U.S. Poverty Weekly Update October 21, 2014
A hungry man is not a free man.
— Adlai Stevenson
New and Urgent in This Week's Update
- Got Two Minutes? Find a Candidate Event to Attend (October Action)
- Got Ten Minutes? Prepare for Candidate Events (October Action)
- Got Twenty Minutes? Review your 2014 Group Plan
Latest from Washington, DC
Got Two Minutes? Find a Candidate Event to Attend (October Action)
For the October Action, RESULTS is working to connect with congressional candidates to educate them about RESULTS, poverty in America, and the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), or the Financial Security Credit (FSC). The November election is just two weeks away. Because of that, the opportunity to meet face-to-face with candidates in a sit-down, personal meeting is getting more difficult to arrange. However, these candidates are likely to increase the number of public events they are holding as they work to attract votes – and RESULTS groups have met with seven candidates (including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Don Beyer, candidate for an open House seat in Northern Virginia). Use this opportunity to find an event near you can attend and ask a question. Make the end of poverty a priority in this year’s election.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to find local candidate events you can attend and ask a question by picking up the phone and asking about upcoming events. Use the October Action as a guide for reaching out to campaigns and preparing for these meetings. You can find candidate websites and other information on the RESULTS Election page. See more below for tips on preparing for a town hall.
Got Ten Minutes? Prepare for Candidate Events (October Action)
Once you find a candidate event to attend this month, be ready to make the most of this opportunity. If the event is a traditional town hall, use the tips from our Town Hall Activist Milestone to get ready for the event – organize a group to go, prepare questions ahead of time, sit separately at the event, get your hand up quickly. However, some of these events may merely be stump speeches with no formal Q&A section. No worries! You can still make a difference. Here are some tips to help you:
- Get there early to get a layout of the event
- Find a spot close to the podium or microphone where the candidate will speak
- Get in position to shake the candidates hand before or after the event
- When the candidate shakes your hand, hold on firmly and lean in to ask a question; make it quick because you will only have a few seconds (e.g. “I strongly support helping working families make ends meet. The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit help lift millions of working families out of poverty. If elected, will you work to protect and expand the EITC and CTC ?”)
- Seek out campaigns staff at the event and ask a few minutes to talk to them. Spend that time introducing yourself and RESULTS and talking to them about the EITC and CTC. Also ask if they can arrange a meeting with the candidate before or after the election.
Even short encounters with candidates and their staff can make a difference. Make poverty part of the 2014 election and get to a candidate event today.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to prepare for your upcoming candidate event. Use the October Action for tips to find out about events and to get ready. See our 2014 sample Laser Talks on the EITC/CTC and FSC and find Sample Town Hall Questions on the RESULTS website. Once you know you plan to attend a candidate event, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to set up a call to help your prepare. Be sure to also print out our Economic Mobility Lobby Meeting Request Sheet to take to your meeting and give to the candidate or his/her staff, and fill out our reporting form after the meeting. Also, see below for additional resources on the new Supplemental Poverty Measure to help you prepare.
As you wait for the next candidate event in your area, use this down time to review your 2014 Group Plan. As you know, every January RESULTS groups create a group plan laying out their goals for the year. The goals can center around group health, legislative actions, relationships with members of Congress and their staff, media, outreach, and fundraising. Group plans work best when you review them regularly and make adjustments as needed. This is a good time to do so.
As you look at your group plan, assess how many of your goals you have already reached and celebrate them. Then look at the goals yet to be accomplished and figure what your group can do to reach before the end of the year. Review not only your legislative and media goals, but also the goals you set for outreach and fundraising. Have you held an outreach meeting in 2014? If so, how did it grow and strengthen your group. If not, what kind of outreach can you do in the net two and half months? There’s still plenty of time. Also, is your group doing fundraising this year, either an event on an online Friends & Family campaign? If so, did you reach your goal? If not, what can you do before the end of the year to help raise important financial resources for RESULTS’ work?
