Invest in 2012 – Invest in the Bell
(Similar email sent Dec. 27, 2011)
Looking back at 2011, we are proud of the Bell's many accomplishments – successes you helped make possible.
But looking to 2012, we know there are great challenges ahead. I hope I can count on your continued investment in the Bell's work to keep us as strong as possible.
In 2011, the Bell produced solid research, strategy and public education about why fiscal reform is so vital to expanding Opportunity for Coloradans.
- The Bell's Colorado's Budget: In Plain Talk video and In Plain Talk Tool Kit helped many communities across the state start serious fiscal reform conversations. We reached tens of thousands of Coloradans with these materials as well as in-depth video discussion guides, Train-the-Trainer and visual presentations, FAQs and comprehensive reference tools.
- Our aggressive e-communications, Plain Talk on Colorado's Budget, were widely read and garnered scores of thoughtful responses. We broke down the budget into bite-sized pieces – how we got here, why the budget is shrinking, the cost of K-12 education, higher education and transportation. Our plan is to continue these thought-provoking communications throughout 2012.
But even with strong progressive support, the defeat of Proposition 103 shows us just how much work remains. We all need to invest more in public awareness, strategy and community-building in order to restore fiscal sanity to Colorado.
In 2011, the Bell helped protect access to and affordability of higher education so that more Coloradans have a chance to succeed.
- The Bell was a leading voice in protecting state funding for need-based financial aid in a year when the legislature cut $125 million, or about 20 percent, from higher education.
- We produced research on how best to expand access to adult education and training programs; raise the educational attainment and skill levels of low-wage workers; and bolster career pathways and bridge programs that boost student success. We worked with Colorado's Department of Education to help refocus the Adult Basic Education Program to better address these best practices.
But in 2012 we face the possibility of further cuts to our colleges and universities and to need-based financial aid and work-study programs.
In 2011, the Bell defended and helped strengthen policies that assist low-wage workers and protect opportunities for these struggling Coloradans:
- The Bell Policy Center was a member of a broad, bipartisan work group that developed recommendations for reforming our unemployment insurance system. We researched and testified in support of the legislation to return the trust fund to solvency sooner and maintain solvency well into the future.
- We successfully defeated legislation supported by the payday lending industry to repeal key provisions of our 2010 payday lending reforms. We estimate these reforms are saving payday borrowers, most of whom are low-income workers, as much as $52 million annually.
But we expect payday lenders will be back during the 2012 legislative session armed with millions of dollars in lobbyists and media resources.
In 2011, the Bell provided expert policy analysis and education to support health care reform as a critical component of Opportunity for Coloradans:
- The Bell's health policy strategy is directly tied to the success of national health care reforms in Colorado. We work individually and with our coalition partners to help ensure reforms are implemented effectively and on time. We use our research and policy expertise to advocate for positive legislation and then oppose regulations or legislation that will limit reform. Then we deliver substantial public education across the state and engage the media whenever possible.
- We also research and write the Straight Talk on Health Care Reform series of e-communications. We have produced 23 installments on topics ranging from insurance rate review and hospital provider fees to the individual mandate and health care compacts.
But there are large, well-funded threats to health care reform right here in Colorado. The Bell and its partners need to continue to lead a strong defense of this most critical reform.
As you know, our work never stops. And we know your concern for Colorado is endless. So we ask you to please join us in helping make Colorado a state of opportunity for all.
We appreciate any and all support you can offer.
With our thanks,
P.S. – The benefits of contributing directly from your IRA are allowable until December 31st, 2011. Contact your IRA administrator for more information. The Bell's federal tax id is 84-1550841