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04-11-2024 Questions & Answers

04-11-2024 Questions & Answers 1200 628 Kristen Blacksher

Q: I am bothered by something that happens at our Conference meetings fairly regularly. We have a lot of parishioners who have shown interest in the Society, and it is pretty common to find one or two new faces at most of our meetings. During the meeting, they are allowed to vote on issues just like everyone else. Our President says he wants them to feel welcome and part of the group. Is this a good practice?

A: The answer is “no.” We welcome new people to be part of the Society, but there is a process to follow. In the current version of the Rule/Manual of the Society, there is a promoted procedure for bringing new members into the Society. This procedure includes introduction, training, active participation in works, discernment by the candidate and ultimate approval by the Conference. This process works and should not be short cut in order to bring more people into the Society. The decisions of Conferences are to be made by Active (Full) Members only, usually by consensus.

Q: Our Conference has just approved a set of bylaws. Now that they are approved, what is the next step?

A: The bylaws you approved must (should) correspond to the newly revised bylaws for Conferences approved by the National Council. Be sure that you have a record of the approval and copy of the bylaws in your Conference minutes. Next, send a copy of the bylaws through the organization chart to District and Diocesan Councils for their approval, recording and filing. The District and Diocesan Councils should also record their approvals in their minutes.

Español

P: Me molesta algo que sucede en nuestras reuniones de la Conferencia con bastante regularidad. Tenemos muchos feligreses que han mostrado interés en la Sociedad, y es bastante común encontrar una o dos caras nuevas en la mayoría de nuestras reuniones. Durante la reunión, se les permite votar sobre temas como todos los demás. Nuestro Presidente dice que quiere que se sientan bienvenidos y parte del grupo. ¿Es esto una buena práctica?

R: La respuesta es “no”. Damos la bienvenida a nuevas personas para que formen parte de la Sociedad, pero hay un proceso a seguir. En la versión actual de la Regla/Manual de la Sociedad, existe un procedimiento que se utiliza para invitar a nuevos miembros a la Sociedad. Este procedimiento incluye la presentación, la formación, la participación en los trabajos, el discernimiento por parte del candidato y la aprobación final por parte de la Conferencia. Este proceso funciona y no debe de haber un atajo para atraer a más personas a la Sociedad. Las decisiones de las Conferencias deben ser hechas únicamente por los Miembros Activos (en Pleno Derecho), generalmente por consenso.

P: Nuestra Conferencia acaba de aprobar un conjunto de Estatutos. Ahora que están aprobados, ¿cuál es el siguiente paso?

R: Los Estatutos que ustedes aprobaron deben corresponder a los Estatutos para Conferencias recientemente revisados y aprobados por el Consejo Nacional. Asegúrese de tener un registro de la aprobación y una copia de los Estatutos en las actas de la Conferencia. A continuación, envíe una copia de los Estatutos a través del organigrama a los Consejos Distritales y Diocesanos para su aprobación, registro y archivo. Los Consejos de Distrito y Diocesanos también deben registrar la aprobación de sus Estatutos en sus actas.

 

Am I A Vincentian?

Am I A Vincentian? 152 152 Kristen Blacksher

In June 2008, I attended the Western Region Meeting in Boise, Idaho. I was not alone. There were 225 other Vincentians along with me. During the time I spent there, I met with many Vincentians and discussed a wide variety of topics. I also put on a workshop and facilitated two open forums where anything and everything could be discussed. One theme came up over and over again in those discussions. This is also a theme which is continually asked today as well. How do you get the Conferences and the members to adhere to or comply with the Rule?

This is a tough question. And it requires a tough answer. People, in general, have mixed feelings when it comes to rules and regulations. They usually will admit to the value of them. They usually will admit to the need for them. And they normally agree that compliance is necessary; that is, until they want to do something that does not really correspond to the rules. Then it becomes harsh and too restrictive. They did not join the Society to follow the rules. They joined the Society to do some good and do not want to be bogged down with meaningless do’s and don’ts. We hear this stuff all the time! I can go into a long, drawn-out dissertation on why rules and regulations are important, but that will get us nowhere. I can take a military point of view and say that if one soldier steps out of line the war will be lost. Nobody is going to buy that. I can talk about unity of thought and action, but that cup only holds a limited amount of water.

