Empowering You December Newsletter

Upcoming United Way/Empower Missouri Preview Event of the 2018 Legislative Session in KC, Farm Bill watch, the laws that feed America, and updates from our national partners in addressing poverty.

Download printable PDF of newsletter.

Empower Change on this #GivingTuesday

Members and Allies,

The Thanksgiving Holiday is time to remember our connections – people, places, and events that have benefited our lives. This year my Thanksgiving had a “prequel” – the vacation trip that my wife Dorothy and I took to Selma and Montgomery, AL in October.

At a time in U.S. history when injustice and cruelty are very visible, Dorothy and I needed inspiration. We started at the excellent National Parks Service Interpretive Center located next to the Edmund Pettus Bridge. There we followed the historical path from the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson to the beating of John Lewis and other protestors on the bridge and the march from Selma to Montgomery.

In Montgomery, we visited the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University, a church Dr. Martin Luther King Junior had pastored and the parsonage in which his family had lived. We went to the Civil Rights Memorial and dipped our hands in a fountain marked by the names of many martyrs who gave their lives to end legal discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and voting.

When we listen to the news today, we can easily slide into despair, focusing on injustice, hate speech, and current attacks on past civil rights victories. Let us never forget what our ancestors have done to move us forward to our current situation, fraught with danger, but also pregnant with possibilities. The spirit of justice that enabled John Lewis, Amelia Boynton and others to move toward their goal, despite the wall of state troopers ahead of them, is still moving among us.

That spirit has mobilized Empower Missouri for more than 115 years. Founded in 1901, as the Missouri Conference on Charities and Corrections, we have operated under four names, but always as our state’s conscience around basic human needs and fairness.

Re-branding as Empower Missouri in 2014, we continue our relentless pursuit of justice, most recently securing legislation in St. Louis City to protect renters from illegal lockouts. We are actively working on furthering our defined goals for 2018, which include protecting the safety net, finally passing “Raise the Age” (thereby increasing the age an adolescent can be charged as an adult to 17), and modernizing how HIV is viewed under the law.

On this #GivingTuesday, please take a moment to offer thanks for the history of justice advocates, locally and globally. Donations to Empower Missouri – and your advocacy with us – place you squarely in that line of justice champions, moving Missouri and our world toward equity and healthy communities for all.

In gratitude and justice,

Jeanette Mott Oxford, Executive Director

 

Empowering You – October Newsletter

Check out Empowering You- newsletter from Empower Missouri.

In this issue:

  • Preview our workshops and meet our Superhero Awardees for the 116th Annual Conference: Persisting & Organizing to Win – POW! October 5-6th! Register NOW!
  • Veto Session: were any of Gov. Greitens’ vetoes overridden?
  • How will you honor World Food Day?

Download a PDF.

Proposed Bylaws Update, 2017 Annual Meeting

Empower Missouri

Formerly: Missouri State Conference of Charities and Corrections [1901]

Missouri Conference for Social Welfare [1914]

Missouri Association for Social Welfare [1933]


~ BYLAWS ~

Proposed Updated


VOTE 1: 

Current Section 2. The management of Empower Missouri shall be vested in the Board of Directors composed of: the Officers of Empower Missouri; twelve directors-at-large, to be elected by the membership to terms of two years, six to be elected each year; the chairpersons or a designee of the chapters; the chairpersons or a designee of all standing committees; and the chairperson or a designee of the task forces.

(Suggested changes are bolded and italicized)

Proposed Section 2. The management of Empower Missouri shall be vested in the Board of Directors composed of: the Officers of Empower Missouri; ten directors-at-large, to be elected by the membership to terms of two years, five to be elected each year. the chairpersons or a designee of the chapters; the chairpersons or a designee of all standing committees; and the chairperson or a designee of the task forces.

Rationale for the Change: The Board of Directors of Empower Missouri sometimes has as many as 30 members, and, with successful formation of additional chapters, could grow even larger. Such a large board can cause challenges to efficient functioning (the time needed for decision-making and communication, expenses for meetings, etc.). A smaller board that focuses on governance, evaluation, and financial stability would serve our organization best as we build capacity to be effective in achieving our mission.

Chapters and task forces with their issue area focus are part of our programming. A committed Board will make sure effective communication is occurring and resources are provided to each part of our programming. Seats at the table by chapter chairs or issue area chairs are not necessary to ensure such coordination occurs.


VOTE 2:

Current Section 3. The officers of Empower Missouri shall be President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Immediate Past President. Together these officers will comprise the Executive Committee.

Proposed Section 3. The officers of Empower Missouri shall be President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Immediate Past President. Together these officers will comprise the Executive Committee.

Rationale for the Change: The Second Vice President position is redundant in that duties had been same as for the First Vice President.


VOTE 3:

Current ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS

These bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the members present at any annual meeting provided that notice of such amendments has been electronically distributed to the members of Empower Missouri not less than fifteen days prior to the date of the annual meeting.

Proposed ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS

These bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the members present at any annual meeting provided that notice of such amendments has been electronically distributed to the members of Empower Missouri not less than fifteen days twenty-one (21) days prior to the date prior to the date of the annual meeting.

