Tragedy at the Boston Marathon: Who's Saying It Best

photo h/t Anne Phillips

I didn't really know how to feel or what to do. I decided to pour myself into this [vigil]. Now it's here. I guess we'll see what happens next. —Rene Perez, Boston

It's hard to know how to react in moments of great tragedy. It's in those moments, though, that community is of parmount importance. The bombings at the Boston Marathon has created one of those moments. Boston has been home to UFE since our founding 18 years ago. What happened on Boylston Street on Monday, April 15, 2013 at approximately 2:50 p.m. hit home. Our Tuesday morning staff meeting became a reflective and supportive space for our grieving team, and it was an opportunity to reaffirm our commitments to making this sometimes painful world a better place for all people.

Only the work of law enforcement officials can reveal who is responsible for this attack. But, there is, perhaps, nothing the investigation would uncover that can fulfill our rational human need to know why this senseless act was carried out. There is no justifying it.

It would be difficult at this stage to contribute anything more or meaningful to the ongoing and often repetitive dialogue. Instead, we want to share with you some of the most helpful commentary we've come across. These insights may not bring closure to this horrific matter, but they've been helpful in guiding how we receive and mange both the information and our feelings in this moment.

Don't buy into everything you're reading or hearing wholesale. "There's still a lot we don't know," and "many of the initial reports on media outlets...have proven to be false" (Mother Jones). The consequences of widespread misinformation are damaging and can place innocent people in danger. Glenn Greenwald details the active role of mainstream media outlets in breeding and bolstering Islamophobia in moments of terror.

It's okay to be sad. It's perfectly appropriate to be angry. But, we can't allow fear and panic to take over. Bruce Schneier asks, "What has happened to 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?'" He urges that we "empathize, but refuse to be terrorized," because public reactions to this rare, albeit horrible, event will shape the state's response.

Vigilance—not wreckless vigilantism—is crucial if we're to uphold our values and avoid further fear-driven compromise of our rights in this crisis. 99.999999% of Americans may want to consider John Cole's more critical approach to information gathering, because a purely reactive, shoot-from-the-hip approach is more likely to reinforce destructive patterns and unfounded biases.

This week, Americans share the pain of mass violence with Iraqis, Somalis, Afghans, and Syrians, among others. But, should our species be defined in such a large part by our violent realities? Should our collective actions be informed to the greatest extent by the worst of us? "We are better than this," says Erin Niemela. "Humanity is better than this."

Time—according to Rinku Sen—to live with, feel, and share this moment together will give peace a fighting chance in the wake of devastation.

Photo credit: Anne Phillips via "Peace Here & Everywhere—Boston Vigil on the Common"

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Tax Day and the Road Ahead

Tax Day 2013 is here!

Our coalition partner, American's for Tax Fairness, is getting the word out about tax day events and keeping the heat on corporate tax dodgers. (And some of our friends put together a nifty little game, Tax Evaders, that you ought to check out and share.)

Looking ahead, the House of Representatives, Senate and President have all put forward budgets for 2014 that represent three differing visions of how the federal government should raise revenue in the years ahead. All sides are doing their best to appear willing to compromise, but before a unified budget is passed, House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the Administration will all have to agree on the specifics. In other words, it’s unlikely that anything will happen soon.

Meanwhile, Senator Max Baucus (D, Montana) and Representative Dave Camp (R, Michigan) - the two top tax policy legislators in the Senate and House respectively - have also announced their earnest intention to address major tax reform. If they are successful, it will be the first comprehensive overhaul of the tax code since Ronald Reagan's effort with congressional Democrats in 1986.

The tax reform effort from Baucus and Camp (along with members of their committees - Senator Orin Hatch (R, Utah) in particular) is scheduled to be drafted over the next several months, before being released in August, just before Congress returns from its summer recess. Their tax overhaul is likely to come before the full Congress in September, just when budget negotiations might be truly heating up (fiscal year 2014 starts on October 1, so a budget or continuing resolution must be passed by the end of September to avoid a government shutdown). We're keeping our focus on the upcoming battle over tax reform, and on the estate tax.