It truly boils down to one thing. Ask yourself one question: Am I a Vincentian? To be a Vincentian you have to make a commitment. Here is where the rub comes in. Commitment! Being a Vincentian calls for a number of things to be accepted and come into play. Being a Vincentian means accepting who we are, what we are about, what we do, and how we do it. Being a Vincentian means more than helping people in need. It means growing in holiness, striving to grow closer to God. It means growing closer to our fellow Vincentians. It means serving God through serving those in need. It means a blend of all of the above.

A number of years ago, when searching for the answer to a question, I was referred to John Simmons, former National President of the Society, the guru. If you wanted to know anything about the Society he was the man to go to. John said that if you call yourself a Vincentian, you want to meet as often as possible with your fellow Vincentians, you want to learn about the Society, you want to understand what this is all about, and you want to help it grow. It is that simple.

If I want to do my own thing, follow my own rules or no rules at all, I can start my own special work or organization. Then all I have to do is get other people who want to join me to follow my rules. I am a Vincentian. I am committed to who we are, what we do and the way we do it. Complying with the Rule not only makes sense, it is something I want to do.

Mike Syslo
Member and Past Chair
National Governance Committee

3 Ways to Build a Dream Team and Keep Rockstar Employees

3 Ways to Build a Dream Team and Keep Rockstar Employees 1080 1080 Kristen Blacksher
By Brooke Trick-Senior Director of Retail Operations
North Central Region – District Council of Madison

Hiring and retention are hurdles for many organizations as we navigate this modern work environment. Businesses are becoming more creative in how they hire and retain employees. Employees’ views and expectations of the work environment are shifting. Burnout and dissatisfaction at work are high. As employers, we need to change course to a more people-centric work culture.

Here are three ways to keep your employees engaged, increase morale and improve loyalty while adding to your bottom line:

1. Maintain competitive salaries and wages

  • Evaluate your local market every 2 – 3 years and adjust the pay schedule to ensure your employees feel valued and are fairly compensated.
  • Know the cost of living in your area and surrounding communities. Employees’ wages should cover their basic living expenses so that they themselves do not need to use your charitable services.
  • Factor in an employee’s experience, skills, performance, tenor, reliability and productivity in salary and wage discussions.
  • Be transparent with your salary structure. Employees should know and understand their earning potential and growth opportunities. If employees do not see attainable promotions or advancements, they will look elsewhere.

2. Keep open lines of communication

  • Provide regular performance feedback and set clear expectations.
  • Employees crave feedback! They want to do an excellent job and know that they are appreciated. Regular performance reviews allow managers to outline employees’ opportunities for growth and development.
  •  Welcome employees into discussions and decision-making processes.
  • Team building and collaboration give employees the opportunity to be heard — one of the most powerful motivational forces in human nature! When employees don’t feel like they’re being heard they may feel resentment, withdraw from work or disconnect from coworkers. Employees who are actively involved in their organization have an increased sense of belonging and a more positive view of their workplace.

3. Invest in workplace happiness and employee wellness

  • Have a supportive management team that encourages open communication and transparency. Hold weekly departmental meetings where you can update employees and hear feedback.
  • Offer opportunities for professional development and career growth within the organization.
  • Recognize and celebrate employees’ achievements in a variety of ways: in-person, individually, and in front of their peers. Some ways to celebrate an employee’s achievement are highlighting an “Employee of the Month,” acknowledging work anniversaries, or having an incentive program for when sale/production goals are met and/or exceeded.
  • Provide mental health resources and quality resources to employees. Consider hosting workshops for departments or groups that will help foster teamwork and create a positive work culture.
  • Organize events or projects that promote employee participation and camaraderie. Have a company picnic or celebration once a year where everyone involved in the organization gets the opportunity to talk with one another. Include staff in a group project like a special advertisement or other public facing information.

When you have open communication, include employees in work processes, and show that you care for employees’ well-being, you cultivate a work environment that not only attracts and retains top talent but creates a committed workforce to help drive business.

THANK YOU to those who attended the Mid-Year meeting in St. Louis, MO. We hope you are planning to join us in August when we gather for the National Meeting in Phoenix, AZ!

If you have a topic that you would like addressed in a future Stores Corner article, please e-mail our Director of Stores Support Jeff Beamguard.

04-04-24 Questions and Answers

04-04-24 Questions and Answers 1200 628 Kristen Blacksher

Q: Do all new programs of a Conference have to be approved by the Council, or can a Conference Board approve new programs, without the approval of Council? I ask this question because in the Governance: Council and Board handbook it reads, “No program should be allowed to start without Board approval. This includes both those started by Vincentians and those started by employees.”

