can use the data in your advocacy work. The webinar is Wednesday, September 7 at 3:00 pm ET. Register for it today on the CHN website.

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Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events. Also, find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

U.S. Poverty Staff Vacation Schedules: Kristy Martino, August 26; Jos Linn, August 31 – September 5.

Congressional Recesses: Monday, July 18 – Monday, September 5 (House and Senate). Request face-to-face meetings. After your meeting, please tell us how it went by filling out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.

RESULTS Introductory Call, Friday, August 26, at 1:00 pm ET. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.

CHN Poverty Data Webinar, Wednesday, September 7 at 3:00 pm ET. Register at the CHN website.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, Saturday, September 10 at 12:30 pm ET. Join online at http://fuze.me/32255914 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#. Listen to previous webinars on our National Webinars page.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, Tuesday, September 20 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. To participate, login in at http://fuze.me/32256018 or dial by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Vanessa Garcia at [email protected]. You can download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: https://results.org/about/annual_report/.

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