April 2, 2010

CONTENTS
 
 
NEWS YOU CAN USE
   
Get the latest, most expert information on the new poverty measure
Sign up today for two (free!) webinars, April 14 & 21
SafeLink Wireless -- What it is; what it isn’t
SafeLink’s purpose: to expand the safety net & be an emergency resource
   
Looking for funding to set up an Individual Development Account (IDA) program?
Check out the Assets for Independence webinars and learn how!
   
Independent Sector webinar – “Health Care Reform: Impact & Implications for Nonprofits”
April 15th - $100 cost for non-members of Independent Sector
 
Help make the 2010 Census a success
Spread the word about “March to the Mailbox” on April 10th
 
ISSUES AND OPINIONS
Partnership supports Child Nutrition Reauthorization
As numbers of “food insecure” people & children increase across America
   
Another compelling Weatherization news clip – Hartford (CT) Courant
Thanks to Edith Karsky and the great leaders at Community Renewal Team
 
PARTNERSHIP NEWS
 
Partnership staff briefs Federal Reserve staff on our Community Economic Development (CED) work
The Fed’s Division of Consumer & Community Affairs will collaborate & share resources
Ruby Hargrave of Honolulu Community Action Program passes away at 84
 
2010 Annual Convention Call for Presentations requested now!
August 31 – September 3, in Boston

SUPPLEMENTAL POVERTY WEBINAR SERIES

For many years, Community Action advocates and others have expressed their concern that the federal poverty guideline for program eligibility is too low and not reflective of the circumstances of low-income people and families. A key first step in rectifying this situation will be to develop a new supplemental poverty measure, using variables and analysis such as the recommendations by the National Academy of Sciences. While the development of this new measure will not change the program eligibility or existing legislation for federally-funded services and programs, the refinement and updating of a supplemental poverty measure is a necessary, important step in the right direction.

If you’re interested in this public policy issue, check out the item below and register for these webinars as soon as you can.

Register Now for a
TWO-PART WEBINAR on the
SUPPLEMENTAL POVERTY MEASURE



The U.S. Census Bureau has announced plans to develop a supplemental poverty measure based on recommendations by the National Academy of Sciences. This modern assessment of deprivation will be released initially in the fall of 2011 and will be used alongside the official poverty measure, developed half a century ago.

The webinar series is co-sponsored by the Brookings Center on Children and Families, the Half-in-Ten Campaign, the New America Foundation, the National League of Cities, and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.

Together, the two webinars are designed to provide a thorough review of the supplemental poverty measure. You are strongly encouraged to register for both.

A Supplemental Poverty Measure: What It Will and Won't Do

Learn why a new poverty measure is needed and how the supplemental poverty measure will compare to the official poverty measure. Find out how the poverty threshold for each measure will differ. Hear what role Congress will play.
When: Wednesday, April 14, 2-3 p.m. (ET)
Moderator: Michael Laracy, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Speakers: Arloc Sherman, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Indivar Dutta-Gupta, House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support; and Annette Case, Strategies to Eliminate Poverty

Behind the Scenes: Adopting a Supplemental Poverty Measure

Hear from the top about what the administration’s key issues are and how the process will work. Find out why the supplemental poverty measure gets and deserves support across the political spectrum. Learn about state and local efforts to adopt more accurate measures of poverty
When: Wednesday, April 21, 2-3 p.m. (ET)
Moderator: Clifford Johnson, National League of Cities
Speakers: Rebecca M. Blank, Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs;
Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution; Mark Levitan, New York City Center for Economic Opportunity
WHY THE PARTNERSHIP PROMOTES SAFELINK by Don Mathis




SafeLink Wireless – Expanding the Safety Net

There seems to be some confusion and misunderstanding about what the SafeLink Wireless phone program is intended to do and what the Partnership’s role is in encouraging agencies to consider SafeLink. SafeLink is one company that participates in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program which is designed to be used specifically for emergency or urgent situations. No one is forced to buy minutes. The SafeLink model is specifically designed to prevent people from spending money on phone service that they cannot afford, as there is no contract and no monthly bill, ever.

A few Community Action folks suggest that the cost for extra minutes beyond the monthly allowance is misleading or deceptive. Much the way credit cards can be abused, texting addiction can lead to exorbitant bills, and overeating may cause obesity, if a SafeLink participant does not manage his/her time, there are other costs. But SafeLink is not intended for casual usage. SafeLink can be there for emergency services, urgent family matters and other serious circumstances. Most SafeLink customers do not find the need to purchase the additional minutes. A customer may purchase additional time on a prepaid basis.