A: For most Conferences (those using Bylaws document 1), the Board of Directors of the Council (if no formal Board of Directors exists, then the Council itself) is the governing body and should give formal approval of new programs within the Council. The term “Board” is sometimes used informally among Conference members to refer to the slate of officers. Conferences generally do not have Boards. The handbook does not use the word that way. The handbook refers formally to the Board of Directors.

For some Conferences that are separately incorporated (those using Bylaws document 2 or document 10), the Conference is the governing body and does not require Council approval for its programs. The bylaws define the governance responsibilities.

Q: Are employees of St. Vincent Thrift Stores allowed to be voting members at the local Conference?

A: Thrift store employees are not allowed to vote at Conference meetings unless the store employee is also an active member of the Conference. They are not to vote on issues that may affect their jobs.

Español

P: ¿Todos los programas nuevos de una Conferencia tienen que ser aprobados por el Consejo o puede la Mesa Directiva de la Conferencia aprobar nuevos programas, sin la aprobación del Consejo?
Hago esta pregunta porque en el Manual de Gobernanza: Mesa Directiva del Consejo se lee: “No se debe permitir que ningún programa comience sin la aprobación de la Mesa Directiva. Esto incluye tanto a los iniciados por los Vicentinos como a los iniciados por los empleados”.

R: Para la mayoría de las Conferencias (aquellas que utilizan el documento 1 de los Estatutos), la Mesa Directiva del Consejo (si no existe una Mesa Directiva formal, entonces el Consejo mismo) es el órgano de gobierno y debe dar la aprobación formal de los nuevos programas dentro del Consejo. El término “Mesa Directiva” se utiliza a veces de manera informal entre los miembros de la Conferencia para referirse a la lista de funcionarios. Por lo general, las Conferencias no tienen Mesas Directivas formales. El Manual no usa la palabra de esa manera. El Manual se refiere a la Mesa Directiva Formal.

Para algunas Conferencias que se incorporan por separado (aquellas que utilizan el documento 2 o el documento 10 de los Estatutos), la Conferencia es el órgano rector y no requiere la aprobación del Consejo para sus programas. Los Estatutos definen las responsabilidades de gobernanza.

P: ¿Se les permite a los empleados de las tiendas de segunda mano de San Vicente ser miembros con derecho a voto en la Conferencia local?

R: Los empleados de las tiendas de segunda mano no pueden votar en las reuniones de la Conferencia a menos que el empleado de la tienda también sea un miembro activo de la Conferencia. No deben votar sobre temas que puedan afectar sus trabajos.

03-28-24 Questions & Answers

03-28-24 Questions & Answers 1200 628 Jill Pioter

Q: Can Councils create endowment scholarships?

A: Endowments are permitted as long as they are funded by donations specifically for that purpose. Funds identified for service to those in need should not be used to build an endowment. An endowment campaign can be established to solicit funds specifically for the purpose desired.

Q: Can Conference officers consist of the President-elect, Secretary, and Treasurer only, if no member accepts the Vice President appointment?

A: Conference officers (an elected President who appoints a Vice President(s), Secretary, and Treasurer) have no specific authority other than representation of the Conference and requirement to fulfill specific tasks. All decisions are made by the Active Members of the Conference as a whole. According to the Bylaws, there must be at least one Vice President; hence a member should step forward to serve as VP for a complete slate of officers. The Conference as well as the Council needs to know who will serve in the Presidential capacity should the elected President be unable to serve for any reason.

ESPAÑOL

P: ¿Pueden los Consejos crear dotes para becas?

R: Las dotaciones están permitidas siempre y cuando sean financiadas por donaciones específicamente para ese propósito. Los fondos identificados para el servicio a los necesitados no deben usarse para construir una dotación. Se puede establecer una campaña de dotación para solicitar fondos específicamente para el propósito deseado.

P: ¿Pueden los funcionarios de la Conferencia estar formados únicamente por el Presidente electo, el Secretario y el Tesorero, si ningún miembro acepta el nombramiento del Vicepresidente?

