Annual Report 2020

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.

Alabama Arise staff meeting remotely via Zoom in summer 2020
All Alabama Arise staff members have worked remotely since mid-March 2020. This is a screenshot from a meeting held via Zoom this summer.

Last fall, Arise members voted to reaffirm our commitments on tax reform, fair lending and criminal justice reform. You also expanded our focus on voting rights. We saw early progress on several of those issues as the 2020 regular session began. You packed out the State House’s largest room for our Legislative Day in February. That energy paved the way for a Senate committee hearing on a bill to remove the state grocery tax.

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.

Continuing to build toward a better Alabama

Together, we made the case for Medicaid expansion to equip Alabama to fight COVID-19 and help our neighbors amid record unemployment. In mid-April, Arise staffed and supported the launch of the Cover Alabama Coalition, which now has nearly 100 partner groups. And in June, we published Medicaid Matters, a comprehensive report on the economic and humanitarian benefits of expansion. We also held Town Hall Tuesdays, a series of online summer listening sessions on a range of topics. And we raised our collective voices to support protests and calls for racial and social justice.

You continue to amplify our work for a brighter future. You’ve flooded federal and state officials with emails and calls demanding adequate COVID-19 relief. You successfully urged Alabama Medicaid, DHR, the Department of Education and the USDA to pass reforms to get resources more quickly into the hands of those who needed them. And you circulated our guide to getting help during the pandemic to those who needed it.

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.

Click here to see our current list of member groups.

Annual Report 2019

Our movement for change keeps gaining strength

By Chris Sanders, communications director

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.

Click here to see our current list of member groups.

Annual Report 2018

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.

Annual Report 2017

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.

Annual Report 2016

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.

Annual Report 2015

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.

Annual Report 2014

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.

Annual Report 2013

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.