The budget that the President put forward has appropriately received a lot of criticism both for not raising enough new tax revenue and for proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. One positive aspect of the budget proposal from the Obama Administration is that it calls for an increase in the estate tax. Specifically, here's an excerpt from page 18 of the offical Administration budget (PDF):

Return Estate Tax to 2009 Parameters and Close Estate Tax Loopholes. The Budget returns the estate tax exemption and rates to 2009 levels beginning in 2018. Under 2009 law, only the wealthiest 3 in 1,000 people who die would owe any estate tax. As part of the end-of-year “fiscal cliff” agreement, congressional Republicans insisted on permanently cutting the estate tax below those levels, providing tax cuts averaging $1 million per estate to the very wealthiest Americans. [The Budget] would also eliminate a number of loopholes that currently allow wealthy individuals to use sophisticated tax planning to reduce their estate tax liability. These proposals would raise $79 billion over 10 years.

All other questions about the budget aside, it's good news that the President is proposing positive changes to the estate tax. There is more revenue to be had with a stronger proposal, and we'll be working with our partners and allies to get the strongest possible estate tax included in any federal budget or comprehensive tax reform package.

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5.2 Million Hits and Counting! (A Web Video)

This amazing web video, posted by YouTube user, politizane, animates research by Michael Norton (Harvard University) and Dan Ariely (Duke University) about the dramatic differential between people's perceptions and the reality of the wealth divide in the United States. Their findings suggest that Americans overwhelmingly want to live in a more equal society—like Sweden's, specifically—but also that too many people just don't know how bad the economic situation has gotten.

Each year, we train hundreds of organizers, activists, educators, and others involved in social and economic justice work. Much of what we do is about engaging people—organizers, activists, educators, and others—in a conversation about the economy, and this video is rich with opportunities for dialogue. You can also play a role.

Share it with your online and real life networks. It's easy! Copy & paste this link everywhere: http://bit.ly/YYqIFm. Tell people why you think it's important. Ask for others' reflections. Urge them to consider the implications—social, economic, political, ecological, etc.—of an economy marked by massive wealth inequality. And, encourage them to become involved in efforts large and small to build a new economy on the principles of democracy, sustainability, and cooperation—one where everyone contributes their fair share and everyone has the same opportunity to succeed.

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June 2013: UFE Training of Trainers in Boston

Our Popular Economics Education Team is hosting UFE's renowned Training of Trainers Institute in June 2013 in Boston, MA (details below). We invite organizers, activists, educators, students, and others across the U.S. who want to join and advance the movement for a just economy.

Ten Chairs

Transformative education—which includes reflection, thoughtful analysis, and learning from each other—is vital to the success of any movement for social and economic justice. In order to challenge the status quo, we first need to make sense of the roots of the Great Recession and, more broadly, the ways in which our economic system creates and perpetuates class, race, and gender inequality.

Working toward a shared understanding of how we got here and a shared vision for the future will help us to build a cross-race, cross-class movement for an equitable, democratic, and sustainable economy.

UFE's Training of Trainers Institute explores the causes and consequences of inequality and provides participants with tools to inform their communities and inspire political action.

DATE:

Thursday, June 6 – ­Sunday, June 9, 2013
On-site check-in from 3:00–6:00 p.m. on June 6, 2013; The Institute ends at 1:30 p.m. after lunch on June 9.

Register for June 6-9, 2013 TOT Institute

LOCATION:

40 Berkeley Hostel & Conference Center (Boston, MA)
Conveniently located in Boston's South End neighborhood, minutes from Back Bay, Copley Square, the Boston Common, Public Garden, and more.

ABOUT THE INSTITUTE:

Jeannette Huezo and Steve Schnapp, UFE's Senior Education Coordinators, will train you in how to lead UFE-style popular economics education workshops that demystify the economy and creatively educate, inspire, and mobilize people to take political action.

It is right for you if you are:
  • An organizer, leader, activist, teacher, or trainer engaged in campaigns for economic or social justice, or
  • If you are seeking to improve your training and facilitation skills in order to more effectively present information and engage people in dialogue about the economy.
You will learn about:
  • National economic trends, the rules and policies that contributed to the Great Recession & the jobless recovery;
  • The impacts of economic policies in terms of race and gender;
  • Some history about popular resistance to economic inequality in the U.S.;
  • Strategies to advance economic recovery by closing the economic divides; and
  • Principles and practices of popular education.
You will have opportunities to:
  • Photo: ToT planning exercise