Rationale for the Change: Making all distribution notices the same amount of days – 21 – is a simplification and allows one notice to serve multiple functions.

Federal Budget Blueprint Slashes Food Assistance for Hungry Missourians

Note: Thanks to our national partners at Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy for the briefing documents that made the following analysis possible.

 

On July 19, the House Budget Committee “marked up” its 2018 Budget Resolution for the fiscal year that begins October 1. While this markup is just the first step in the budget process, we are alarmed that structural elements in the Trump Administration proposal match priorities of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Please join Empower Missouri in speaking out clearly and persistently: trillions of dollars in cuts to programs that support low- and moderate-income families cannot be tolerated.

Budget reconciliation instructions to several House committees require $203 billion in mandatory spending through “savings and reforms” (read more accurately as cuts) over the next 10 years. That includes:

  • Reducing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps) of $10 billion over the next 10 years
  • During that same period, cutting the School Meal Community Eligibility Provision by $1.6 billion
  • Directing trillions in further cuts to SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and low income tax credits

 

For SNAP, the budget committee identified harsher time limits for unemployed and underemployed adults to find work and increased flexibility. As you may recall, Missouri’s majority party passed Senate Bill 24 in 2015 on a largely party-line vote, and tens of thousands of unemployed Missouri adults have since lost the ability to receive food stamps for longer than three months out of every three years – even if they live in high unemployment counties. With our current ranking of second in the nation in hunger and seventh in the nation in food insecurity, we tremble to think of the strain on Missouri’s community food pantries and helping agencies if even harsher restrictions go into effect.

 

The committee also recommends that states be given the authority to administer SNAP (akin to block grants). This is a step away from the American commitment that we would like to see – that no child goes hungry in this country and that struggling families, including the unemployed and low wage workers, are still able to put healthy food on their tables.  In block grant systems, when funds run out, those in need are turned away or help is rationed as funds grow low. This is especially dangerous in a state like Missouri where our revenue system is so anemic that a supplemental program from the state is likely to be an impossibility at a time when federal caps are reached.

Here are additional proposals regarding SNAP in the budget blueprint that we, FRAC and CBPP consider ill-conceived:

  • Shifting 25 percent of the costs of SNAP benefits (now financed 100 percent by the federal government) to states;
  • Allowing states to cut benefits to meet their share of costs (SNAP already averages less than $1.40 per person per meal in Missouri);
  • Severing the connections between SNAP and heating assistance
  • Eliminating the minimum monthly SNAP benefit (now $16) that many struggling seniors receive;
  • Cutting SNAP benefits for larger size households; and
  • Charging retailers fees to apply and be certified to accept SNAP at their stores (which may undermine the public-private partnership that has made SNAP a cost efficient and mainstream transaction).

 

We believe these cuts to SNAP and other poverty-reduction programs in the House budget would pull the rug out beneath the most vulnerable in our society, including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Meanwhile the wealthiest Americans and profitable corporations get huge tax cuts under the proposal. To see the breakdown for Missouri, go to: https://itep.org/trumpprelimmo/. The richest one percent in Missouri, households with incomes over $480,200 and averaging $1,587,000 annually, would receive more than half of all the tax cut benefits (50.3%).

 

Please join other civic leaders from Empower Missouri in urging Missouri’s U.S. House and Senate members to reject this cruel and skewed vision for our nation. Hunger is a bi-partisan issue and both sides of the aisle should work together to craft a bipartisan plan that protects SNAP and other poverty-reduction programs.

 

To see a letter to Congress about hunger and nutrition assistance that we signed with hundreds of other justice-seeking organizations nationally, go to:

http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/naho-signers-list-2017.pdf

 

STL Annual Dinner SOLD OUT!

2017 Annual Awards Dinner
WHEN: May 25, 2017 at 5:30pm
WHERE: Il Monastero, SLU, 3050 Olive St.
SPEAKER: Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation
COST: SOLD OUT!

If your organization reserved a table but still needs to pay, please contact AJ Bockelman at Local: (573) 634-2901, Toll Free: (888) 634-2901

Empower Missouri- St. Louis Chapter 2017 Annual Dinner Awardees

The Mickey Rosen Community Advocate Award
Susan Talve

Media Award
Joe Kenny

Community Organization Award
Metropolitan Congregations United- Breaking the
School to Prison Pipeline Initiative

Emerging Leader Award
Kayla Reed

Elected Official Award
Alderwoman Cara Spencer

Champion of Justice Lifetime Achievement Award
Fr. Rich Creason

Call Coordinator Christine Woody @ 314-503-7277
RSVP by- May 12, 2017

We will be voting on the new slate of leadership.

Proposed 2017-2018
St. Louis Chapter
Board of Directors

Officers: (Terms expire June 2018) Members-at-Large: Members-at-Large
Chapter officers: (Term expires June 2017) (Term expires June 2018)
President: Sabrina Tyuse Pat Dougherty Rachel Cramsey
Vice President: Alison Dreith Courtney Stevenson Christine Dragonette
Secretary: Gary Busiek Matt Swango Leticia Sites
Treasurer: Rich Hennicke Erica Vogler Susan Sneed
Past President: Michael Klein Theresa Washington Derek Wetherell

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