10 Reasons To Support DC Appleseed
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Alex Roos, Director of Development
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1. Results Driven
The D.C. Insurance Commissioner has ordered $51 million in rebates to CareFirst subscribers due to our efforts to make sure CareFirst fulfills its mission as a “charitable and benevolent” nonprofit. We’ve also expanded D.C. democracy by enabling D.C. residents to elect their first Attorney General in 2014. And on December 1, 2016 -- World AIDS Day – we and Mayor Muriel Bowser released our joint plan to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District.
2. Fight Inequality
Our work addresses the racial and economic disparity in D.C. We’re working to help District residents find affordable housing, enjoy a clean Anacostia River, and have the same democratic rights that other U.S. citizens enjoy. We’re also working to make sure District residents receive the training and education they need to compete for good jobs. This includes our work to establish and improve the UDC Community College, so high school graduates and working adults can gain the skills they need to better support themselves and their families.
4. DC Independence
If you’ve lived here long enough, you know Congress likes to meddle in our affairs. We have helped protect local gun laws,marijuana regulation, women’s health laws, and needle exchange programs. Our view is that reasonable people can disagree about these issues, but that locally elected leaders should make decisions about what works best for the District, not Members of Congress. We also helped the District stay open during the last federal shutdown in 2013, which ensured D.C. was able to make Medicaid payments, collect trash, and keep its schools open, allowing parents to work.
Health and The Environment
3. Help The Vulnerable
30,000 children in D.C. do not receive the child support they deserve. We want to help these kids and we want to make sure their parents are able to find jobs that can help them provide for their families. That’s why we are supporting the District’s efforts to improve its workforce development systems. We are helping D.C. children who are struggling with asthma by working to improve indoor air quality and making sure children receive the regular medical attention their condition requires. We have also advocated for over a decade for children with disabilities to get a meaningful education.
5. Support Collaboration
Before taking action on a project, we consult widely with community groups to learn what they think and to ensure we are not duplicating current efforts. For example, working with our partners at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, we interviewed childcare service providers before issuing a report detailing the investments needed to improve the District’s Early Childhood and Education system. We built trusting relationships with these providers and are now working collaboratively to advocate for increased funding for the childcare system and professionals from the D.C. government.
6. Be A Part Of The Solution
We work with the District government to find solutions to many of the area’s most pressing issues. At the request of the D.C. Council, we addressed the city’s Lead in Drinking Water crisis, and worked to improve lead testing to make sure children, pregnant women, and residents with compromised immune systems were protected from the dangers of lead. In addition, at the request of D.C.’s Attorney General, we have addressed the city’s child support program, and at the request of the District’s School Superintendent, and later at the request of the Federal District Court, court, we have long addressed ways to improve services to District students with special needs.
7. Long Term Advocacy
Most of the projects we work on take years to see results. This is true of our work on special education, CareFirst reform, D.C. democracy, and HIV/AIDS. It also true of our long-term efforts to clean up the Anacostia River, a project that has made great, recent strides in reducing stormwater run-off, addressing the toxics in the riverbed, and building the needed new sewer systems. We are in these projects for the long haul, because they can be successfully addressed only through sustained commitment. You know that when we take on a project, we will stick with it.
Jobs and Economic Development
8. Risk Taking
Since our inception in 1994, we worked hard to build up a reserve fund that we could use to promote our projects. Over the last several years, we have spent $400,000 of this reserve to acquire actuarial expertise to help us address and fight against CareFirst’s excessive surplus. A lot of nonprofits wouldn’t have taken that risk, but we have. And it has paid off with a determination by the D.C. Insurance Commissioner that CareFirst has $268 million of excessive surplus, $51 million of which must be rebated to subscribers before the end of February 2017. We will continue to work to require CareFirst to spend down the entire $268 million, and to use part of it to address the most pressing healthcare needs in the area.
DC Appleseed was recognized by the American Bar Association with its 2015 Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy Award for our sixteen-year effort to restore the Anacostia River. DC Appleseed Executive Director Walter Smith has been recognized by The Legal Times, which named him one of the 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the last 30 years. In 2013, the D.C. Bar named Mr. Smith as the recipient of its William J. Brennan Jr. Award for his demonstrated excellence in and commitment to public interest law. DC Appleseed has also received awards from: DC Vote; Whitman Walker; the Washington Council of Lawyers; the D.C. Primary Care Association; Arent Fox LLP; the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance; PreventionWorks; the D.C. Hospital Association; and the Bar Association of D.C.
We turn every $1 you give us into $3. We do this by leveraging the $2-$3 million in pro bono support we receive annually from area law and accounting firms, and other experts. These professionals work for free with our small staff and 30-person board. We’re not only a great investment, we’re a great deal. Your money goes further with us and produces significant results that benefit you and many others across the National Capital area.