    Work in small groups to plan and practice leading either UFE's or original popular economics education workshop activities;
  • Receive constructive feedback on how to effectively present workshops and lead productive discussions on economic inequality; 
  • Discuss how to best adapt UFE's materials to your communities and constituents;
  • Practice responding to challenging questions and difficult workshop situations; and
  • Network, build solidarity and open doors for collaboration with others working for economic justice.
The program includes presentations of creative and engaging activities from UFE's workshops, including:
  • The Growing Divide - The Roots of Economic Security
  • Closing the Racial Wealth Divide
  • Bankers, Brokers, Bubbles, and Bailouts
  • Immigration and the Growing Divide
Schedule & Registration:
  • Participants should arrive at the Conference Center on Thursday, March 14, between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.; program begins after dinner on Thursday and concludes after lunch on Sunday.
  • Sessions will be conducted in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
  • Breaks will be provided throughout the day to allow participants to reflect and network with other participants.

Space is limited and preference is given to applicants who are able to attend the full Institute. Some materials, including a detailed agenda for the Institute, short readings, and logistical information, will be sent to all registrants prior to the training to help participants prepare for the Institute.

Registration fee is $500, which includes the Institute fee, materials, meals, and room/board (double occupancy). Transportation is NOT included. Public transit (MBTA) makes for simple and affordable travel from Boston Logan Airport to the training site and back.

We offer a reduced fee to organizations sending two or more participants.

Scholarships:

Partial scholarship is available to participants from low-income communities and/or resource-limited organizations. If you require financial assistance to attend the Institute, you need to complete a scholarship request form after submitting this application and paying your deposit.

A minimum $25 deposit is required with your application. Payment in full is due one week before the start of the Institute.

For more information:

Contact Jeannette Huezo (jhuezo@faireconomy.org, 857-277-7881) or Steve Schnapp (sschnapp@faireconomy.org, 857-277-7868).

Stay tuned for application details.

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TFOC Annual Conference-2013

Mark your calendars! The Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative is excited to announce that our annual conference for 2013, will be taking place in Boston on June 4th, 5th and 6th.

Times:
June 4th   6:00 PM- 9:00 PM at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square

Advanced Film Screening of Inequality for All  6:00-7:30

Questions and Answers 7:30-8:00

Panel Discussion 8:00-9:00

Featuring: Meg Wiehe from Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, David Gray from Louisiana Budget Project and Brodrick Bagert from Together Baton Rouge

 

June 5th   9:00 AM- 6:00 PM at 40 Berkeley St Boston, MA

June 6th   9:00 AM- 1:00 PM (TFOC members only)

See the full agenda
or
Register Now!

We are pleased to announce that we will be having workshops on June 5th presented by the School of Creative Activism, Working Films, Youth of MA Organizing for a Reformed Economy, UFE's Popular Education Team, Responsible Wealth, Progressive Communicators Network, Funders Collabortive for Youth Organizing, and more to be added soon. 


The conference is presented by the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative, a network of state-level grassroots organizations that advocate for progressive and adequate state taxes. The TFOC is a project of United for a Fair Economy, a economic justice nonprofit based in Boston.

This conference will be open to allies and advocates involved in the tax fairness and economic justice movement. This conference is appropriate for community leaders, activists, and organizers, legislators, people concerned with tax policy, people not yet concerned with tax policy, policy wonks, journalists, foundation representatives, people with good ideas, and anyone else who believes in the power of a bottom-up movement.

The Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative (TFOC), a project of United for a Fair Economy, is supported by grants from The Open Society Foundations and the Stoneman Family Foundation.
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Defending the Youth Economic Justice Movement

Youth activism is always very exciting. We were inspired by the dedication, creativity, and energy of the young people at the annual Youth Jobs Coalition (YJC) rally in Boston. The participants, thousands of Boston Public School students, spent their class recess working together to make the youth unemployment crisis more visible to the community. The YJC demonstration, staged in Boston's Financial District, publicized the connection between concentration of wealth and political power in the financial sector and budget cuts that directly affect funding for youth jobs.

The absence of job opportunities is making it difficult for young people to build skills for future success and earn money to help their families. Young people of color are experiencing the greatest struggle. Black teen unemployment, for example, is nearly twice as high as White teen unemployment, which is deepening the racial economic divide.

Angie Auguste and Princess Mansaray led lobby day trainings for youth activists at the Massachusetts State House as a part of the YJC day of action.

