Monday, June 30, 2014

Walmart Workers Take Action

By: James Gordon

On June 4, workers, union organizers and community members came together outside a local Miami Walmart to protest low wages and unfair working conditions. The one-day strike was part of a greater national movement targeting Walmart’s notorious mistreatment of its employees. The one-day strike earlier this month was embraced by many major cities across the U.S., including Tampa, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco according to CNN Money’s Patrick Sheridan. The demands of low-wage earning Walmart employees first captured national attention during the Black Friday strike in November of 2013. Their actions echo a growing national movement to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour as proposed by a bill backed by Obama. Walmart employees stand in solidarity with low-wage earning workers around the country, including workers in the fast food industry who have been very active in the fight to raise the federal minimum wage.

In this day and age of mass marketing, most consumers are more than familiar with Walmart’s signature slogan: “Save Money. Live Better.” However, if the recent protests are any indication, Walmart’s optimistic ideology does not seem to apply to its lower-level workers. With unfairly low wages, poor working conditions and rampant wage theft, Walmart promotes a general lack of respect for its lower-level workers. The small but passionate crowd of protestors gathered at the Miami protest earlier this month endured the rainy weather to voice their uncompromising demands for respect from the company they loyally serve. According to a report by CNN Money, a spokesperson for Walmart recently attributed the low worker turnout at many of these protests to the notion that the majority of Walmart workers are happy and content with current working conditions. The resonating counterargument at the Miami protest, however, was that many workers failed to support the protests out of fear of retaliation. A few of the Walmart employees present even claimed to have been fired or punished in the past as a result of participating in previous protests. With unfavorable working conditions and wages as low as their prices, Walmart is certainly not helping its employees to “live better.”


By: James Gordon

On Wednesday morning, representatives from various Community Based Organizations (CBOs) from all over Miami gathered before the Miami-Dade County Finance Committee to make a case against impending funding cuts. In accordance with Florida law, each representative was given a total of one minute to defend the value of their respective organizations and make a plea for continued funding. Though the many CBOs present were varied in their causes and missions, they were united in their message; the work that CBOs do is vital to creating a more equitable and thriving community and continued funding is essential to making their missions possible.
The various CBOs in attendance made their statements in response to a letter sent out on June 20th by Commissioner Dennis Moss in which he warned of coming budget cuts. In his letter, Moss suggests that the prevailing attitude towards CBOs is generally negative.  He goes on to suggest that the supposed poor performance of some organizations “leaves the impression that the county is wasting money funding [these] groups,” thus making them more vulnerable to budget cuts. He concludes his letter by urging CBOs to attend Wednesday’s meeting in order to advocate for themselves and shift the tone of the conversation in their favor.
So now, in addition to the transformative and meaningful work that they do despite scarce funding and limited resources, these groups must come before a committee to defend the value of their work and essentially beg for continued funding. The many CBOs present at Wednesday’s meeting represented a large range of important and pressing causes, including poverty, accessible healthcare, education and elder care. One by one, the CBO representatives stood before Chairman Esteban Bovo, each making a rushed argument against the proposed budget cuts. The overarching message was clear: the committee should be very careful not to undervalue the work that these CBOs do. Though budget cuts may prove an unfortunate reality in this time of limited funding, our commissioners must make their difficult decisions with respect for the incredible work being done to better our community and an awareness of the impact that their actions will have on the citizens they were elected to represent. As one CBO representative notably pleaded, the committee must make these cuts with a scalpel, not a butcher knife.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fast Food Workers Rise

