U.S. Poverty Weekly Update February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014

We’ve been through a painful economic time, a tough winter. But there’s cause for optimism. 50 years ago we cut poverty in half. Spring came for many. We can do it again.

— RESULTS Stamford (CT) Free Agent Lucinda Winslow in a February 24 op-ed in the New Haven Register

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Read the RESULTS Blog Post about Getting Op-eds Published (February Action)

As you work this month to get your op-eds published about economic mobility in America, please check out our new RESULTS Blog post from RESULTS Stamford (CT) Free Agent Bill Baker. Since joining RESULTS last spring, Bill and his wife Lucinda Winslow have been responsible for getting eight op-eds and four letters to the editor published on U.S. Poverty issues, three of them coming this past weekend. Last week, Bill shared some of his insights and advice on how he’s been successful at getting media published on our February RESULTS Media Support Call. Bill was kind enough to share his notes from the call on the RESULTS Blog so more of you can learn from his expertise.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to read Bill Baker’s RESULTS Blog post with best practices for getting op-eds published. Use his strategies to get your own op-ed published about expanding economic mobility in America. For an example of Bill’s success, see his economic mobility op-ed published last Friday in the Stamford Advocate and the Greenwich Time. If you need additional help with drafting, editing, or submitting your op-ed, please contact RESULTS Grassroots Manager Jos Linn at [email protected]. Be sure to also let Jos know when you get published so we can celebrate your success with you.

Got Ten Minutes? Submit Your Economic Mobility Op-Ed (February Action)

Our February U.S. Poverty Action focuses on getting op-eds published about economic mobility in America. By generating media, you can help change the conversation to what we can do to solve the problem of poverty. For many of you, doing an op-ed can feel intimidating. However, they are easier than you might think. The key to a good op-ed is a having a good “hook.” A hook is something that grabs the attention of the newspaper editor (and ultimately the reader) that gets them interested in reading and publishing your piece. Here are some ideas for hooks for your pieces:

  • A personal story. Personal stories are some of the best hooks. If you or someone you know has had an experience related to poverty in America and you don’t mind sharing it, use that. Collaborating with local non-profits (food banks, housing service providers, shelters, churches, etc.) can also be a way to share powerful stories. Make sure to get permission from the person whose story you are telling; you can also change the name/personal details in a story for privacy purposes – just note that in your op-ed.
  • A co-signer. Is there someone in your community who could have a powerful voice on this issue? Staff and volunteers at local community-focused organizations make great co-signers and add real value to your op-ed. They will bring a human, local connection to your piece. Interviewing someone from a local nonprofit could also provide great fodder for your piece, even if she/he doesn’t want to be listed as an author.
  • A local event or scandal that’s in the news. Have there been any big developments at major local employers/businesses that could have an effect on local economic opportunity? What about a local political scandal? (e.g. the scandal surrounding Gov. Chris Christie and the closing of the GW Bridge is a metaphor for what happens to low-income Americans each day – they are doing their best to work and support their families but they keep facing roadblocks that thwart their efforts)
  • A new piece of legislation or comment by a lawmaker or person of notoriety. If you can think of a well-known person in your immediate area (a respected city councilperson, a business leader, a local celebrity), all the better.
  • A new report highlighting the issue (e.g. this new report from the New America Foundation talks about low-income savings and the Financial Security Credit).
  • A cultural event, e.g. a new movie, the Olympics, a popular TV show, an influential book (e.g. it was announced that JK Rowling will be publishing a new book this year. She is one of the wealthiest people in the world but did you know that before she achieved her fame, she was a single mom living on public assistance?). Even something as simple as the weather can be a frame for your piece – see this example just published yesterday!

TAKE ACTION: Submit your op-ed this week. Our goal is to get 15 pieces published from this action. We’ve gotten three so far and hope to see more this week. It’s not too late to get started. Here are resources to help:

As always, if you have questions or need help with anything, please don’t hesitate to contact Jos Linn ([email protected])to brainstorm ideas, read/edit your pieces, and coach you on submitting your pieces.