Please know that RESULTS staff and Regional Coordinators are here to help you. Group leaders can use your weekly support calls to get coaching on group plan review. Of course, you can also contact Grassroots Manager Jos Linn ([email protected]) with questions as well.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to review your 2014 Group Plan with your groups. Celebrate goals and milestones you’ve reached and formulate to achieve your remaining goals before the end of the year. Don’t forget to look at your outreach and fundraising goals and work to achieve them as well. In particular, the holiday season is a prime time for fundraising and people look to meet their annual giving goals. You can help them do so by holding an event or doing on online Friends and Family campaign. For questions and coaching to meet your fundraising goals, contact Jen DeFranco at [email protected]).
As always, please contact RESULTS staff or your Regional Coordinator for assistance in your group plan review.
Last week, the Census Bureau released its 2013 Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM is designed to provide a more accurate view of poverty in America. Unlike the official poverty measure released last month, the SPM takes various government programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into account in calculating the poverty rate. It also looks at the impact of certain expenses on family incomes, such as taxes paid, child support, and out-of-pocket medical expenses (for a description of the difference between the official poverty measure and the SPM, go here). This helps policy-makers and the public better understand the impact and benefit these programs provide to millions of low-income Americans. Here are some of the findings from today’s release:
- The overall poverty rate in 2013 using the SPM was 15.5 percent, or 48.7 million Americans. The official poverty rate released in September was 14.6 percent or 45.8 million Americans.
- The child poverty rate in 2013 using the SPM was 16.4 percent (12.1 million children) compared to 20.4 percent (15 million children) using the official measure.
- If the EITC and CTC were not available, the poverty rate (using the SPM) would have been 2.9 points higher at 18.4 percent. For children, the poverty rate would have been a staggering 6.4 points higher (22.8 percent). The EITC and CTC lifted 8.8 million people out of poverty in 2013.
- If SNAP were not available, the poverty rate would have been 1.6 points higher (17.1 percent). SNAP lifted 4.8 million people out of poverty in 2013.
Another sobering statistic from the SPM shows that out-of-pocket medical expenses pushed 11.1 million people into poverty in 2013 (the SPM poverty rate would have been 12 percent but for these medical expenses).
What this data confirms is that poverty is still a serious problem in America. With almost 50 million men, women, and children facing economic hardship, we need to do more. The data also confirms how integral the EITC and CTC are to people living in poverty, especially children. Except for Social Security (which lifted 27 million out of poverty in 2013), the EITC and CTC are our most effective tools at reducing poverty. That is why it is essential that Congress work to protect and expand these credits, starting by making the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements permanent. For additional resources about the EITC and CTC, the Center on Budget has a new interactive EITC/CTC calculator that allows you to see the impact of letting the 2009 improvements expire. You can calculate the impact based on family size, tax filing status, and income. Also, a new report from the Center for American Progress highlights how the EITC can be used to promote financial stability and economic mobility.
TAKE ACTION: Follow up with editorial writers this week with the new Supplemental Poverty Data. If your local paper did not do an editorial last month, contact them again today and send them a link to our updated editorial memo (pdf version). The SPM includes state level poverty as well as data on how programs like the EITC, CTC, SNAP, and others reduced poverty in 2013. This helpful chart is great to send to editorial writers. The September Action has resources to help you with media outreach. You can also contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help.
Here’s the latest on our outreach efforts this fall.
Lawrence, KS. Yesterday, Grassroots Manager Jos Linn and Global Health Organizer Amanda Beals held a group start meeting on Lawrence, KS. While the group in attendance was small (they were competing against perfect weather in eastern Kansas), a new group got stated. They include volunteers interested in both global and U.S. poverty. They will begin their training on Monday, November 3 and are looking to recruit new members as we speak. If you know someone in the Lawrence area, please contact Jos ([email protected]) to get them connected to this exciting new group.
