Alabama Arise 2022 Annual Report

2022 Annual Report

Building a Better Alabama for All

2022 Annual Report

Building a Better Alabama for All

Our Mission

Alabama Arise is a statewide, member-led organization advancing public policies to improve the lives of Alabamians who are marginalized by poverty. Our membership includes faith-based, community, nonprofit and civic groups, grassroots leaders and individuals from across Alabama.

Our Mission

Alabama Arise is a statewide, member-led organization advancing public policies to improve the lives of Alabamians who are marginalized by poverty. Our membership includes faith-based, community, nonprofit and civic groups, grassroots leaders and individuals from across Alabama.

Arise envisions an Alabama…

… where all people have resources and opportunities to reach their potential to live happy, productive lives, and each successive generation is ensured a secure and healthy future.

… where all government leaders are responsive, inclusive and justice-serving, and the people are engaged in the policy-making process.

… where all people live with concern for the common good and respect for the humanity of every person.

To learn more about who we are, click here.

Robyn-Hyden-Executive Director Alabama Arise

We just won’t
accept the ‘new normal.’

After more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 has been the year of a “return to normalcy.” But we simply can’t accept a new normal that looks, in many ways, just as bad as the old one.

2022 has been a year of leaning into the challenges we face to shift the balance of power in our state and nation. Alabama Arise expanded our Cover Alabama coalition to include even more grassroots members across the state. We deepened our commitment on racial equity and inclusion to speak out against racist bills at the State House. We set ambitious goals for growing our membership with directly impacted communities. And we deepened our relationships across the state. In all these ways and more, Arise continues to grow into the full vision and mission outlined for us by our founders and by you, our membership.

Responding to the double whammy of COVID-19 and ongoing attacks on our democracy has made us more nimble. We have grown from a staff of 14 in 2019 to a staff of 22 today. 2022 saw us expand our policy advocacy team to include three policy advocates. Our worker policy advocate now will lead a research agenda supporting worker power with our partners in the labor movement. Our health policy advocate will continue to build and grow our work to engage Medicaid consumers in improving health outcomes via community-led Medicaid reforms. And our hunger policy advocate continues to lead our Hunger Free Alabama coalition in child nutrition outreach and implementation with school districts.

Our work together gives me hope. When our board met last year to discuss our theory of change and our vision for the world we hope to build together, we reaffirmed our commitment to focusing our work around you: our grassroots membership, and people directly experiencing poverty. You are the people on the front lines of working to make Alabama better and envisioning what could be. To build the world as we wish to see it – one that rejects the dreadful norms of today – we must continue to stand unified in purpose, in promise and in hope for the world to come.

Thank you for your leadership and your hard work in this moment of crisis – and in this moment of opportunity.

With gratitude,
Robyn Hyden
Executive Director, Alabama Arise

After more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 has been the year of a “return to normalcy.” But we simply can’t accept a new normal that looks, in many ways, just as bad as the old one.

 

2022 has been a year of leaning into the challenges we face to shift the balance of power in our state and nation. Alabama Arise expanded our Cover Alabama coalition to include even more grassroots members across the state. We deepened our commitment on racial equity and inclusion to speak out against racist bills at the State House. We set ambitious goals for growing our membership with directly impacted communities. And we deepened our relationships across the state. In all these ways and more, Arise continues to grow into the full vision and mission outlined for us by our founders and by you, our membership.

 

Responding to the double whammy of COVID-19 and ongoing attacks on our democracy has made us more nimble. We have grown from a staff of 14 in 2019 to a staff of 22 today. 2022 saw us expand our policy advocacy team to include three policy advocates. Our worker policy advocate now will lead a research agenda supporting worker power with our partners in the labor movement. Our health policy advocate will continue to build and grow our work to engage Medicaid consumers in improving health outcomes via community-led Medicaid reforms. And our hunger policy advocate continues to lead our Hunger Free Alabama coalition in child nutrition outreach and implementation with school districts.