We were disappointed, though not surprised, to see that the first to comment on our posts of support were skeptics who questioned the merits of the teens' efforts. As one Facebook user opined, "maybe being on the streets applying for jobs would have been more productive."

If only it were that simple. Our reply:

In real terms, unemployment may be upwards of 80% higher than reported when we factor in underemployment. Teen unemployment is at a remarkable high, with Black teens faring worst. This should be a concern to all of us because of the many social ills connected to poverty and extreme inequality. We view the actions and continued efforts of these young people through the Youth Jobs Coalition and other groups as a sign of hope. They are making a choice to work together in peaceful demonstration to address an economic system that's falling short, with inefficient allocation of public resources driven by a concentration of wealth and power. We hope you will consider that, in addition to solid individual initiative, we'll need systemic remedies to unemployment and other economic struggles. The momentum for change won't be generated in board rooms and legislative sessions alone. To make the problems and solutions more visible, we have to get some feet on the street with a unified message.

As banal as it sounds, young people are our future. Peaceful protest has helped to generate positive change throughout U.S. history. Should we not encourage the youth community to be more engaged in this way?

Top photo c/o Steve Schnapp

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Responsible Wealth Says Goodbye to Bill Densmore

Friends:

On January 19th, Responsible Wealth lost one of its founding members and a remarkable man, Bill Densmore, at age 88. Bill was a loving husband, devoted father, and mentor to many, including me for a time.  Bill parlayed a successful corporate career into a second career focused on education, peace, economic justice and better end-of-life planning. He played a key role in the original organizing meetings in the fall of 1996 that led to the founding of Responsible Wealth in 1997. Bill was a passionate advocate for economic justice right up to his final days. 

For those who were not lucky enough to meet him, I will attempt to give you a sense of who Bill was, and to share with you some of what was said about him at his memorial service last month. For those who want more details, there are a number of links below.

I first met Bill when he was part of the group of about 10 of us who met during the Fall of 1996 to discuss founding Responsible Wealth (RW) as a project of United for a Fair Economy. Bill went on to serve on RW’s Steering Committee for a number of years, helping advise me and guide RW’s early decisions on which topics we would tackle and which tactics we would use to bring the voice of progressive wealthy business leaders and others into the movement for economic justice. During that time, Bill developed a list of 15 corporate “rules changes” that would help close the economic divide, which he continued to promote over the years. (see link below)

Although Bill was less involved with Responsible Wealth in recent years, he remained an enthusiastic supporter and was always warm, inquiring and supportive when we spoke by phone.  His membership renewal was often the very first one to arrive, a day or two after we sent out our annual appeal!

On February 2, an impressive crowd of about 500 people of all ages filled the large First Unitarian Church in Worcester for a celebration of his life, which was a very fitting tribute to his long life of service.  His daughter Betsy and son Bill Jr. spoke, as did one of his mentees, Paul Reville, and Bill’s friend Michael True. Many of his favorite quotes were recited during the service and/or reprinted in the program.  The congregation sang ‘Tis a Gift to be Simple, If I Had a Hammer, and Amazing Grace, and Bill’s granddaughter Eliza played “Imagine” beautifully on the piano while her brother Chris (a theater major at Carleton College) sang the song with great expression.

Many friends stayed afterward to console the family, share remembrances of Bill, and look at various displays relating to Bill’s life and work. Not surprisingly, there was a literature table near the door for some of his deepest passions: The Center for Nonviolent Solutions, the Better Ending Partnership, and the upcoming Rules Change Conference (May 3-5, UMass Amherst). 

For me, the word “persistence” kept coming to mind during his service. Appropriately, Rev. Barbara Merrill spoke of Bill giving us all a “metaphorical toolbox” that contains “optimism, persistence and humility,” which really captures Bill well. She said, “Bill spent much of his energy in this existence in service to others. And we were the lucky recipients.” [Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your notes with me!]