Got Twenty Minutes? Spread the Word about RESULTS!

We’ve got a lot of things cooking as we work to expand RESULTS into new states and congressional districts.

First, we want to welcome our newest organizer, Kristy Martino ([email protected]), to the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff. With more than a decade's worth of experience in the advertising and design field, Kristy is helping bring the power of messaging and storytelling into her work at RESULTS. She has been an ally of many social justice and rights organizations across the country and is now dedicating her professional career to truly making a difference in the world. Kristy's life experience has certainly shaped her worldview. Being born into a working class family in Binghamton, New York, she saw poverty and struggle first as a detriment, then as a means to ascend and transform herself and those around her, engraining the power of any ordinary citizen's political voice as a force for change. She is a passionate thinker that values listening, pragmatism and curiosity. Kristy currently lives with her husband and two cats in Kittery Point, Maine. Kristy will work for RESULTS part time to help us start new groups in the Northeast and South. Welcome, Kristy!

Here some other exciting events coming up. Plan to participate and invite others to do so too:

February 26 – RESULTS Expansion Team Webinar. Join the RESULTS Expansion Team for their monthly webinar on expanding RESULTS into new areas. This month’s webinar will focus on telling stories about our involvement with RESULTS and practicing how to add a sense of “urgency” based on our current campaigns. The webinar is tomorrow, February 26 at 9:00 pm ET. To join, go to http://fuze.me/22978863 and/or dial: (201) 479-4595, meeting #: 22978863.

February 28 – March 1 – IMPACT Conference. RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Myrdin Thompson will be traveling to Valparaiso, IN this weekend to present at the annual IMPACT Conference. IMPACT is a great opportunity to reach out to college students and engage them in social action. Contact Myrdin at [email protected] for more details.

March 1 – Hunger Free Communities Summit. RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson will be presenting at the 2014 Hunger Free Communities Summit. The Summit brings big names to Washington to talk about policies and strategies for ending poverty. Meredith will speak about effective messaging in grassroots advocacy.

March 12 – RESULTS Presentation in Iowa City. RESULTS Grassroots Organizer Jos Linn will be doing a RESULTS presentation to start a new group in Iowa City, IA. If you know anyone in eastern Iowa, please invite them to come. The meeting is Wednesday, March 12, 6:30 – 8:30 pm CT at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 2675 E. Washington St. in Iowa City. For more details, contact Jos at [email protected]. Also share our Iowa City Facebook Event page and invite others to come!

April 5 – 8 – RESULTS New England. Meredith Dodson will be in New Hampshire and Maine for meetings with potential new advocates and allies. If you know anyone in these areas, please contact Meredith at [email protected] for more details about her itinerary.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to help expand RESULTS into new areas. Plan to join one or more of the events listed above. Also, invite people you know to attend these events. The more people we connect with, the more impact we will have. In addition to these events:

  • Share the Everyday Heroes Video. When inviting someone to a RESULTS event, urge them to watch our Everyday Heroes video. This 7 minutes video provides and inspiring and informative snapshot of RESULTS. You can find the video at: https://results.org/about/everyday_heroes/. You can also download an mp4 of the video for your own use in outreach meetings at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rfu8vu2z7hy0ef7/Everyday%20Heroes_Final.mp4
  • Connect with a Local Circle USA Group. RESULTS is working to strengthen ties with Circles USA. Circle’s mission is “to inspire and equip families and communities to resolve poverty and thrive” through peer-based support and advocacy. Our new RESULTS Albuquerque group grew out of our partnership with Circles and a number of Circles leaders attend the RESULTS International Conference last year. We hope to build even more connections this year. Find a local Circles group near you and reach out to them. For more details about our work with Circles, contact Meredith Dodson at [email protected].