SafeLink has been available since late 2008. It has helped many people and families and at no time has the free allotment of minutes been decreased nor has anyone ever been forced to buy extra minutes. The Partnership’s role with SafeLink—as it is with every other corporate donor/funder—is to make that service known to our members, knowing that we’ve checked out the legitimacy and credibility of all our corporate sponsors. We encourage everyone to consider SafeLink and to know that the Partnership appreciates SafeLink’s support.

SafeLink Wireless is making it easier than ever for Community Action Agencies to learn more about the free cell phone program for eligible individuals. SafeLink has set up a website: www.SafeLinkAgencies.com. Agencies in active states, https://www.safelinkwireless.com/EnrollmentPublic/ParticipatingStates.aspx, should have received a welcome packet containing login information.

 
ASSETS FOR INDEPENDENCE (AFI) GRANTS DUE JUNE 25, 2010


Assets for Independence Announces Spring Webinar Series!

The Assets for Independence (AFI) program is pleased to announce its spring Webinar series for prospective applicants!

Designed for prospective grantees and their partners, this webinar series includes background on the AFI program, an overview of the application requirements and procedures, and tips for developing strong AFI grant applications.

Register online to participate in the next webinar to learn move about AFI application requirements and procedures from AFI Resource Center Staff. A complete schedule of Webinars, calls, and events for prospective grantees is available online at the AFI Calendar of Events webpage.

AFI is the largest Federal funding source for Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. The AFI program provides funding for non-profit organizations, qualified state and local governments, community development credit unions, and other community-based organizations to provide IDAs for qualified individuals in their area. Each participant sets up an individual savings account that receives matched funding from the federal government and another source. The funds can be used for furthering education, purchasing a home, or starting a business.

The AFI Program is now accepting applications for asset-building programs nationwide. The next AFI grant application deadline June 25, 2010.

More information on the AFI program is available online at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/assetbuilding/ or http://idaresources.org/ or by contacting the AFI Resource Center by emailing info@idaresources.org or by calling 1-866-778-6037.

INDEPENDENT SECTOR IS A GREAT CHAMPION FOR THE NONPROFIT COMMUNITY


Webinar on Health Care Reform:
Impact and Implications for the Nonprofit Community

Thursday, April 15, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET

The health care reform legislation that President Obama has now signed into law will profoundly affect the work of nonprofits and foundations.

Join our April 15 webinar on Health Care Reform: Impact and Implications for the Nonprofit Community to learn more about how these changes will affect you and your organization.
• IS members register here
• Non-members register here (See note below.)

Nick Giordano and Anne Phelps, tax policy and health care experts with Washington Council Ernst & Young, will examine this legislation's effect on nonprofits and foundations as employers, its new rules for nonprofit hospitals, and its implications for our employees and the people we serve.

We'll discuss the timetable for implementation of the changes, questions that will require further guidance from federal agencies, and issues that may require further action by Congress and state governments.

Registration


This webinar is free to staff at Independent Sector member organizations.

Non-members register here
Non-members can also participate, at the cost of $100. If a non-member organization joins Independent Sector by June 30, the fee will be credited toward membership dues. For information about becoming a member, click here.

 

THE PARTNERSHIP SUPPORTS THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU



We need your help to make our 2010 Census “March to the Mailbox” response-rate boosting campaign a success. On Saturday, April 10, we’re aiming to have thousands of volunteers actively encouraging the public to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaire. These activities can include parades, marches, walks, rallies and motorcades — in approximately 6,000 low-responding census tract areas in communities across the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. We’d like your help getting out volunteers for these M2M activities.During this neighborhood blitz, volunteers will converge on streets and high traffic zones to encourage residents to March to the Mailbox and mail back their 2010 Census forms. Local leaders will stand side by side with their community to elevate the message that it is not too late to mail back the census form.

We have already pre-identified low-responding census tracts to help focus these activities, and we’ll continue to tailor our activities using real-time data on actual census participation. As a national partner we’d like you to encourage your local affiliates/offices to work with the partnership team in their area to get out volunteers on the ground! Volunteers may be supplied by the Local Census Office with 2010 Census hats, t-shirts, signs, noisemakers, and/or other materials to help make these events very visible in these low-responding, hard-to-count communities.

Please spread the word about March to the Mailbox through your own distribution channels and help us get these important volunteers! For more information and to follow up, please talk with your partnership contact or call the applicable regional office partnership management staff from the attached document.