Rev. Merrill also read some comments she had received from others, including:

  • “Bill possessed a keen, penetrating intelligence, handsomely combined with an uncommon gentleness and civility. He so catalytically evoked the best in others through his pure sincerity of purpose, and the twinkle in his eye.”
  • “…His whole life has revolved around nurturing civic action by successive generations.”
  • “Bill’s calm, quiet exterior formed a kind of camouflage over a white hot flame of practical idealism that burned within. He had a deep sense of compassion for all, a passion for economic justice, and a conviction (born of long experience and observation) that nonviolence is more effective than violence in confronting evil and addressing injustice. Bill bridged the corporate world and the social activist world like no one I’ve ever known. He did it quietly, energetically, persistently, optimistically, and most of all, effectively!”
  • “He was the ultimate networker, working with understatement, yet quiet force, to make things happen.  He very subtly coached me and our staff team in how to manage everything. Always available. Always thorough. Always steady. Always encouraging and non-judgmental. Always curious. Always receptive.” 

I will miss my occasional calls with Bill. But like everyone who has been touched by his life, I feel richer for having known him.

Mike Lapham
Responsible Wealth
February 15, 2013

Links 

Bill’s obituary

Rules Change Conference, May 3-5, 2013 (http://www.ruleschange.org or http://mediagiraffe.org/wiki/index.php/Ruleschange or email ruleschange2013@gmail.com). Note: Chuck Collins had a planning meeting with Bill Densmore and Rep. James McGovern about this conference just a couple weeks before Bill died. 

Better Ending Partnership: 508-767-9877 or http://www.betterending.org.

The Center for Nonviolent Solutions: http://www.nonviolentsolution.org/about_mission.php.

Slideshow of Bill’s life (about 100 photos).

Lots of background information about Bill, including some of the above: http://newshare.com/wpdensmore/.

15 Corporate Rules Changes: http://newshare.com/ruleschange.pdf (see esp. Section F near the bottom for complete list).

Quotes worth remembering related to Bill

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” - George Bernard Shaw

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”  - George Bernard Shaw

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, …who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, if he fails, at lest he fails while daring greatly…”  - Theodore Roosevelt

“It’s not how much you know, but what you do with what you know.”

From Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White): “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing…after all, what’s a life anyway?  We’re born, we live a little while, we die…By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

A Prayer for Bill

As a final note, here is the prayer written and read by Rev. Gary Kowalski at Bill’s memorial service [thank you, Gary]:

We give thanks
For those who live large,
For practical idealists,
For men who lead from the heart.
Gracious God
We give thanks
For the life of Bill Densmore,
Saddened by his passing
But strengthened by the energy and enthusiasm
With which he embraced his time on earth,
Inspired by his commitment
To building the beloved community
Of justice, equality and peace.
This church that he supported,
This city and its civic institutions that he served,
The nation that he defended and sought to transform
Are friendlier, fairer and more free
For his having lived. 
Where grief casts its shadow,
When vision grow dim,
When souls go cold,
Enable us to remember
Those who reached toward the light
Who illumined our world with their honor
And warmed it with their humanity,
Renewing our faith
That beyond birth and death,
Beyond time and space,
Virtue endures,
Love never fails,
Compassion never ends,
For all are in the hands of goodness and mercy.
Amen.

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Webinar: Using Film in Your Economic Justice Campaigns

This webinar explores how to effectively integrate film into economic fairness campaigns. How do social issue documentary films do more than just raise awareness? How can you leverage the story in a documentary film to advance your efforts? How can you effectively rally local audiences around your cause once the lights come up? This Tax Fairness Tune-Up webinar will answer all these questions, and provide a framework on how to use film as an asset to economic fairness campaigns.

Featured Speakers:

Andy Myers

Campaign Coordinator, Working Films

Andy holds a B.A in film studies, with a focus in documentary film and a minor in environmental studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. A longtime proponent of connecting film with activism, he has coordinated various national campaigns, which leverage the narrative in social issue documentaries to advance the efforts of organizations with shared goals.


Karin Hayes & Victoria Bruce

Directors/Producers

Recipients of the duPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for their first film, The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt (HBO/Cinemax). Their most recent film We’re Not Broke premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the Grand Jury Award.


Brad Lichtenstein

President of 371 Productions/BizVizz

An award-winning filmmaker and the president of 371 Productions. He has been working in documentary production since 1/92. His latest film, As Goes Janesville, is a documentary about how a town tries to reinvent itself amid the loss of their century-old GM plant and Wisconsin’s civil war over unions. The film’s storyline about corporate transparency inspired him to create BizVizz. He’s busy right now developing new technology and media projects for the common good. Before making his own films, Brad associate produced FRONTLINE’s Peabody award-winning presidential election year special, Choice ’96, and Lumiere Production’s PBS series, "With God on Our Side: The History of the Religious Right."