R:  Los Oficiales de la Conferencia (un Presidente electo que nombra a un Vicepresidente, un Secretario y un Tesorero) no tienen autoridad específica más que la representación de la Conferencia y el requisito de cumplir con tareas específicas. Todas las decisiones son tomadas por los Miembros Activos de la Conferencia en su conjunto. De acuerdo con los estatutos, debe haber al menos un Vicepresidente, por lo tanto, un miembro debe dar un paso adelante para servir como Vicepresidente de una lista completa de funcionarios. Tanto la Conferencia como el Consejo necesitan saber quién desempeñará la Presidencia en caso de que el Presidente electo no pueda ejercer sus funciones por cualquier motivo.

 

 

Voice For the Poor Updates

Voice For the Poor Updates 1080 1080 Jill Pioter

Fellow Vincentians,

As the new Chair of the Voice for the Poor Committee, I wanted to update you on our work. First, the new National Council Board made a small name change and we are now the Voice FOR the Poor Committee. While our committee’s name changed slightly, our mission and focus remain the same.

The National Voice for The Poor Committee is charged with advocating on behalf of people in poverty, and with education and information-sharing to strengthen and grow Council and Conference involvement with advocating for policy solutions to local, state, and national leaders and legislators.

During the Midyear Meeting, the National Council Members approved the updated Human Trafficking position paper. One of our committee’s goals is to update the National Council’s position papers, and we would like to update two or three papers each year. We will seek input of other national committees, including Formation, not only to work collaboratively, but also, to make sure that Catholic Social Teaching is incorporated into all our position papers. You can find the position papers on our website.

Also at the Midyear Meeting, we introduced the updated Voice for the Poor Manual, a digital document that can be found and downloaded or printed from the National Council website. I also presented a session on how to start a Voice For the Poor committee and recorded a short video that introduces the Voice For the Poor that will be available for upcoming SVdP Regional Meetings.

Please stay tuned for many exciting Voice For the Poor updates.  You can find more information at https://members.ssvpusa.org/voice-of-the-poor/ or email us at vop@svdpusa.org.

In Christ,
Bobby Kinkela
Voice For the Poor Chair

P.S.  Don’t forget to make advocacy part of your regular Conference and Council meetings. Make it an agenda topic. I encourage you to invite your fellow Vincentians, parishioners, and friends to become advocates for their neighbors in need. Why? Because our neighbors in need deserve it! Sign up at https://ssvpusa.org/take-action. Thank you!

 

National Twinning Commission

National Twinning Commission 1080 1080 Jill Pioter

Purpose

To support and promote twinning with other superior councils and to work collaboratively with other twinning partners (e.g. Superior Council of Canada)

Reports To

National President

Twinning Is

Fulfilling the preferential option for the poor, Twinning is the mutual exchange of resources, both spiritual and material, between Conferences and Councils — domestically, nationally, and internationally, so as to fulfill the vision of our Founders — that a network of charity, in fraternity and solidarity, encircle the whole world.

It is the awareness of acute poverty in a great number of countries and the Vincentian preferential option for the poor, spurs Conferences and Councils to assist others with fewer resources. The activity between two Conferences/Councils, a fundamental activity of the Society, is the expression of Vincentian fraternity and solidarity.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Promote and monitor twinning activities in the United States and in Superior Councils within America 1.
  • Work collaboratively with the International Territorial Vice President for America 1.
  • Maintain a database on all twinning activities in the U.S.
  • Provide semi-annual reports on twinning activities to the National Board of Directors.
  • Provide semi-annual reports to the International Twinning Commission.
  • Assure compliance with the U.S. government and other countries where funds are electronically transferred.
  • Prepare and maintain a Twinning Policies and Procedures Manual consistent with that of the International Twinning Commission.
  • Meet periodically, as needed(via ZOOM, Mid-year and National).
  • Prepare an annual budget for the Twinning Commission.
  • Keep our twinning partners in our prayers.
  • Any other appropriate matters that may be requested by the National Board of Directors.

2024 Committee Charges

2024 Committee Charges 1080 1080 Jill Pioter

Development & Communications Committee

The Development & Communications Committee is charged with raising the national profile of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul by leveraging the ideas, resources, and best practices of its members in fundraising, marketing, and communications. Through collaboration and learning, the Committee will develop the resources necessary to grow the Society’s works and pave the way for future growth.

Membership & Leadership Development Committee

The Membership and Leadership Development Committee is charged with defining best practices for membership growth, the onboarding process, spiritual enrichment, identifying and advancing Vincentian leadership in a society and Catholic church that is changing rapidly.

