Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Announcing the Community Invest Initiative!!!!

               For many people, this last year has been filled with uncertainty.  Unemployment in the greater Springfield area is over 12%; evictions and foreclosures have dramatically increased and concerns for the health and safety of the local community have been devastated by large corporations.

                 In addition to the economic struggles, natural disasters have taken their toll. In June, a tornado touched down in Western Massachusetts, tearing through some of the poorest areas in West Springfield and Springfield. Hundreds of units of affordable rental units were lost.  As of today, less than 50 homes have been rebuilt and no apartments have been replaced.

                We at Arise are uniquely suited to work in the Springfield Area as we have had a presence in the community since 1985. When we first organized ourselves, we were just one of many.  Today, there are just a handful of organizations that focus on poverty and we are one of the only ones dedicated to organizing among the low income residents of the greater Springfield area. As a member driven organization, we work every day to speak out and stand up for our basic human rights.

                On February 1st, in order to better serve the community, we launched the Community Investment Initiative. The CII is a special fundraising initiative with a focus on developing a long term partnership with the people of the Pioneer Valley and Arise. Our goal is to find 200 people who are willing to partner with Arise as sustaining donors by donating $20, $35, or $50 a month.  If those 200 people are regularly able to give just $20 a month, we will be able to raise $48,000 to help the people of the Springfield area have a voice in the recovery efforts. This would be about 50% of our entire budget!

               "But Jenn," you say, "I'm not sure I can afford to help!" Please allow me to break it down to demonstrate how affordable it really is to contribute to Arise.  If you choose to donate the $20 a month level, that means just $0.67 a day or about 5 minutes of your working day if you make minimum wage, and mere seconds if you earn more. Many of us have regular coffee habit - we might spend $5 a day in coffee from a shop - If you take one day and make your coffee at home, you can donate the savings to Arise :-) (Or you can just go without the coffee for one day a week and tell your co-workers that you're getting cranky for charity ;-) The ways to save $5 a week are literally endless! 

                I would personally ask that you take the time to think about how you can partner with Arise and help our communities come together and help those who have been mostly deeply affected by disasters, poverty and oppression. Over the next few weeks, I and other Arise Volunteers will be calling and sending out mailings asking for your participation in this amazing new program! Please consider what you might contribute to help change the world! 
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