This award recognizes a nonprofit organization whose work has affected significant public policy change through the education and mobilization of constituents, the general public, and/or public policy decision makers.
2013 Excellence in Advocacy Award Winner: MACDC
The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) has been selected as an Excellence in Advocacy finalist for its efforts working to create places of opportunity where people of diverse incomes and backgrounds access housing that is affordable, benefit from economic opportunities, and fully participate in civic life. MACDC successfully pursued passage of the Community Investment Tax Credit, which is designed to enable local residents and stakeholders to work with community development corporations to partner with nonprofit, public, and private entities to improve economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income households. MACDC used an inside/outside legislative campaign strategy by applying inside lobbying and grassroots efforts to ensure that they thoroughly engaged all necessary parties. They have been cultivating strong relationships with elected officials so legislators know the important role CDCs play in their communities. Governor Deval Patrick signed the Community Investment Tax Credit into law on August 6, 2012, and through it, CDCs in Massachusetts will have the opportunity to pursue an additional $66 million in new funding. This will lead to more homes, jobs, businesses, and economic opportunities in low- and moderate-income communities.
Massachusetts Health Council
The Massachusetts Health Council (MHC) has been selected as an Excellence in Advocacy finalist for its efforts to improve and protect the health of Massachusetts residents. MHC is a coalition builder and advocacy organization with a diverse membership of 152 agencies, health care providers, consumer and advocacy groups, insurers, professional societies, and private corporations. To stimulate policy changes, the MHC’s campaign goal was the creation of the nation’s first state Legislative Prevention and Wellness Caucus which has resulted in an ongoing oversight of the state’s initiatives to reduce health care costs, provide health insurance for all, eliminate gaps in access to care, and lower the incidence of childhood obesity. The MHC selected health care experts to educate the Legislature on issues around preventive health care, sponsored a conference on Return on Investment to educate and mobilize the public, and frequently sends electronic messages to members to explain the status of health care related bills. The MHC has also played an important role in passing the School Nutrition Bill, the Health Care Reform Act, and Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012.
Crittenton Women’s Union
Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU) has been selected as an Excellence in Advocacy finalist for its efforts to help low-income women attain economic independence and create better futures by providing safe housing, caring supports, education, and training programs to 1,400 individuals annually. They aim to create policies that remove barriers to education and training leading to good jobs, and families who would be impacted led CWU’s advocacy efforts. CWU’s Advocacy Department leads an educational campaign across all CWU programs that encourages participants and staff to become involved in creating policy change. CWU’s Voices Advocacy Council brings together low-income women and supporters to advocate policy changes. Members are trained in advocacy basics such as voting, public speaking, legislative processes, and testifying at public hearings. Last year, VAC members participated in 10 advocacy events. In May 2012, Governor Deval Patrick signed “An Act Relative to Oversight of Private Occupational Schools,” and in August 2012, he signed “An Act Relative to Infrastructure Investment, Enhanced Competitiveness and Economic Growth in the Commonwealth.” CWU served as one of the lead organizers and advocates for these bills.
LivableStreets Alliance has been selected as an Excellence in Advocacy finalist for its efforts to rethink urban transportation to make Metro Boston more connected and challenges people to demand a system that balances transit, walking, and biking with automobiles. LivableStreets raised the importance of improving bridge designs to be multi-modal to serve the needs of today and tomorrow. The Boston University Bridge was 90% designed, and the government opposed changing the plan to remove an automobile lane and add a bicycle lane. However, by planning to show the public a flyer to oppose the bridge, LivableStreets convinced the Commissioner to implement their plan. Their advocacy strategy is to develop political will among decision-makers, ensure planning and implementing agencies have technical capability, build stakeholder coalitions to generate consensus, and build public support. LivableStreets’s successes include the BU Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge. Future bridge projects now come to the public at the conceptual design phase rather than after the critical surface decisions have been made, and the state set aside $1.5 million for a comprehensive study contract including multi-modal consultants.