Invite Two People You Know to This Friday’s RESULTS Introductory Call

Do you enjoy working with RESULTS? Do you get satisfaction from your volunteer work with us? If the answer is yes, why not help someone else create their own good experiences with RESULTS. It’s not hard at all. Each month, RESULTS holds RESULTS Introductory Calls. This 30-45 minute call provides you an overview of RESULTS and our work, as well as how you can get involved. There is no pressure – it’s simply giving people the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Who do you know who would like that chance?

TAKE ACTION: Contact two friends today and invite them to sign up at: https://results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/. The next RESULTS Introductory Call is this Friday, February 28 at 1:00 pm ET. All are welcome. If this week doesn’t work, no worries. We do the calls twice per month and they can sign up for another upcoming call. To entice them, ask them to watch our new Everyday Heroes video:  https://results.org/about/everyday_heroes/. Give someone you know the gift of RESULTS!

Great Job on Face-to-Face Meetings – Keep Making Those Requests

Thank you to everyone who contacted your congressional offices about meetings and town halls during last week’s congressional recess. We had a successful week, with potentially six face-to-face meetings or public events last week alone. Our volunteers in Montana scored a coup by meeting with both of their senators (Jon Tester and John Walsh) at the same event on Saturday morning. So far in 2014, RESULTS U.S. Poverty volunteers have had 11 face-to-face meetings (8 reps and 3 senators). We have a goal of meeting face-to-face with every representative and one-third of senators where we have volunteers. Keep up the good work and we’ll not only meet those goals, but exceed them.

TAKE ACTION: Follow up on your face-to-face meeting requests or if you have not submitted a face-to-face request, contact your House and Senate schedulers to get on the calendar. Congress will be on recess March 17-21 and then again April 14-25. Ask for a meeting during these recesses to talk about expanding economic mobility in America. Here are resources to help:

Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]). Meredith will help you prepare with personalized coaching for your members of Congress and other materials to take with you.

RESULTS International Conference: Apply for the REAL Change Fellowship

Are you a RESULTS activist between the ages of 18 – 28? RESULTS has proven over the past 33 years that when people like you use their voices effectively, we can make progress towards ending poverty. Become a REAL Change Fellow learn how to become a change maker who fights poverty at home and abroad!

We are looking for the next generation of young activists and leaders in fighting poverty. RESULTS will train and guide you to create personal relationships with policymakers in Congress and other branches of government. We’ll train and support you to speak powerfully and engage with the media and your community. As a REAL Change fellow, you are committing to 3-6 hours a week and Wednesday night bi-monthly conference calls. Fellows will also attend the 2014 RESULTS International Conference (almost all of their costs will be paid for), where will receive specialized training. Applications for REAL Change are due March 21st at 5:00 pm, and will be accepted on a rolling basis. To learn more, check out www.results.org/realchange. Apply today!

If you’re not REAL Change eligible, we want you to join us at 2014 RESULTS International Conference too! The conference is being held June 21-24 in Washington, DC at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel. We are pleased to announce that Shearine McGee from Witnesses to Hunger will also be speaking at our “Learning from The Real Experts” session (a similar session last year was heralded as the best at the conference). She will be joining confirmed guest speakers President of the World Bank Jim Kim, Founder of the Children’s Defense Fund Marian Wright Edelman, David Bornstein of The New York Times, and Michael Gerson of The Washington Post at the conference.

Join us for our biggest event of the year. Register for the conference TODAY!

Quick News

Join EITC Webinar on March 5. Tax Credits for Working Families will host an informative webinar on the details of the President's proposal to increase the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and its potential impact on low-income workers. Panelists will also discuss the proposal's prospects on Capitol Hill. Confirmed speakers include: Aviva Aron-Dine, Associate Director for Economic Policy, Office of Management and Budget; Elaine Maag, Senior Research Associate, the Tax Policy Center, and Deborah Stein, Tax Credits for Working Families. Join this informative webinar on Wednesday, March 5 at 3:00 pm ET. Register TODAY!

