2021 was an eventful year for all of us. From surviving the first wave of the COVID-19 virus, its aftermath and the first round of vaccines, to completing our first fully-remote legislative session, to welcoming 3 new staff members to our team, effectively growing the power and capacity of our Medicaid expansion campaign, your support enabled us to step up and meet this moment. Together, we ensured that people suffering because of poverty got the help they needed to find relief with more resources and support including cash assistance, food assistance, access to health care and COVID-19 relief.
Together, we’re building power and easing suffering
By Robyn Hyden, executive director
The year 2020 has been a time of dramatic, world-shaking transformations. But with your support, Alabama Arise has sustained and strengthened our movement for change. From the COVID-19 pandemic to racial justice protests, from the Alabama Legislature to the halls of Congress and to the streets, Arise has stood ready and willing to speak out for dignity, equity and justice. And your membership and your engagement have made it all possible.
And then came COVID-19, which ground the session to a halt. In mid-March, Arise staff moved to an all-remote workplace. Membership meetings and presentations moved online. One-on-one meetings and listening sessions moved to Zoom. And our policy, advocacy, organizing and communications efforts ramped up to meet the moment.
We’re grateful for your advocacy, membership and support. Together, we’ll endure these challenging times and continue our fight for dignity, equity and justice for all Alabamians.
Arise by the numbers
1,703 individual members
158 member groups
145 staff presentations across Alabama and the United States
20,232 people heard about Arise’s work via staff presentations
21,533 people reached with information about the 2020 U.S. Census
94 partner organizations in the Cover Alabama Coalition, launched in April
150 elected officials received our Medicaid Matters report in June
10,065 subscribers to Arise’s email list
4,092 calls and emails to policymakers generated through June 30, 2020
29 news releases, advisories and op-eds
90 blog posts, fact sheets, newsletters, reports, videos and other publications
600+ media appearances
7,082 Facebook likes
4,181 Twitter followers
We’re changing Alabama together!
Alabama Arise thanks you and every other individual, member group, business, foundation and organization that supported our work between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. (Alabama Arise Action, our sister organization, will report its donors separately.)
Click here or click the “Download” button above to see Alabama Arise’s full FY 2020 donor list and financial report.
Alabama Arise saw plenty of change last year: a new executive director, new communications tools, even a new name. But what hasn’t changed is our passion for building a more inclusive Alabama with justice and opportunity for everyone. With your support, we’ve smashed previous membership records, defended past policy gains and laid groundwork for future breakthroughs.
One big change came in July 2018, when former Arise organizer Robyn Hyden succeeded long-time executive director Kimble Forrister. We honored Kimble’s 27 years of service at a retirement dinner in October. And generous contributions to the Kimble Forrister Legacy Fund ensure his impact on Arise will endure for years to come.
We rebranded, too. In November, the organization formerly known as Arise Citizens’ Policy Project adopted a new logo and a more recognizable name: Alabama Arise. (Our sister group, formerly known as Alabama Arise, is now Alabama Arise Action.)
We launched a new website. It’s easier to navigate and easier to use on mobile devices. And it includes a blog, an events calendar, a searchable Bills of Interest database and other features to help you stay connected with our work. We expanded our digital outreach in other ways as well, keeping you informed with weekly videos and email newsletters throughout the legislative session.
We renewed and strengthened our shared dedication to racial justice. With guidance from consultant Natilee McGruder, our board and staff developed an organizational statement on racial equity and inclusion in May. We’re committed to the ongoing process of ensuring our work reflects these principles.
Building momentum for the future
You continue to amplify our calls for a brighter future. You packed out the State House’s largest room for Legislative Day. Then you provided the sense of urgency that lawmakers needed to pass a bill creating a civil asset forfeiture database late in the 2019 session. You sustained our efforts to untax groceries and expand Medicaid. And you flooded federal and state officials with emails and calls, demanding that they abandon efforts to impose harmful new limits on Medicaid, SNAP and other programs that help struggling Alabamians make ends meet.