 

Our work together gives me hope. When our board met last year to discuss our theory of change and our vision for the world we hope to build together, we reaffirmed our commitment to focusing our work around you: our grassroots membership, and people directly experiencing poverty. You are the people on the front lines of working to make Alabama better and envisioning what could be. To build the world as we wish to see it – one that rejects the dreadful norms of today – we must continue to stand unified in purpose, in promise and in hope for the world to come.

 

Thank you for your leadership and your hard work in this moment of crisis – and in this moment of opportunity.

 

With gratitude,
Robyn Hyden
Executive Director, Alabama Arise

Our agenda at the State House

As a member-led organization, we work on policy priorities decided annually by our membership base. Last year, Arise members across the state came together at our Annual Meeting to vote on our policy agenda. We know that, together, we will build a more inclusive future for Alabama.

2022 Policy Priorities

Click on a priority to learn more!

What We Do

Policy Analysis Icon

Policy Analysis

The Arise policy team studies current state policies and legislative proposals and analyzes their impact on people living in or near poverty.

Statewide Organizing Icon

Statewide Organizing

Arise organizes members and people with low incomes to speak out on the development of public policies that affect their lives.

Citizen Advocacy Icon

Citizen Advocacy

Arise works to equip its members for active participation in the democratic process, including legislative advocacy.

What We Do

Policy Analysis Icon

Policy Analysis

The Arise policy team studies current state policies and legislative proposals and analyzes their impact on people living in or near poverty.

Statewide Organizing Icon

Statewide Organizing

Arise organizes members and people with low incomes to speak out on the development of public policies that affect their lives.

Citizen Advocacy Icon

Citizen Advocacy

Arise works to equip its members for active participation in the democratic process, including legislative advocacy.

Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis Icon 2

POLICY ANALYSIS IN ACTION

Working for a more connected Alabama

This year, Alabama received billions of dollars of federal COVID-19 relief money through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and you helped advocate for these funds to be used for lasting change in our state. Funding public transportation would create jobs, improve lives and keep people connected. And we worked throughout the year to build momentum for this investment. We released an online ARPA toolkit. We met with the finance director and legislators about using ARPA funding for public transportation. And 81 Alabama organizations joined us in this call in a sign-on letter to our state leaders. Our recommendations are directly informed by those most impacted. In June, we released Alabama’s Road to a Better Public Transportation Future, a report where we identified Alabama’s transportation needs and solutions by surveying those who administer public transportation every day.

Policy Analysis Photo

POLICY ANALYSIS IN ACTION

Working for a more connected Alabama

Policy Analysis Photo

This year, Alabama received billions of dollars of federal COVID-19 relief money through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and you helped advocate for these funds to be used for lasting change in our state. Funding public transportation would create jobs, improve lives and keep people connected. And we worked throughout the year to build momentum for this investment. We released an online ARPA toolkit. We met with the finance director and legislators about using ARPA funding for public transportation. And 81 Alabama organizations joined us in this call in a sign-on letter to our state leaders. Our recommendations are directly informed by those most impacted. In June, we released Alabama’s Road to a Better Public Transportation Future, a report where we identified Alabama’s transportation needs and solutions by surveying those who administer public transportation every day.

“Decrease in funding has affected the ability for us to transport individuals who have been using services for years. With many, this has large consequences – like dialysis patients, because they have to get to appointments.”

Central Alabama Public Transit Director

“Decrease in funding has affected the ability for us to transport individuals who have been using services for years. With many, this has large consequences – like dialysis patients, because they have to get to appointments.”

Central Alabama Public Transit Director

Together we accomplished

  • Passing criminal justice reforms, including HB 95, which extended the grace period to begin paying court fines and fees after release from incarceration. We also helped pass HB 230 to ban routine shackling of incarcerated people during pregnancy.