For additional background, see the March to the Mailbox partner toolkit at http://2010.census.gov/partners/toolkits/toolkits-m2m.php


Congratulations to the staff at Little Dixie CAA in Hugo, Oklahoma, on being featured in the Hugo Daily News for their work promoting the importance of the 2010 Census. The CAA is one of thousands of local and national organizations (including the Community Action Partnership) that are encouraging local citizens to respond to the Census to create better opportunities for their communities.

 

THANKS TO OUR GREAT COLLEAGUES AT FOOD RESEARCH & ACTION CENTER (FRAC)


Thanks to the incredible leadership and tenacity of Ellen Teller at FRAC, the Partnership joined other prestigious national organizations in the letter to Congress (below) advocating for the reauthorization and strengthening of the child nutrition programs.

March 26, 2010

Dear Members of Congress:

As Child Nutrition Reauthorization moves through Congress, we urge you to champion effective efforts to expand and improve program access for children who rely on these critical nutrition programs while in child care, school-based and out-of-school time settings. The child nutrition programs play a vital role in helping children, especially those in low-income families, achieve access to quality nutrition, child care, and educational and enrichment activities while improving their overall health, development, and school achievement. These programs are proven to work, but too many children continue to miss out on their benefits because of low participation rates and unnecessary access barriers.

In order to improve access to the child nutrition programs, we believe a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill must:

• Expand the Afterschool Meal Program to all 50 states (S. 990/H.R. 3321);
• Improve the area eligibility test so more communities can operate afterschool, summer, and family child care food programs (S. 2749/H.R. 4402);
• Provide funds for grants to support the start-up and expansion of universal and inclassroom school breakfast programs in low-income schools (H.R. 4325) and provide breakfast commodity support (H.R. 4638);
• Invest in Summer Nutrition Programs by providing funding for start-up, outreach, and transportation grants (transportation grants included in S. 3040/H.R. 4734);
• Allow child care centers and homes the option of serving a third meal (S. 2749/H.R. 4402);
• Eliminate unnecessary paperwork that is a barrier to participation through data-based eligibility systems in schools in high-poverty areas and through improved direct certification systems (S. 1343/H.R. 4148); and
• Streamline afterschool nutrition rules to allow community-based and local governments in all states the ability to provide meals and snacks year-round through the rules and paperwork of the Summer Food Service Program (H.R.4274).

A strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill also requires significant new funding in order to ensure expanded program access and improved nutrition. President Obama has included in his budget one billion dollars a year in new funding for the reauthorization effort. We urge the Congress and Administration to work together to identify funding sources that will allow millions more children the opportunity to participate in the child nutrition programs.
Despite the extraordinary challenges facing our nation, investing in our children makes economic and fiscal sense and is crucial to the nation’s health, competitiveness and security.

Sincerely,

National Organizations
Afterschool Alliance
Alliance to End Hunger
Center for Law and Social Policy
Child Nutrition Initiative
Children's HealthWatch
Church Women United
Coalition on Human Needs
Community Action Partnership
Congressional Hunger Center
Early Care and Education Consortium
Feed The Children
Feeding America
First Focus: Campaign for Children
Food Research and Action Center
Generations United
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Mennonite Central Committee
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association for the Education of Young Children
National CACFP Forum
National Center on Family Homelessness
National Education Association
National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness
National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education
National Summer Learning Association
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Religious Action Center
RESULTS
Service Employees International Union
School Nutrition Association
Society for Nutrition Education
The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
Voices for America's Children
World Hunger Year

More than 900 state and local organizations also signed this letter.

 

THE CONNECTICUT STORY—WEATHERIZATION PROGRAM
PROVIDES JOBS, SAVES ENERGY


Kudos and heartfelt appreciation to Edith Karsky, executive director of the Connecticut Association for Community Action and to Lena Rodriguez, president/CEO of Community Renewal Team, Inc in Hartford for their effective leadership and savvy media access. Below is another great news story about Weatherization’s effectiveness. Send us your success stories and help the Partnership spread the good word!


By JOSH KOVNER
The Hartford Courant
March 27, 2010

Paul Paris Sr. was already dusty, and homeowner Juanita Lancaster was having to deal with visitors on her day off — but both couldn't have been happier.

The statewide weatherization program — funded with $64 million in federal stimulus money — rolled up Thursday morning to Lancaster's multifamily colonial in Hartford's North End. The cellulose insulation that Paris' crew from Zerodraft was shooting into Lancaster's drafty walls will help her and her tenant cut down on their heating bills.