We’re grateful for your advocacy, membership and support of Arise. And we look forward to continuing to build a better Alabama together.
Arise by the numbers
1,720 individual members
148 member groups
25% growth in individual membership since FY 2018
30% increase in individual giving over FY 2018
169 organizing meetings across Alabama
3,500+ people engaged at organizing meetings
5,694 subscribers to Arise’s email list
694 calls and emails to the governor and state lawmakers generated during the 2019 legislative session
20 fact sheets and newsletters
41 blog posts
24 news releases, advisories and op-eds
280+ media appearances
6,047 Facebook likes
3,550+ Twitter followers
We’re changing Alabama together!
Alabama Arise thanks you and all of the individuals, member groups, businesses, foundations and organizations that supported our work between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. (Our sister organization, Alabama Arise Action, will report its donors separately.)
Click here or click the “Download” button above to see Alabama Arise’s full FY 2019 donor list and financial report.
Change and persistence. Those two words, perhaps more than any others, capture the essence of Arise’s work. Sweeping change – the realization of our vision for a state where everyone has a voice and a chance to get ahead – is our ultimate goal. Dogged persistence – the years and decades that our members selflessly devote to grassroots advocacy – is how we seek to make that goal a reality.
Arise members opened 2017-18 by fighting to protect the Affordable Care Act and closed the year by saying goodbye to longtime executive director Kimble Forrister, who retired after 27 years at the helm. In between, we pushed hard against proposals to cut Medicaid for thousands of Alabama parents living in deep poverty and enjoyed important breakthroughs in our efforts to protect SNAP food assistance for struggling families and promote state funding for public transportation. We also welcomed two new organizers, a new policy analyst and a new communications associate.
With our members’ advocacy and support, we’re building a movement for a future with opportunity for all and poverty for none. It’s needed change – and with your help, Arise will be persistent in working for it.
Despite it all, we stand tall. The last year has been difficult, but with your help, we survived and thrived. Arise always prefers to focus on proactive policies to reduce poverty and promote inclusion. But a tough political landscape forced us to spend much of 2016-17 playing defense. We needed Arise members to step up in a big way – and you did it in a big way. You helped block deep Medicaid cuts and stop repeal of the Affordable Care Act. You helped push a bill to end judicial override in Alabama death penalty cases across the finish line. And you once again helped Arise set new records for individual membership and giving. We’ve weathered lots of storms this year, and thanks to you, our movement for change has stayed strong.
We’ll keep moving forward. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” With those words, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that change does not always happen overnight, and that progress does not always move in a straight line. But history has shown, time and again, that when advocates with a vision for a brighter future keep speaking out and keep on believing, their efforts pay off in a better world. Building a better Alabama for all is important, long-term work, and Arise members like you are playing a crucial role in carrying that work forward.
Together, we’re getting results. The pace of change can feel frustratingly slow at times. But 2015 was not one of those times. Several breakthroughs brought us closer to the day when the shared vision we’ve worked toward for so long – a state where everyone has a voice and a chance to get ahead – moves from dream to reality. This year, we saw the beginning of a statewide payday loan database and the end of Alabama’s lifetime SNAP and TANF ban for people with a felony drug conviction. Your determination has fueled big wins for low-income Alabamians, and together, we’re poised to enjoy even more victories in the years to come.
You have a vision for a better Alabama for all – and you’re not alone. Across the state and across the country, thousands of you have banded together – as individuals, as members of your churches or community groups – to work toward a more inclusive Alabama. We all share a goal: a state where everyone has a chance to lead a happy and productive life, where everyone has a voice in the policymaking process, where everyone works to promote the common good. It’s a bold vision for a brighter future. Together, we’re making it a reality.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Great accomplishments require time and persistence. However small the things we do today may seem, they can play a huge role in shaping the tomorrow that future generations will know. ACPP members have long understood the value of building toward the long term. Their support has helped ACPP rise from the grass roots to become a trusted, reliable voice in meeting halls and news media across the state. And their ongoing work to keep the interests of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors at the forefront of the public debate is laying a foundation for a stronger Alabama for everyone.