  • Protecting the safety net and passing tax reforms. We helped stop SB 156, which would have limited SNAP eligibility for many parents struggling to make ends meet. We also helped pass HB 163, which cut income taxes for Alabamians with low and moderate incomes.

  • Blocking racist bills, such as HB 312 and SB 292, which both sought to ban the teaching of “divisive concepts” related to race in public classrooms. We also helped stop HB 2, which would have chilled free speech by threatening many peaceful protesters with incarceration.

  • Defending voting rights, such as putting a stop to HB 63, which would have further limited absentee voting.

By the numbers

In the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers began looking toward their fall elections, and national issues became local. Arise pushed our representatives to focus on the issues impacting everyday Alabamians to create a more equitable state. To learn more about the bills we worked on during the 2022 legislative session, click here to visit our Bills of Interest page.

70 Total bills we worked on during the legislative session
72 Arise staff meetings with legislators
4,809 Calls and emails to lawmakers
36 Bills we supported
10% Percentage of bills we successfully supported
34 Bills we opposed
91% Percentage of bills we successfully opposed

Providing accurate, easily digestible information about issues impacting people with low incomes is one way we work to build a better Alabama for all. When you share Arise’s information, tools and events with your community, you help us reach more people!

1,432 Media appearances
71 Educational publications
18 News releases, advisories and op-eds

Statewide Organizing

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STATEWIDE ORGANIZING IN ACTION

Progress in the midst of chaos

Statewide Organizing Photo

You helped to decrease child hunger in Alabama. Pandemic supports to sustain school feeding programs began to end this year, making the registration process more complicated and cumbersome for the parents and children who rely on these free meals to survive. Working with state agencies and communities across the state, Alabama Arise helped ensure that child nutrition benefits were widely available. We worked to equip parents with the guidance and resources they needed to reenroll in school meal programs. We also continued our efforts to increase Pandemic EBT benefits, which support families with children who can no longer rely on free school meals by helping parents buy food at home. And we continued to recruit schools to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP empowers schools to provide free lunches for every student if a large share of students live in households with low incomes.

STATEWIDE ORGANIZING IN ACTION

Progress in the midst of chaos

You helped to decrease child hunger in Alabama. Pandemic supports to sustain school feeding programs began to end this year, making the registration process more complicated and cumbersome for the parents and children who rely on these free meals to survive. Working with state agencies and communities across the state, Alabama Arise helped ensure that child nutrition benefits were widely available. We worked to equip parents with the guidance and resources they needed to reenroll in school meal programs. We also continued our efforts to increase Pandemic EBT benefits, which support families with children who can no longer rely on free school meals by helping parents buy food at home. And we continued to recruit schools to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP empowers schools to provide free lunches for every student if a large share of students live in households with low incomes.

Statewide Organizing Photo
Celi headshot

“The pandemic protections for school feeding programs are waning, but the harsh impacts of COVID-19 still rage on. People are having a really hard time figuring out ways to feed their families. We’ve worked to register them for programs that can offer support to families who struggle with getting food on their tables.”

Celida Soto, Hunger Policy Advocate

Celi headshot

“The pandemic protections for school feeding programs are waning, but the harsh impacts of COVID-19 still rage on. People are having a really hard time figuring out ways to feed their families. We’ve worked to register them for programs that can offer support to families who struggle with getting food on their tables.”

Celida Soto, Hunger Policy Advocate

Together we accomplished

  • Launching a community-driven produce prescription program as an outcome of community listening sessions with Medicaid members in Mobile. Fifty patients received boxes of fresh produce and ongoing opportunities for nutrition support to combat health disparities. We will continue to advocate for Medicaid to fund innovative programs like these to improve health outcomes and food security for its members.

  • Establishing the Medicaid Unwinding Public Health Emergency (PHE) task force to work with the Alabama Medicaid Agency on outreach best practices to lessen coverage losses when Medicaid’s continuous coverage requirements end.