And this work is keeping weatherization companies like Paris' busy in metro areas across Connecticut.
"There is nothing in those walls," said Lancaster, clutching her robe closed and peering into the holes that the crew had drilled though the clapboard in the front of her house. "No wonder I have to sit down every time I read my gas bill."
"Come next winter, you'll be dancing when you read it," said Jason Smith, who manages the weatherization program for the Community Renewal Team of Hartford, one of four agencies running the program across the state for the Department of Social Services.

But in a state with a battered economy that is still shedding jobs, officials are hungering for a bigger, faster payoff from the weatherization effort. As of January, the latest state figures available, 80 jobs were created or retained as a result of the program. Most were in the Community Renewal Team's district: the Hartford, Middletown and suburban New Haven areas.

The federal money enlarged the once-obscure weatherization effort nearly tenfold, and this state, like others, spent a considerable amount of time through the fall and early winter helping a large roster of contractors adjust to the new federal wage and reporting requirements that came with the money.

The four community agencies had to figure out how to get the work out to the largest group of contractors they had ever dealt with, while lining up interviews for workers who were newly trained by the regional workforce boards.

"We would have liked to have been further along than we are," said state Social Services Commissioner Claudette Beaulieu. "But it was difficult to get it going in the beginning. We were going from a mouse to an elephant in terms of the size of the program. Finally, we're seeing real progress."

State officials are watching closely, because they see this program as a promising job producer in a state that badly needs one.
"Of all the stimulus programs we have, we've spent the most time massaging this program and trying to get it moving forward," said Matthew Fritz, one of the point people on the federal stimulus program for Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Proportional Impact

In some respects, state officials see this transformed program as the jewel of the state's piece of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Though dwarfed by the big-ticket items in Connecticut's nearly $3 billion stimulus package — Medicaid payments, retaining 5,300 teaching jobs, and funding a spate of highway, bridge, rail, and bus contracts — no single program received a greater infusion of federal money in proportion to its size.

The $2.5 million-a-year program has grown to $64 million over three years. While most of the stimulus funding has gone to shore up state and local budgets and avoid layoffs, officials are looking to this program to create new jobs and a ripple of commerce.
"I'm ordering more supplies from local vendors, buying more uniforms, more trucks, more insurance, more gas from local dealers, I'm staying open longer," said Paul Paris Jr., who owns Zerodraft and is Paul Sr.'s son. "This is the original intent of stimulus, and it's having a local impact."

Of the $64 million, just over $19 million is going to the Department of Economic and Community Development to weatherize a projected 2,850 units of state-subsidized housing — most of it more than 40 years old. Joan McDonald, commissioner of the DECD, said the agency is about two weeks away from awarding a contract to an independent manager to oversee the work.
Fritz said the state housing work will be another important source of jobs.

Adding Workers

Nearly 100 contractors are now involved in the weatherization program statewide. Many have hired at least one worker and are poised to hire more as the pace of the work has accelerated this month.These companies have crews that range from five workers to nearly 40.

Paul Paris Jr. said his company, based in Waterford and Norwalk, has added three new workers as a result of the weatherization program. The company now employs 38. If the quicker pace of work continues in April, Paris foresees hiring five more workers.
Across the state, the precise number of new hires is hard to determine because some of the community agencies combine "retained" and "newly created" jobs into one figure that they report to the state.

But it appears the job totals are increasing beyond the 80 reported in January. Lena Rodriguez, president of the Community Renewal Team in Hartford, said the agency makes an effort to track newly created jobs. She said that to date, contractors have added 69 new workers to supplement their crews in CRT's area. She said those updated figures would be reflected in CRT's report to the social services department next week. Beaulieu said she expects the April report to show considerable progress statewide.

The CRT's Smith said the agency is now smoothly conducting energy audits, writing up the specifications for each job, sending out work orders to contractors, monitoring the work, doing post-work inspections and reviewing the weekly payroll reports from contractors
.
Smith, a carpenter and builder who was hired by CRT early last year, said he expects to issue 200 home-weatherization work orders in April to be completed over two months.

The agency also is working with the Capital Workforce Partners, the region's job-development board, to link workers who have completed three weeks of training with the contractors who need them.

Pamela Nabors, vice president of the workforce board, said 40 people completed training sessions in November and February. Of those, 16 have been placed in jobs and most of the rest are interviewing with contractors. Another class of 20 trainees is scheduled for May.

She said the goal is to train 60 workers a year in the capital region and to put 90 percent of them into weatherization jobs. The state's community colleges also have begun to offer a certification in weatherization work, Nabors said.The intent, said William Bevacqua of Action for Bridgeport Community Development, is for these jobs to lead to careers in the renewable energy and conservation fields.

