The Inclusive Economy
CFED's Commitment to Equity and Opportunity in a New Political Environment
By Leigh Tivol on 12/01/2016 @ 01:00 PM
It’s hard to believe that it’s been just a few weeks since the election—the dust is still settling, and a tremendous amount of uncertainty remains. Nonetheless, we’re moving as nimbly and decisively as we can to chart the course forward with the information we have so far. Just before Thanksgiving, CFED organized a Town Hall meeting for the field to share our latest thinking and to hear from our key stakeholders about their own ideas. More than 600 people registered for the Town Hall, which generated a flurry of insightful questions and ideas. We thank all those who joined us. If you weren’t able to participate, here are some of the highlights from that conversation.
Some of you have asked, “How do the election outcomes change the work of CFED and the field?” The short answer is that our mission and goals don’t change one bit. We are still driven by our charge to help millions of people achieve financial security and contribute to an opportunity economy for all. We still scale innovative practical solutions that empower low- and moderate-income people to build wealth. We still drive responsive policy change at all levels of government. We still support the efforts of community leaders across the country to advance economic opportunity for all. And through all of that, we still retain our special focus on equity for communities of color.
So our mission doesn’t change. But our tactics and our expectations for the near term do. They change:
- Through the way we approach our federal policy strategy.
- By doubling down on our state and local policy efforts, hand-in-hand with many of you.
- By forging a new level of collaboration among our existing partners, and by developing new partnerships that amplify our shared messages and goals and allow us to extend the reach of our ideas to new audiences.
- Through continuing our deep connections with all of you across the country, understanding what’s happening in your communities, and ensuring that you have the support and resources you need to continue your work in this fast-changing environment.
As you are well aware, there is no shortage of critically important social and economic issues to grapple with over the next few years. Much of our work will necessarily focus on shielding the organizations and people we care about and the gains we’ve made. Our task will be to sharpen our focus on those issues, decisions and opportunities where we as an organization and as a field can leverage our expertise, power and resources to achieve the greatest impact.
Naturally, our federal policy strategy is central to all of this. The morning after the election, our Government Affairs team got to work. They have crafted an approach that is both pragmatic and bold, and that acknowledges the realities of the new political environment while also driving us to take a strong stand. Our overall goal is to limit the damage to low- and moderate-income households, and to position CFED to advance our own policy priorities in 2-4 years. Here’s how:
Our Focus: We will aggressively fight federal proposals that would harm low- and moderate-income households, and narrow our focus to four areas of greatest impact: programs for low-income households like AFI and VITA, flipping the upside-down tax code, consumer protections and homeownership. This doesn’t mean that we won’t still work on other issues—we will continue to take a leadership role in some issue areas, and play a supportive role in others—but our primary focus will be on these four areas.
Our Activities: To execute this strategy, we will redouble our efforts to galvanize our network members and build new national partnerships, strengthen and expand key congressional relationships, and spread word far and wide about our key federal policy priorities.
To advance these policy and partnership strategies in the weeks and months to come, we will need the help of every person reading this message. Here’s how you can lend a hand: This month, CFED will be hosting a set of virtual Regional Listening Sessions to allow our partners and stakeholders across the country to talk together in smaller groups about what’s happening nationally, regionally and locally. These will be informal calls that will be facilitated by members of our Assets & Opportunity Network Steering Committee. They are open to all interested stakeholders. Stay tuned for more information about the Listening Session in your region.
Thank you for your continued partnership as we begin this journey forward. It will be a long road, but we will travel it together—and for that, all of us at CFED are grateful.