By: James Gordon

On May 15, protestors in Miami gathered around a local McDonald’s and Wendy’s to partake in a nationwide strike in support of higher pay and fairer working conditions for fast food workers. The one-day strike was part of a rapidly growing campaign that is gaining both national and international traction, with 150 U.S. cities and 30 countries having partaken in walkout according to Salon’s Josh Eidelson.  Since the fast food industry saw its first significant worker strike in New York City in November of 2012, the demands of the campaign have been consistent and uncompromising, calling for an increase in the minimum pay to $15 per hour and the right to unionize without retaliation.
With a struggling economy and a highly competitive job market, more and more workers are turning towards the fast food industry for employment in order to support themselves and their families. As the demographic amongst fast food workers shifts, the industry must be able to accommodate and meet the changing needs of its workers. A report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research reveals that that the majority of fast food workers are in fact 25 years or older—not teenaged high school students as common misperception might hold.  Furthermore, of the percentage of non-teenaged workers, about 85 percent of them hold at least a high school degree. The pay range for the large majority of these workers falls between the federal minimum wage of $7.15 per hour and $10.10 per hour. For a fast food worker working full-time, the lower end of this pay range puts them just above the poverty line of $11,670 as determined by the Office of the Assistant for Planning and Evaluation. However, one must keep in mind that this guideline is the standard for single person households while more than a third of workers over the age of 20 are raising at least one child. If the minimum pay increases to $15 per hour, a full-time employee would make about $30,000 per year. There is a great disparity between the current average wage being earned, the wage workers are advocating for, and the wage they should be earning—$22 an hour— had the minimum wage adjusted to meet inflation. This discrepancy underscores just how necessary a minimum wage increase is, and how it is still far from where it should be for it to fully meet the financial realities of today’s workers.
To the satisfaction of many supporters of raising the minimum wage, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson appears to have heard his workers’ call for change. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, Thompson recently announced during a talk at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management last month that he would support a bill backed by President Obama that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. This bold and promising statement by Thompson marks a huge victory for fast food workers, signifying that their voices are being heard. Though $10.10 is not quite the $15 being demanded by our fast food workers, it is certainly a step in the right direction towards promoting economic equality and financial sustainability for our workers.

Monday, June 16, 2014

NCRC documentary "Fleeced: Speaking Out Against Senior Financial Fraud" receives a regional Emmy award

Catalyst Miami would like to congratulate our partner, National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), and everyone involved in producing the award-winning documentary Fleeced: Speaking Out Against Senior Financial Fraud. Special recognition goes to Kim Jacobs, the multi Emmy award winning producer of Fleeced, and Clayton Taylor, Executive Producer of WFYI Productions.

Fleeced received a regional Emmy award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Science of the  Lower Great Lakes Regional Chapter last Saturday, June 7th.  Fleeced was  awarded the Emmy in the category Public/Current/ and Community Affairs, and beat out six other finalists.  The link for the announcement is http:/// The Fleeced distribution policy and process will be released shortly.  

Fleeced: Speaking Out Against Senior Financial Abuse reveals what can happen to older adults when they are targeted for scams and abusive financial products. This documentary collaboration from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and WFYI Public Media, funded with generous support from the Atlantic Philanthropies, presents real stories about the financial abuse of older adults. The film also reveals how they are fighting back, and becoming powerful advocates for themselves and others to help change the current landscape of economic security for older Americans.
Presented by:

Friday, June 13, 2014

NVPUSA Healthcare - Help Undocumented Children Today

NVPUSA Healthcare
Help Undocumented Children Today, Make $4400.00 -$7400 per month!!!!

NVPUSA Healthcare is hiring for the immediate temporary placement of a 30-day contract to work in Baltimore Maryland: Call: 866-305-7365 and leave a message.
· NVPUSA needs your help assisting undocumented children who have been placed in FEMA Federal Holding Facilities.
· If you are hired, you will immediately relocate to Baltimore between June 10th - 16th.
· Room and Board will be provided during this period of time.
· Transportation cost (by plane) will be provided.

Positions Available:

Counselors: Clinicians to conduct mental health assessments for all children in care as well as provide ongoing individual and group counseling, screening for human trafficking concerns, and crisis intervention. Bachelor's degree in psychology, sociology, or other relevant behavioral science.

Location: In an emergency center
· Pay Rate: $20.00hr - $30.00hr ($5500 – $7400 for one month of work)
· This is a 1099 contracted position
· Location: In an emergency center, clinicians work from 8:00am-8:00pm
· Spanish language proficiency

Case Managers: Coordinate case management and family reunification services for children.  Bachelor's degree in psychology, sociology, or other relevant behavioral science.
· Pay Rate: $20.00hr - $30.00hr  ($5500 – $7400 for one month of work)
· This is a 1099 contracted position
· Location: In an emergency center, clinicians work from 8:00am-8:00pm
· Spanish language proficiency

Educators:  Provide educational instruction to children using provided curriculum and worksheets. Assist children with language acquisition, basic math and reading skills, and art projects. Maintain educational files for children. Education Instructors working during the day time and provide six hours of education each day, five days a week. 
· Pay Rate: $25.00hr - $30.00hr ($4400.00 for one month of work
· This is a 1099 contracted position
· Location:  In an emergency center, classes are part of the daily structure of the facility and subject to change on a daily basis. 
· Classes are between 9:00am and 4:00pm Monday - Friday.  Education Instructors may require planning and follow-up time as needed.
- Spanish language proficiency