New Research on the EITC and College Enrollment. As reported by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, there is some impressive new data linking the EITC to school performance. These studies show that children in families who receiver a larger EITC had better test scores in middle and high school, had better attendance, graduated high school at higher rates, and were more likely to enroll in college. As you meet with members of Congress and talk to their staff about expanding economic mobility, be sure to include this new data in your discussions.

New Documentary on Poverty Coming to HBO. March welcomes the premiere of the Shriver Report documentary, “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert.”, produced in partnership with HBO Documentary Films and the Center For American Progress. Katrina Gilbert allows an intimate look at her life and all of the daily struggles that come with living on the brink and raising three children by herself, and what we find is a story that’s not simply unique to one woman, but one that’s relevant to over 42 million American women. Her story is our story. “Paycheck to Paycheck” will premiere on HBO on March 17 at 9:00 pm ET. Don’t have HBO? CLICK HERE to register for a FREE streaming event of the documentary. Visit ShriverReport.org to learn more about the documentary and upcoming contests, tweet-ups, and Google Hangouts with Maria Shriver and other exciting guests.

Watch NAF Event on Tax Time Savings. What if we could get millions of Americans to apply their tax refunds to building financial security by paying down debt, saving for an emergency, or building a nest egg?  In 2013, Intuit, Inc. (the makers of TurboTax), the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, and Duke University launched Refund to Savings to see if simple changes integrated into the tax filing process could help striving families save. As a result, almost $6 million was saved by families earning less than $11,000 a year. The New America Foundation (NAF) hosted a discussion today on key findings of the Refund to Savings experiment and how these lessons can inform broader policy efforts to help families. Watch it at: http://newamerica.net/events/2014/the_tax_man_giveth_refunds and see NAF’s new report about building savings during tax time with the Financial Security Credit.

For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary and our 2014 U.S. Poverty Campaigns Overview on the RESULTS website.

Fundraising Update – Invite People to our St. Louis Fundraiser This Weekend

If you know anyone in St Louis, please invite them to the RESULTS St Louis house party this weekend. The theme will be a celebration of Everyday Heroes and our recent global poverty successes. The event is this Saturday, March 1, 7:00 – 9:00 pm CT. Click here for more details.

Thank you to our Snohomish, WA and Oak Park, IL groups who both held fundraising events in February! Teresa Rugg and Willie Dickerson in WA State held a joint birthday party where they invited their friends to donate and take action with them. Their Celebrations website raised $370 and they collected even more at the event. Julia Ryan of IL invited donors to her home for a house concert. They highlighted our work on global education for girls and made sure all partners got a chance to speak. We look forward to hearing the full tallies for each group and congratulate them for their boldness!

We are pleased to be helping many groups with their 2014 fundraising plans, including: Houston, Kitsap-Bremerton, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Bloomington, Portland, PG County, and Minneapolis. If you would like support, please contact Cindy Levin at [email protected].


Please Send in Your 2014 Group Plans! If you have not submitted your 2014 Group Plan Summary, please do so ASAP. We want to get all the plans in this month. Please submit a copy of your plan to Jos Linn at [email protected]. You can find all the Group Planning materials on our Group Resources page.

Give Feedback to Grassroots Board Members. The four RESULTS Grassroots Board Members (Heide Craig, Lydia Pendley, Ginnie Vogts, and Beth Wilson) would like to hear from you if you have questions or ideas about RESULTS and our work. Send your questions or suggestions to Heide at: [email protected].

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: March 17-21, April 14-25. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, February 26: Webinar for expanding RESULTS into new areas, 9:00 pm ET. Go to http://fuze.me/22978863 or dial: (201) 479-4595, meeting number: 22978863.

Friday, February 28: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at https://results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

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

Tuesday, March 18: RESULTS Media Support Call, 8:00 pm ET. 712-775-7300 Passcode 954747#.

Tuesday, March 18: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Saturday, June 21 – Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. More details soon. REGISTER TODAY!

RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. 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 email 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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