  • Supporting the New Flyer Community Benefits Agreement, which will improve the environment for workers at the Anniston bus manufacturing facility. The agreement will add programs such as standards for hiring and promotion and on-site clinics of community and legal services to assist workers.

By the numbers

Arise’s power is in our people. We believe people experiencing poverty should be the leading voice in the development of public policies that affect their lives. Because of this core value, we are a member-led organization, and our staff organizes people across the state who are living in poverty. We also have been working to increase membership among people living in poverty, young people and BIPOC Alabamians through our newly launched gift membership program.

158 Presentations at community events
154 Member groups
235 People participating in town halls and listening sessions
1,333 Individual members
4,747 People reached by community presentations

Citizen Advocacy

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CITIZEN ADVOCACY IN ACTION

Extending postpartum Medicaid coverage

Citizen Advocacy Photo

Thanks to support from members like you, Alabama is on its way to reducing maternal mortality and improving health for families across the state. This year, lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey approved a budget that extends postpartum Medicaid coverage from only 60 days to one full year after childbirth. Alabama Arise worked in a variety of ways to help make it happen. In our Cover Alabama coalition, Arise provided extensive policy and data analysis, people power, and a place to connect. And in March, we joined with the American Heart Association, March of Dimes and American Academy of Pediatrics to hold a press conference on the State House steps calling for this extension. We are humbled that this decision came after years of hard work from partners and advocates across the state. And we plan to keep building on the momentum of this life-saving success.

CITIZEN ADVOCACY IN ACTION

Extending postpartum Medicaid coverage

Thanks to support from members like you, Alabama is on its way to reducing maternal mortality and improving health for families across the state. This year, lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey approved a budget that extends postpartum Medicaid coverage from only 60 days to one full year after childbirth. Alabama Arise worked in a variety of ways to help make it happen. In our Cover Alabama coalition, Arise provided extensive policy and data analysis, people power, and a place to connect. And in March, we joined with the American Heart Association, March of Dimes and American Academy of Pediatrics to hold a press conference on the State House steps calling for this extension. We are humbled that this decision came after years of hard work from partners and advocates across the state. And we plan to keep building on the momentum of this life-saving success.

Citizen Advocacy Photo
Jane headshot

“Before postpartum Medicaid coverage was extended to a full year, people were left without solutions. If you had a woman who was four months postpartum and struggling with severe postpartum depression, there was nowhere she could turn. Now, she has access to help.”

Jane Adams, Cover Alabama Campaign Director

Jane headshot

“Before postpartum Medicaid coverage was extended to a full year, people were left without solutions. If you had a woman who was four months postpartum and struggling with severe postpartum depression, there was nowhere she could turn. Now, she has access to help.”

Jane Adams, Cover Alabama Campaign Director

Together we accomplished

  • Expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year after childbirth for new moms. This policy change in the General Fund budget will save lives and improve post-birth maternal and infant health outcomes.

  • Achieving bipartisan support for untaxing groceries, with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers championing legislation last session. Dozens of Arise members gathered for our Untax Groceries Rally at the State House in April.

  • Improving the quality of health care by expanding Medicaid’s dental coverage for pregnant Alabamians with low incomes.

  • Adding a health policy advocate and a worker policy advocate to the Arise team. These additions will help us expand our work in consumer-centered Medicaid reform and build worker power with our partners in the labor movement.

By the numbers

Alabama Arise values connection. We connect people with their lawmakers, organizations with organizations, and neighbors with neighbors. We must actively engage and include all of us to build a better Alabama.

