Highlights from 2015 for the Anti-Poverty Network
2015 was a busy year for APN as we worked together to prevent, reduce, and end poverty in New Jersey.
We are excited to share with you the highlights of what we have accomplished together, and the vision of what we are building. Our 2015 Highlights (full report available here) reviews the year's activities and achievements under our three core strategies for systemic change:
Central to APN’s mission to end poverty in New Jersey is educating the press, community members, and legislative leaders about the realities and solutions to poverty in our state. In 2015 we helped to frame a public conversation about poverty, challenging stereotypes, emphasizing solutions, and quantifying the numbers of New Jerseyans who are struggling. Highlights from 2015 include:
- APN built a coalition of leading experts to advocate for invest-ments in poverty solutions in the 2016 State Budget. This group published a series of 13 blog posts, which were also featured as a special series by Blue Jersey.
- APN was mentioned in 17 press and radio pieces related to poverty in Jan-Nov, 2015, and was featured in four TV news stories, including a feature on the Poverty Summit by NJTV News.
- APN’s Executive Director, Serena Rice, was featured in NJ Spotlight on September 30 in a profile called She’s fighting the good fight against poverty, hunger, homelessness.
- Rice also published several letters to the editor on poverty issues, and a post for the national Talk Poverty blog, which was shared over 8,500 times.
- APN provided keynote lectures and interactive trainings for numerous statewide partners, including Garden State Leaders, Rutgers School of Social Work, Episcopal Diocese of Newark Women’s Breakfast, and the Jewish Renaissance Foundation Youth Poverty Summit.
APN’s strength is its diverse and growing membership. In 2015 we have worked to empower, engage, and collaborate with allies from across the state, including legislative, faith, and advocacy leaders; people with lived experiences of poverty; and students. Highlights from 2015 include:
- In just the first full year of APN’s formal membership structure we added 57 organizational members, and 58 individual members.
- Participation in APN’s bi-monthly General meetings has grown by almost 50 %, from an average of 29 participants in 2014 to an average of 43 participants in 2015.
- This year 233 people participated in the Annual Poverty Summit, a more than 15% growth from 2014. Summit participants attended skill-building and advocacy workshops, heard from a panel of experts with experience of economic struggles, and interacted with Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Governor Jim McGreevey.
- APN held five listening sessions with community partners from around the state and heard from more than 60 people about experiences of structural racism. These stories will inform APN’s upcoming report on Structural Racism and Poverty.
- The expertise of people with lived experience of poverty helps guide APN’s work and priorities. Towards this end, the Board of Trustees has welcomed two new members who identify as having lived experience of poverty.
In 2015 APN worked to save and strengthen the programs that serve and empower those who are struggling to make ends meet. Both through direct involvement in important policy wins, and through on-going work for long-term goals, APN is advancing solutions in the core areas of hunger, housing, and economic empowerment. Highlights from 2015 include:
- APN has been a leading voice to fully restore state EITC funding. In June the Anti-Poverty Network convened a roundtable discussion with Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Senator Shirley Turner to highlight the importance of the EITC in the lives of low-wage workers. Later that month Gov. Christie announced a 50% increase in New Jersey’s EITC.
- APN organized advocates and members to respond to a potentially devastating interruption in the Emergency Assistance program for individuals with disabilities. APN is working with DHS and a core group of partners to craft immediate and long-term solutions.
- This Fall 25 state Assembly candidates signed a Poverty Solutions Pledge to work with APN and its members to “prevent, reduce, and end poverty in my district and throughout New Jersey."
- In response to an organizational sign-on letter organized by APN and New Jersey Policy Perspec-tive, Senator Booker and Senator Menendez took a public stand urging permanent enhancements to federal EITC and CTC benefits.
What Do Members Say About Membership?
“APN is increasingly an incredibly vocal and visible part of the New Jersey advocacy landscape. APN is doing outreach, connecting con-stituencies, and showing their muscle on the state stage. We are proud to be a member.”
“APN offers us a platform for collaboration, and enables us to provide other APN partners an understanding of senior issues…. Our involvement in APN ensures that the issues related to older adults are part of the statewide dialogue on the scope of poverty in our state and possible solutions.”
- New Jersey Foundation for Aging
“Monarch is proud to be part of the network and a partner in ending poverty…. Housing is one of our most basic needs and we know that helping people meet their basic needs is important to APN.”
- Monarch Housing Associates
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
We hope that you will join APN’s efforts with a generous gift of support.
APN is effective because it is collaborative. This applies to our public work, where statewide organizations work alongside individual advocates to promote real solutions. It also applies to our budget, where we rely on every last $25 membership fee to keep moving forward. Please consider including APN in your charitable giving plans and contribute a successful 2016.