St. Louis, MO. Last night, Jos Linn traveled to St. Louis for an outreach meeting to rebuild and strengthen the RESULTS St. Louis U.S. Poverty group. Working with REAL Change participant Sarah Miller and other long-standing members of the group, the meeting was very successful – seven new people joined the group for a total of 11 St. Louis volunteers! We’re excited about the energy and enthusiasm these new people will bring to our already impressive and experienced group there. The St. Louis group’s first meeting is Thursday, November 6 at 7:15 pm ET at Schlafly’s Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave, St. Louis, MO. If you know people in the St. Louis area, please contact Sarah Miller ([email protected]) to get them connected to the group.
Salt Lake City, UT. Moving westward, RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson continues to work with advocates in Salt Lake City, UT to start a new group there. Utah is a key state for our U.S. Poverty work; Sen. Orrin Hatch is the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee (and could become Chair if Republicans win the Senate in November), which oversees tax policy for the Senate. He has tremendous influence over the future of the EITC, CTC, and Financial Security Credit. Having active volunteers in Utah pushing him to protect and expand these credits could make a big difference. The SLC team is having a planning call on October 25 at 2:00 pm MT. If you know people in the Salt Lake City area or other parts of Utah, please contact Meredith at [email protected] to get them connected to our work there.
North Carolina. U.S. Poverty Organizer, Kristy Martino spent the weekend in North Carolina, meeting up with RESULTS volunteers Heather Stein and Darren Lipman. Darren and Kristy joined up with REALChange fellow, Michael Richardson to attend the Tavis Smiley Ending Poverty Townhall event at Shaw University, the oldest Historically Black University in the South. The town hall, moderated by Tavis Smiley, featured a dynamic panel of experts and legislators, touching on issues and tactics that RESULTS folks are familiar with; the EITC and CTC, the efficacy of writing LTEs and Face to Face meetings, and the power of our vote. Check out this picture of Michael, Darren, Kristy, and Tavis Smiley – Tavis Smiley also did a shout out to RESULTS during the event.
From Raleigh, Kristy set out to Guilford College in Greensboro, to present an advocacy workshop at the Bonner Congress where the students were engaged, excited and fantastically optimistic – ready to take action on the issues they care most about. For more information about Kristy’s work in North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas, please contact her at [email protected].
Southern California. Last Sunday RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris gave a talk at All Saints Church in Pasadena, and RESULTS volunteers Anita Lee and Vanessa Garcia organized outreach events to make the most of Sam’s trip out west. There were 25 people at the LA event and 15 at the Orange County event, and we are following up with attendees to build our Southern California network. In the last year Sam completed a 30-city speaking tour on the 20th anniversary edition of his book Reclaiming Our Democracy: Healing the Break between People and Government. Great job Vanessa and Anita!
Organizations Including RESULTS Call for Investments in Child Nutrition Programs. More than 1000 organizations including RESULTS and several RESULTS groups sent a letter (pdf) to President Obama, urging him to include significant new investments for child nutrition programs in his FY2016 budget. Want to take a quick action to fight hunger? Tell Congress to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps).
For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.
Save the Date for the 2015 International Conference. The next RESULTS International Conference will be held July 18-21, 2015 at the Washington Court Hotel. Plan to join us in DC next summer for another great conference. We will have more details and registration information for you soon.
Join us in congratulating Margaret Smith and the Dallas Group in their incredible Thanksgiving Virtual Feast Friends & Family Campaign. They have surpassed both their original goal of $1,500 and new goal of $3,000, raising $3,585! In just a few short weeks, the group rallied their friends and family to join them in fight to provide funding for nutrition to world’s children. Way to go Dallas!
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: September 22 – November 11. Request face-to-face meetings.
Tuesday, October 21: U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.
Friday, October 31: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register at: https://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/#Introductory%20Call.
Thursday, November 27 – Friday, November 28: All RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Saturday, July 18 – Tuesday, July 21, 2015: RESULTS International Conference, Washington Court Hotel, Washington, DC. Details coming soon!
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:
- Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (202) 783-7100, x.116, [email protected].
- Jos Linn, Grassroots Manager, U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (502) 295-1315, [email protected]
- Kristy Martino, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (603) 531-7486, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- Jen DeFranco, Grassroots Development Associate, [email protected]
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.