Multicultural Diversity Committee

The Multicultural Diversity Committee is charged with prayerfully creating an inclusive culture by means of researching, developing proposing ideas, and leading projects that will give each member of the Society the opportunity to contribute and express their charisms.

Vincentian Spiritual Growth and Enrichment Committees

Formation Committee

The Formation Committee supports the formation of members and leaders in the Society in the interconnected human, spiritual, intellectual, and ministerial dimensions of formation, as defined in the Society’s Foundation Document, and reflecting the fullness of Vincentian tradition. The Committee creates and provides:

  • Printed and digital materials
  • Presentations
  • Guidelines
  • Active nourishment to all members and leaders in the Society.

The Hispanic-Latino Formation Subcommittee defines priorities to properly support the Hispanic-Latino community in all aspects of Formation. The Committee will:

  • Define the necessary resources
  • Develop a plan at an accelerated pace
  • Create effective documentation, materials, and tools to ensure the intercultural expression of faith and language is reflected and emphasized
Formation Renewal & Delivery Committee

The Formation Renewal & Delivery Committee provides training and Formation, in partnership with local Councils, using existing methods, and finding new effective means and channels for the use of Formation materials and tools. The Committee supports Regions and Councils by:

  • Developing plans and schedules for teams and partnerships
  • Training those teams to make effective use of Formation materials
Spirituality Formation Committee

The Spirituality Formation Committee is focused on the spiritual dimension of formation, in order to encourage and support personal growth in every Vincentian’s relationship with God.
The Committee provides active nourishment to all members in:

  • Personal spiritual formation
  • Devotion
  • Prayer life

The Committee supports and encourages Spiritual Advisors and leaders by:

  • Developing materials for use in Councils and Conferences
  • Establishing direct channels of communications

Vincentian Programs & Services Committees

Poverty Action Committee

The Poverty Action Committee is charged with the coordination and collaboration among the National poverty programs and committees, the development of National poverty programs identified by the National Council Board, and with disseminating systemic change mentality among Society members to engage more Councils and Conferences in transformative initiatives that empower those we serve to make their way out of poverty to self-sufficiency.

National Voice For the Poor Committee

The National Voice For the Poor Committee is charged with advocating on behalf of people in poverty, and with education and information-sharing to strengthen and grow Council and Conferences’ involvement with advocating for policy solutions to local, state, and national leaders and legislators. The committee reports to the National Council President.

Homelessness Prevention Committee

The Homelessness Prevention Committee is charged with providing guidance and best practices in homelessness prevention and shelter diversion to Councils and Conferences, strengthening efforts to stop homelessness before it starts for those most at risk of losing their home.

Stores Committee

The Stores Committee is charged with helping paid and unpaid personnel to develop and maintain successful thrift stores, and with providing consulting services to Councils and Conferences that desire to start thrift stores.

Youth, Young Adults, and Emerging Leaders Committee

The Youth, Young Adults, and Emerging Leaders Committee is charged with growing young Vincentian leaders while ensuring that the spirit of our young founders is always present within the Society. This committee seeks to promote the formation, recruitment and engagement of young people, and the constant rejuvenation of the Vincentian Conferences both locally and nationally.

YYAEL will play a crucial role in identifying and developing individuals capable of leading with compassion, innovation, and dedication. Helping to support Youth, Young Adults, Emerging Leaders, and their coordinators, YYAEL will create opportunities, programs, and resources to support, connect, and train Youth, Young Adults, Emerging Leaders, and their coordinators, preparing them to integrate into the Society to lead, serve, and inspire generations to come.

 

03-21-24 Questions & Answers

03-21-24 Questions & Answers 1200 628 Jill Pioter

Q: I was told by my Conference that we do not help people with rent if they are on Section 8. Is this true, and if so, why not?

A: It has always been a part of the Rule that no form of charity is foreign to the Society. So, limiting the types of service we provide does not correspond with the Rule. There is no other authorization that prevents us from providing rental assistance to people living in Section 8 housing.

 Q: Is the Festival Celebration a mandatory event that the Conferences and/or Council must schedule during the calendar year?

