Network Connection
February 2019
Greetings Community Action Network!
It is hard to believe that I am nearing the six-month mark with you and the Missouri Community Action Network team. It has been a great experience thus far, and I’m gradually getting used to being a Missourian. 
 
One of the things that attracted me to this role was being able to represent the Network at all levels—local, state, and federal—and I had the opportunity to do just that recently at the Management and Leadership Training Conference (MLTC). You see, Missouri has always been hailed by those outside of Missouri as the Cadillac of State Associations for many reasons: the remarkable data and reports on poverty generated by this office set us apart from other states; the high quality publications seem to perfectly encapsulate the Community Action story, allowing other agencies and state associations to relay our collective story in a better way; the value and quantity of training and technical assistance our office provides to agencies and the rapid response to agency requests for training is unparalleled across the nation; and the advocacy work that Missouri CAN has received a reputation for is top notch. 
 
But the concern I heard from many when arriving to Missouri was that our state  might be falling behind and that  maybe Missouri was no longer doing all these things as well as we once were. I did not share in that worry, and what I saw and heard at the MLTC last month confirmed that Missouri remains a leader in the Community Action movement. 
 
In talking with and learning of our sister State Association’s successes and challenges at MLTC, I was extremely proud to hear that we are still held in high esteem for our state’s innovative and comprehensive approaches to fighting poverty. By comparison, the strength of our network, the methods of support we provide to agencies, and our advocacy efforts are truly of the highest quality. And I say all this without being able to take credit for leading us to this place!
 
However, I am truly honored to represent Missouri and I take my responsibility to ensure we continue to perfect our craft and grow our capacity as a network seriously. I hope when you represent your agency and the Missouri Community Action Network within your community, throughout the state, and across the country that you feel just as proud of the hard work that came before many of us to bring Missouri to where we’re at—which, in my somewhat biased opinion, is the best state in Community Action! 
Dawna Fogarty
Executive Director, Missouri CAN
Advocacy - A voice for low-income Missourians
Developing Movement Makers: 2019 Network Advocacy Day

On  Tuesday, March 26 our Network will hold its 2019 Advocacy Day at the state capitol building in Jefferson City. Mark your calendars now and plan to be part of this exciting event! As Missouri CAN aims to strengthen our advocacy initiatives and grow advocates both within and outside our Network, this year’s theme is “Developing Movement Makers”. We’ll begin the morning with a rally in the rotunda of the capitol building, followed by exhibits from CAAs on the third floor and agency visits with state legislators. Registration for the event is $200 per agency; an unlimited number of staff may attend from your agency with this flat fee.

Missouri CAN will open registration for the event in the coming weeks, so now is the time to begin thinking about who can attend from your agency, including staff, board members, and program participants. A successful advocacy day includes the participation of all 19 agencies, and we hope to see you there!
Legislative Action Related to the Five Elements of Poverty

The 1st session of the 100th Missouri General Assembly began on January 9 and is in full swing. Missouri CAN has already taken action on critical legislation related to Food and Nutrition, as well as Housing and Energy. Read all about it below.

Food and Nutrition
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP at the State Level

Background:
On January 30, a hearing was held on  Senate Bill 4 , sponsored by Senator David Sater of District 29 in Southwest Missouri, which would modify the law relating to work requirements for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If passed, this legislation would impose harsh work hour tracking on SNAP recipients. Analysts of the bill’s fiscal note estimate that the legislation would cause:

  • 47,000 employed Missourians to be at risk of losing food assistance each month if there is a paperwork or reporting problem with the new processes/procedures that would be required by the proposed legislation.
  • 52,000 children to be disqualified from SNAP for at least six months.
  • 11,000 Missourians to be permanently disqualified from SNAP.
  • 34,000 Missourians to be sanctioned in any way.

Missouri CAN and multiple other statewide groups testified in opposition to this bill.  Read more about the hearing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in which Missouri CAN and several other advocacy organizations are quoted.

Unfortunately, SB 4 passed out of the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children on February 6 with a 4-1 vote, even though nearly 15 groups including Missouri CAN testified in opposition of this bill and just one organization testified in favor. Read on to find out what you can do now.

