In District Advocacy Toolkit
Take Advantage of Time At Home
Build a Meaningful Relationship With Your Senators and Representatives
In this advocacy toolkit, you will learn:
- Why in-district advocacy is critical to your success;
- Easy ways you can take action, whether you have 1 minute, 10 minutes, 30 minutes or more
- How to share your efforts and build momentum with fellow Coalition members
Advocacy Starts at Home
In-District Activities Critical to Your Success
The longest Congressional Recess takes place each year in August. However, with a presidential election this year, we have a couple additional weeks to get Members of Congress out to visit projects financed by CDFIs. This seven-week period is the longest break that Members of Congress will be in their states and districts throughout the year, though they will also be out in October through November as well. We are in a good place as far as appropriations, but this is largely the result of our advocacy and education efforts targeted at legislators. This does not mean it is time for us to take a break along with those legislators—we must continue to engage Congress and demonstrate the importance of the work CDFIs are doing in urban neighborhoods and rural communities.
As you know, we are in a precarious place, with the White House calling to eliminate funding for CDFI Fund Programs. The proposal would reduce the CDFI Fund to just $14 million for administration—a $228 million cut—leaving our country’s most distressed communities without the tools needed to grow businesses, create jobs and sustain a thriving local economy. cutting $210 million from the Fund appropriations. In Congress, we are in a slightly better position largely due to our advocacy and education efforts targeted at legislators. This means we must continue to engage Congress and demonstrate the importance of the work CDFIs are doing in urban neighborhoods and rural communities.
The same request to eliminate appropriations for CDFI Fund programs was included for FY 17 in the President’s “skinny budget”, however, the cuts were not included in the final FY 2017 Omnibus bill. In fact, the CDFI Fund appropriation was the largest in the history of the program at $248 million. This is in large part due to the outreach and education on the impact of CDFIs in Members’ of Congress Districts.
For this reason, we are urging those with an interest in the CDFI Fund appropriations—especially if you have a Senator on the Financial Services Subcommittee and/or the full Appropriations Committee—to take advantage of upcoming in-district periods and show their Senators and Representatives how the CDFI Fund program funding is having a positive impact on their areas. There is no substitute for a tour of an CDFI-financed business, visiting a project under development, or taking part in a ribbon-cutting—events where legislators can meet and hear about the important role CDFIs play in the community directly from constituents and local officials. This kind of interaction leaves a large and lasting impression of the effectiveness of the CDFI community.
In this toolkit, you will find tips for powerful actions to cultivate a new relationship or nurture an existing relationship with your Senators and Representatives at home and—most importantly—demonstrate the importance of the CDFI Fund appropriations in the face of persistent and stubborn credit gaps that are so pervasive in low-income urban and rural communities. The good news is that it can take as little or as much time as you have to devote to action. While those activities listed above are the best opportunities to have an impact on your legislators, we have also listed quick actions that can be taken in an hour or less.
We hope these ideas will inspire you to take advantage of this August Recess. Doing so will not only increase your power and influence on Capitol Hill, but also help ensure that our voice carries the strength that it needs to be heard on the issues that matter most. I encourage you all to contact Ayrianne Parks to let us know how we can help.
Robert A. Rapoza