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Responsible Wealth Pushes to End Corporate Political Spending

Responding to the unprecedented level of outside spending in last year's election cycle, Responsible Wealth has joined a coalition of investors to step up its campaign to press companies to refrain entirely from making political contributions. The coalition, including Clean Yield Asset Management, Green Century Capital Management, Zevin Asset Management, and Harrington Investments, has filed resolutions with Chevron, Bank of America, 3M, Target, Starbucks, ExxonMobil, and the EQT Corporation. Responsible Wealth members filed at Bank of America and Target.

Because of the 2010 Citizens United ruling, so-called “independent” or outside spending in federal elections—made in support of candidates by groups with no supposed connections to their campaigns—contributions increased nearly fivefold between 2010-2012, from $300 million to $1.3 billion (Center for Responsive Politics). Just last week, Demos & the US PIRG Education Fund released a report estimating that for-profit corporations were responsible for at least $101 million in political spending in the 2012 elections, although the actual amount could be up to four times that amount due to vagaries in reporting requirements.

“In 2012, Chevron gave $2.5 million dollars of company funds to a Super PAC—the single largest corporate donation to a Super PAC ever. Shareholders don’t want to pay for Chevron’s political preferences or contribute to the untamed spending unleashed by the Citizens United ruling. It’s time for Chevron to listen to its shareholders and stop throwing millions of dollars into the wind.”       - Leslie Samuelrich, Senior Vice President of Green Century Capital Management

At the same time, we’re seeing a rise in public opposition and backlash to corporate influence in the democratic process. In February 2010, immediately following the Citizens United decision, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 80% of respondents opposed Citizens United, across partisan lines. Political spending and lobbying undermine the trust of the consumer.

“By the sheer volume of money involved, dollar democracy by corporations is drowning out individual political voices and undermining the essence of the American political system. ExxonMobil’s huge political donations are symptomatic of this corrosion of democracy, so as shareholders, we have a responsibility to put a stop to this dangerous behavior.” - Sonia Kowal, Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Zevin Asset Management 

And contrary to conventional wisdom, campaign contributions may actually stunt the long-term growth of a company. A 2012 University of Minnesota study found that companies contributing to political action committees and other outside political groups between 1991-2004 grew more slowly than other firms, invested less, spent less on research and development, and were linked to poor corporate governance.

By changing their policies around political spending, companies have an opportunity to set a higher standard in business, raising the bar for their competitors. At Target, Bank of America, ExxonMobil, 3M, and EQT, Responsible Wealth and its partners are calling for company directors to conduct a study examining the feasibility of adopting a no-spending policy. Chevron is being asked to completely desist from political giving. And at Starbucks, the request is for a complete end to political spending while also asking the company to refrain from establishing a political action committee, a vehicle for raising and spending money from employees and shareholders.

Responsible Wealth members Marnie Thompson & Stephen Johnson (Greensboro, NC) and RW Director Mike Lapham are currently in negotiations with Target executives and are pressing the company to be more transparent about its process and reasons for engaging in political giving. If Target changes its policy around political giving, it’s possible the bar will be raised for its competitors. Only time will tell, but for now, we’re keeping the pressure on. 

CLICK HERE to see the full press release.

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MLK Day Report | State of the Dream 2013

UFE's tenth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day report, State of the Dream 2013: A Long Way From Home, outlines the state of the racial wealth divide in the U.S. and puts forward creative solutions for addressing persistent racial inequities.

Black and Latino families continue to have far less wealth than White families and have emerged from the Great Recession more indebted and less able than White families to face the economic challenges before them. 

Housing, an integral piece of the increasingly elusive American Dream, has much to do with the hemmorhaging of wealth in communities of color. This report examines the link between housing and asset-building policies, the impacts of those policies on communities of color, and urges a targeted, goal-oriented policy approach that is guided by our shared values and principles.

Fifty years ago this year, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. shared a vision for a future of equality for all people, regardless of race, in his "I Have a Dream" speech. He spent the final years of his life working with thousands of others to challenge economic inequality and racial injustice. Although their efforts made historic civil rights victories possible, much work remains to close the racial divide. We are, indeed, a long way from home.

Read the report today. Share it with your community. Start a conversation. Speak out and work together to make a new economy possible.

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