20 Coalitions and working groups of which Arise is a member
4,809 Calls and emails to lawmakers
72 Hunger Free Alabama coalition members
118 Cover Alabama coalition members

Financial Report

2022

July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

Total Revenue & Support

Total revenue & support..............................................$2,010,097
Grants & contracts for FY 22……………………….......…...........$1,736,976
Member giving……………...………………………………………….......$255,425
Other support......................................................................$17,696

Total revenue & support.........$2,010,097
Grants & contracts for FY 22…...$1,736,976
Member giving………….…….…......$255,425
Other support..............................$17,696

Total Expenditures

Total expenditures……………………………………………..$1,791,074
Personnel………………………………………………………………....$1,470,798
Communications……………………………………………………....$158,762
Subgrants………………………………………………………………....$65,000
Office & administrative……………………………………………..$79,384
Meetings & memberships………………………………………...$17,130

Total expenditures……………$1,791,074
Personnel…………………………....$1,470,798
Communications……….…..…....$158,762
Subgrants………………..……….....$65,000
Office & administration……....$79,384
Meetings & membership…....$17,130

Funding Partners

Foundations

The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Callaway Foundation
The Caring Foundation
Community Foundation of South Alabama
The Gratitude Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation
Ratliff Charitable Foundation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Rx Foundation
Women’s Foundation of Alabama

Organizations

Alabama Forward
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Community Catalyst | Together for Medicaid
Economic Policy Institute | EARN Southern Worker Power Project
Economic Policy Institute | Southern Mindshift Project
Institute for Policy Studies
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
No Kid Hungry
Topos | Think Big
Voices for Healthy Kids

Arise’s Leadership

Board of Directors

(July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022)

Kathy Vincent, President
Retired, Alabama Department of Public Health Montgomery, Alabama

Shakita Brooks Jones, Vice President
Executive Director, Central Alabama AIDS Resource & Advocacy Center
Wetumpka, Alabama

Gary Moore, Treasurer
Retired U.S. Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice Fairhope, Alabama

Rev. Carolyn Foster, Secretary
Faith in Community Coordinator,
Greater Birmingham Ministries
Birmingham, Alabama

Ana Delia Espino
Executive Director, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice
Baileyton, Alabama

Susan Ellis
Executive Director,
People First of Alabama
Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Rev. Clyde Jones
Associate Minister, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
Daphne, Alabama

Benga Harrison
Executive Director,
United Way Hands On
Birmingham, Alabama

Kenneth Tyrone King
Community Volunteer
Church of the Reconciler
Birmingham, Alabama

Roger McCullough
Retired CEO, Cooper Green Mercy Hospital
Birmingham, Alabama

Audrey Noel
Community Enabler Developer
Anniston, Alabama

Benard Simelton
President, Alabama State
Conference of the NAACP
Athens, Alabama

Hon. James Scott Sledge
Retired Federal Judge
Community Volunteer
Gadsden, Alabama

Judith Taylor
Community Volunteer, Grace
Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Dr. Carole Zugazaga
Chair, Auburn University Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work
Auburn, Alabama

Alabama Arise Staff

(July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022)

Robyn Hyden, Executive Director
Jim Carnes, Policy Director (retired January 2021)
Rebecca Howard, Policy and Advocacy Director
Presdelane Harris, Organizing Director
Amber Haywood, Development Director (through 2021)
Jacob Smith, Development Director (2022)
Chris Sanders, Communications Director
Jane Adams, Cover Alabama Campaign Director

McKenzie Burton, Development Associate
Carol Gundlach, Senior Policy Analyst
Jennifer Harris, Health Policy Advocate
Stan Johnson, Organizer for North Alabama
Jilisa Milton, State Policy Fellow
Mike Nicholson, Policy Analyst
Matt Okarmus, Communications Associate
Whit Sides, Story Collection Coordinator

Juliette Singleton, Office Manager
Debbie Smith, Organizer for North Alabama
Celida Soto, Hunger Policy Advocate
David Stout, Legislative Affairs Coordinator
Formeeca Tripp, Organizer for Southeast Alabama
Dev Wakeley, Worker Policy Advocate
Whitney Washington, Communications Associate

Thank you!

Your advocacy helped Alabama Arise grow our policy analysis, statewide organizing and citizen advocacy in 2022. You advanced progress toward a better state and increased dignity, equity and justice for all. All of us at Alabama Arise are grateful for your continued partnership and support.