FEDERAL RESERVE DEVELOPS NEW TOOLS AND STRATEGIES
TO HELP PROTECT VULNERABLE CONSUMERS



From left to right:John Moon, Senior Community Affairs Analyst; Heidi Kaplan, Senior Community Affairs Analyst; Sandra Braunstein, Director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs; Joseph Firschein, Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs; Don Mathis President/CEO, Community Action Partnership; David Buchholz, Manager, Policy Analysis; and Stacy Flowers, Director of Community Economic Development, Community Action Partnership


With special thanks to Sandra Braunstein, director of the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs at the Federal Reserve, three of the Partnership’s senior staff met with Sandra and her senior staff to plan ways that both organizations can share information and resources around the Partnership’s training and technical assistance with community economic development; consumer protections that will help low-income people, families, and neighborhoods; green jobs and job creation, and other initiatives like Neighborhood Stabilization.

Federal Reserve materials and resources will soon be posted on the Partnership’s new website partnershipCED.org. Don Mathis and Stacy Flowers will participate in the Federal Reserve’s “Rethink, Recover, Rebuild: Reinventing Older Communities” conference in Philadelphia in May. Watch for future items in e news about Federal Reserve resources and opportunities that can help your Community Action Agency better achieve your goals and objectives.

 

PASSING OF RUBY HARGRAVE

 

 

 

 

 

HONOLULU CAA CHAMPION RUBY HARGRAVE PASSES AWAY
Long Time National Board Member


Honolulu Community Action Program (HCAP) long-time executive director, Ruby L. Hargrave, passed away Sunday, March 14, 2010 at the age of 84. Ruby dedicated 39 years of her life to Honolulu Community Action Program, spending 28 of those years as executive director. She leaves a legacy of passionate service and dedication to improving the lives of disadvantaged families in Hawaii. Ruby would have been 85 years old on March 29.

Ruby was on the national board of (then) NACAA and Community Action Partnership for more than 15 years serving as the Region IX representative. She chaired several national committees over the years. During her tenure on the national board, HCAP hosted three very successful winter conferences in Honolulu. Ruby made sure that native Hawaiian culture and the talent and skills of her staff were always a highlight. She was well liked and respected by all board members and rarely missed a national board meeting, with the exception of family or medical reasons.

“On behalf of the HCAP ohana (family), I would like to express a deep appreciation for Ruby’s life, which she selflessly devoted to the service of others,” said HCAP Board Chair Kevin Souza. HCAP’s current executive director, Robert N.E. Piper, shared, “Ruby led HCAP through many successes, as well as challenging times, and it is a testament to her leadership that the agency is here and thriving today. She will be remembered as a pioneer of community action in Hawaii and will be truly missed.”

“Ruby had a big heart and was always advocating for those who didn’t have anywhere to turn,” said Robert Naniole, Director of Community Services. “I was fortunate to have worked for Ruby, who gave me my start in community action twelve years ago. As executive director, she was strong-willed, fair, and always had a lot of aloha for her workers and the people we served.” Ruby remained close with many HCAP staff after her retirement, and her energy and spirit of caring for all will be deeply missed.


 2010 ANNUAL CONVENTION PRESENTATIONS REQUESTS


CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

You've spent years honing your skills and developing excellence in programs and services as a Community Action professional. Now share your experience and knowledge by submitting a proposal for consideration as a presentation at the 2010 Community Action Partnership Annual Convention in Boston, August 31 - September 3

The purpose of our Convention is to provide high-quality education and networking opportunities for our Community Action Network. Our multiple day, multiple track format offers a self-directed, facilitated learning environment with education sessions and interactive forums. Education sessions focus on current and emerging issues, best practices, and challenges facing Community Action practitioners, board members and senior staff. Presentations are designed for all levels of experience - from fundamental to intermediate to advanced topics.

You are invited to submit a written proposal. By submitting a proposal, you will help shape the educational component of the Convention and the future of Community Action. Click here to download the Call for Sessions. Presentation proposals must be received by April 30, 2010.

On Tuesday, August 31, we are planning to offer an exciting pre-conference all-day intensive session for Emerging Leaders. Plan to come and participate in interactive sessions on Community Action in the 21st Century, leadership versus management, modern branding, public speaking and more! Watch upcoming issues of the eNews and our website convention page for detailed information and registration.

To view or download the 2010 Annual Convention Brochure, click here. Hotel rooms are selling quickly at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. Click here to reserve online and assure your reservation is confirmed at the convention rate of $189.00 single or double.

 

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