A: The Rule, Part III, Statute 9 states: “Conferences and Councils celebrate liturgical ceremonies, particularly Vincentian ceremonies, throughout the year, endeavoring to maintain a spirit of friendship among the members. The Council of the United States has designated six days for religious observances. On these occasions, the members of Conferences and Councils demonstrate the spiritual nature of the Society by attending the Eucharist together:

  • Ozanam Sunday (the last Sunday of April)
  • The feast day of Blessed Frederic Ozanam (September 9)
  • The feast day of St. Vincent de Paul (September 27)
  • The Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the Society (December 8)
  • A Conference Mass celebrated at least once a year for all members, including spouses and children. During this Mass, it is most appropriate to commission new members into the Conference, pray for those we have visited, pray for our benefactors, pray for the poor, pray for the deceased members, and for continued good work.
  • Another feast day of local custom, e.g., December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

The celebration of the festival days develops spirituality and fellowship among the members. It is also a sign of solidarity with all of the other members of the Society throughout the United States. It is not likely that any formal action will be taken if a festival day is not celebrated.

ESPAÑOL

P: Mi Conferencia me dijo que no ayudamos a las personas con el alquiler si están en la Sección 8. ¿Es esto cierto y, si es así, por qué no?

R: Siempre ha sido parte de la Regla que ninguna forma de caridad es ajena a la Sociedad.  Por lo tanto, limitar los tipos de servicio que brindamos no va con lo que dice la Regla.  No hay ninguna otra cláusula que nos impida proporcionar asistencia para el alquiler a las personas que viven en viviendas de la Sección 8.

P: ¿Son las Celebraciones Festivas un evento obligatorio que las Conferencias y/o el Consejo deben programar durante el año calendario?

R: La Regla, Parte III, Estatuto 9 establece: “Las Conferencias y los Consejos celebran las ceremonias litúrgicas, en particular las ceremonias Vicentinas, durante todo el año, esforzándose por mantener un espíritu de amistad entre los miembros. El Consejo de los Estados Unidos ha designado seis días para las celebraciones religiosas. En estas ocasiones, los miembros de las Conferencias y Consejos demuestran la naturaleza espiritual de la Sociedad asistiendo juntos a la Eucaristía:

  • Domingo de Ozanam (el último domingo de abril)
  • Fiesta del Beato Federico Ozanam (9 de septiembre)
  • Fiesta de San Vicente de Paúl (27 de septiembre)
  • La Inmaculada Concepción, Patrona de la Sociedad (8 de diciembre)
  • Una Misa de Conferencia celebrada al menos una vez al año para todos los miembros, incluidos los cónyuges e hijos. Durante esta Misa, es muy apropiado comisionar a nuevos miembros a la Conferencia, orar por aquellos que hemos visitado, orar por nuestros benefactores, orar por los pobres, orar por los miembros fallecidos y para que continuemos con el buen trabajo.
  • Otra fiesta de costumbre local, por ejemplo, el 12 de diciembre, la fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

La celebración de los días festivos desarrolla la espiritualidad y el compañerismo entre los miembros.  También es una señal de solidaridad con todos los demás miembros de la Sociedad en todos los Estados Unidos.  No es probable que se tome ninguna medida formal si no se celebra una festividad.

Leveraging National Council Resources for State Advocacy

Leveraging National Council Resources for State Advocacy 903 903 Jill Pioter

As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil famously stated, “All politics is local.” This year, SVdP Councils in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan have utilized the National Council’s E-advocacy system Voter Voice to mobilize state advocates on homelessness, taxation, housing, and payday loans.

District Councils can make a big impact in their state legislature by mobilizing Vincentians to email their state legislators. We have seen success where local Councils are part of larger state coalitions that are vocal about a specific issue. Councils that work closely with their state Catholic Conferences on grassroots issues also see success.

In the four campaigns mentioned above, which last about 2 – 3 weeks each, have sent over 200 messages to state legislators and have resulted in 115 new advocates for St. Vincent de Paul. This was Georgia and Kentucky’s first foray into mobilizing advocates using Voter Voice, and their campaigns brought in the bulk of those 115 new advocates.

How do you get started?

State Diocesan/Archdiocesan presidents, District Council Presidents, Executive Director(s) are empowered to work on state legislative issues. When they agree to bring forward a potential grassroots campaign, they need to sign off on the campaign. They should notify their regional representative and Chair of the Voice for the Poor Committee and their Regional Vice President. Then they will work with Steve Uram, National Director of Poverty Programs, to draft the alert and the message to advocates and to the state legislators. You can find the process explained in our State and Advocacy Toolkit.

As Exodus 22:20-26 reminds us, we shall be judged if we oppress the poor or vulnerable — God will hear their cry. Let us build up the Kingdom of God with justice by advocating for our neighbors in need.

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