What You Can Do:
  • Tell your local senators to vote NO on SB 4. You can easily do so through a link sponsored by Missouri Budget Project. Find the link to take action here
  • Learn more about this issue from The Urban Institute and The Hamilton Project, including why work requirements are harmful, and share this information with colleagues and community partners. Encourage them to raise their voices against harmful cuts to SNAP access. 
SNAP at the Federal Level

Background:
In December, the House and Senate passed a compromised version of the Farm Bill that does NOT include the work tracking requirements originally proposed in the House version of the bill. Many advocates celebrated this victory, as the Farm Bill that was passed includes strong provisions for SNAP. Shortly thereafter, however, the USDA announced a new plan to impose work requirements through an Executive Order, essentially bypassing the legislative process. Now that the government shutdown has been lifted until mid-February, the proposed changes have been published in the Federal Register. The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule. For more background, we encourage you to  read this Washington Post article about the proposed changes and  review data compiled by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

What You Can Do:
  • Submit comments to the Federal Register no later than April 2, 2019 that outline your concerns with the proposed rule.
  • Missouri CAN will be doing the same on behalf of the full Network. A comment template is available from the Food Research and Action Center. If you need assistance with this process, please contact Jessica Hoey, Missouri CAN’s Director of Public Affairs and Community Engagement.
Housing and Energy
LIHEAP Transfer to Weatherization
On January 24, Missouri CAN testified in front of the House Appropriations Committee about the importance of the annual LIHEAP transfer to the Weatherization Assistance Program. The transfer has typically amounted to approximately $7 million annually, but was never included in the Governor’s budget; as such, our Network advocated for the transfer through the legislative process.

This year, Governor Parson included the transfer amount in his proposed budget, which is excellent news for our Network. Missouri CAN will continue to share more information about the transfer with the Network as further details become available.
Network Capacity - Helping you help others
UPCOMING TRAINING - Becoming a Movement Maker:
How YOU Make Advocacy Work for Our Network

In preparation for Advocacy Day in March, Missouri CAN will offer a workshop on  Thursday, February 28 for CAA staff who haven’t yet received formal advocacy training and who are interested in learning more about the fundamentals of advocacy within the Community Action movement. Specific objectives of the workshop include the following:

  1. Explore the importance of advocacy within the Community Action movement, both nationally and in Missouri.
  2. Discuss the differences between public education, advocacy and lobbying.
  3. Understand legalities related to IRS regulations, government funding, and lobbying.
  4. Learn about the Network’s 2019 Advocacy Plan and Public Policy Priorities.
  5. Practice the principles of advocacy through role play and other activities.
  6. Learn plans for this year’s Network Advocacy Day at the Capitol and how to participate.
  7. Become familiar with the advocacy resources offered by Missouri CAN to assist CAAs in their advocacy efforts.

This workshop is limited to 25 participants, so don’t delay and  register today !
Outstanding Community Service Award Nominations Due March 31

We are looking forward to honoring your volunteers, community partners, donors, and all other outstanding community service persons at the upcoming Missouri CAN Annual Conference! Be sure to return your nomination form to Brian Valentine by March 31 for your agency's Outstanding Community Service Award recipient to be recognized.
STAY TUNED
Registration for
Missouri CAN's 2019
Annual Conference
opens soon.
In Case You Missed It: Zoom

Missouri CAN has switched webinar platforms. We are now using Zoom. If you have any questions about the new platform, contact our Training Manager Andrea Davis.
Missouri CAN Capacity - Helping us help you
Welcome, Chad Courter

Missouri Community Action Network is excited to welcome Chad Courter to the Missouri CAN staff as the new Information Systems Manager. Whether you enter data, navigate reporting, or require technical assistance within our statewide information system at your agency, you can look forward to receiving assistance from Chad on all things MIS.
...and Evan Melkersman, too!

Missouri CAN has also welcomed a new CAPS Project Manager to its team Evan Melkersman from Central Missouri Community Action. As the manager of Missouri CAN's Poverty Simulation, he is responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating all aspects of the educational experience that raises poverty awareness across the globe.
Upcoming Events for Missouri Community Action Network
Professional Alliances have kicked off for the year, and we also have trainings lined up based on your responses to our Training and Technical Assistance survey. Here's what you can look forward to in February:
Visit the Missouri CAN website for a full calendar of upcoming events.
MCAN On the Road: Agency Visits in December and January

Dawna Fogarty visited Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation and East Missouri Action Agency in December. She attended both agencies' annual staff meetings and holiday celebrations where she met staff, talked about the importance of membership, and shared future plans for the Missouri Community Action Network.

Brian Valentine visited Community Action Partnership of Northeast Missouri on January 8 for an agency all-staff event.
Let's stay connected! E-mail Us | Missouri CAN |(573) 634-2969