By: Lidsey Reynolds, NACHC Field Representative
Ohio’s Health Centers are celebrating this week as the state’s legislature has finally passed a state budget with no cut in Health Center funding. During budget negotiations, Governor Strickland had proposed slashing state funding to the Health Center program by 81%. Once they found out, Health Center advocates immediately kicked into high gear and sent over 1,000 individual letters and emails to statehouse leadership and the Governor asking for Health Center funding to be maintained at the House and Senate passed level.
On Monday July 13, state house leaders agreed with advocates and kept Health Center funding at the previously passed level.
This example of grassroots advocacy success was keyed by letters and emails that were personalized with individual stories. The majority of messages sent to the elected officials included stories from Health Center staff and patients, telling why their Health Center was important to them and their community.
Advocates also used some “new” tools, including Facebook, to share their Call to Action with friends, “fans”, and other community supporters, thus growing Ohio’s Health Center Advocacy movement and reaching outside our traditional supporters.
The entire effort was a true testament to the power of grassroots advocacy. Elected officials need to hear from the individuals in local communities who are directly affected by state and/or federal funding – so make your voice heard! IT WORKS.