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Groups Release Information to Help Immigrant Students Take Advantage of New College Tuition Law

June 10, 2014

Apreill Hartsfield, Southern Poverty Law Center, (334) 782-6624;

Natalia Jaramillo, Florida Immigrant Coalition, (786) 317-3524;

Groups Release Information to Help Immigrant Students
Take Advantage of New College Tuition Law
MIAMI – The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Florida Immigrant Coalition released information today that will help immigrant students take full advantage of a new state law that makes them eligible for in-state college tuition rates even if they were brought to the United States without papers.

Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott signed H.B. 851 into law, making the dream of a college education closer to reality for these rising entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders. Students who believe they may benefit from the law are urged to find more information about the requirements by visiting the websites of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) or the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC).

“Rather than punish them for something beyond their control, Florida has chosen to help these students become integrated members of our communities and better contribute to our state’s thriving economy,” said Manoj Govindaiah, an SPLC staff attorney. “We want to be sure these students have the tools they need to take full advantage of the law’s benefits.”

The information includes guidance about how and when the law applies, along with answers to other frequently asked questions.

“Expanding access to college is a win-win for Florida’s families and our economy. Young people can now, not only dream about what they can become, but actually have a chance at achieving it. After spending years fighting anti-immigrant bills, we welcome this change. It is good to see leadership recognize the value of our current and potential contributions as immigrants in Florida” said Maria Rodriguez, of Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC).

The SPLC has long championed the rights of immigrant students across the Deep South by challenging policies that needlessly punish them for being brought to the United States as children.

In Florida, an SPLC lawsuit blocked a policy that forced the children of undocumented immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition rates even when they were U.S. citizens born and raised in the state. A federal judge found in 2012 that the policy violated the U.S. Constitution, clearing the way for these students to attend college at affordable rates. H.B. 851 further expands meaningful access to Florida’s colleges and universities to immigrant students, allowing them to reach their full potential, and allowing Florida to benefit from these students’ ingenuity and creativity. The SPLC also helped students in other states and blocked policies targeting children of undocumented immigrants in Alabama and South Carolina.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition has been instrumental in investing and emboldening young immigrants known as Dreamers. FLIC began its fight for tuition equity over a decade ago.  As recently as 2011, FLIC successfully pushed back against anti-immigrant legislation.  After supporting the implementation of the bill to insure its full utilization, the organization will set its sights on ensuring that all Floridians have equal access to driver’s licenses, regardless of status.

The groups plan to reach out to students across the state who may be eligible for in-state tuition rates. A copy of the materials can be viewed at


We moved! Please note the new address below.

Francesca Menes | Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Coordinator, Florida Wage Theft Task Force
Florida Immigrant Coalition, Inc. (FLIC) 
2800 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 800, Miami, FL 33137
For the Fair Treatment of Everyone |

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“A message from the D.C. area nonprofit community” - The Washington Post, May 25

“A message from the D.C. area nonprofit community”
The Washington Post - Published: May 25
The below signatories are executives of Washington DC area nonprofits representing social service, advocacy, and sector infrastructure organizations.
The views expressed in this letter do not represent official positions of individual organizations, but rather a shared perspective of the sector.

Several months ago, we convened for the first time as a group of regional nonprofit leaders. Our intent was to exchange mutual support and ideas in the service of the social missions that we represent and about which we care deeply. What we found in each other’s company was far more profound and challenging than we expected.

In this year when we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s well-known speech and recalling his exhortation to create and nurture a “beloved community,” and in this time when we are so starkly aware of income inequality and its effects, we found ourselves compelled to speak out publicly.

With the extreme proliferation of nonprofits over the past three decades, we are acutely aware of one central idea: All of us with a social mission were created with the intent to put ourselves out of business. But how far have we really come? How much have we actually achieved? What could we do differently to advance our shared purposes?

We represent organizations that address everything from homelessness to racial equity to education, health care and beyond. What we desire for D.C. and our region is extremely bold and entirely uncomplicated.

We envision a community where everyone — regardless of race, class, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability or any other status — has equal access to education, health care, housing, safety, civic participation, employment, income and dignity. We envision a community characterized by compassion and informed by the impulse of love.

In the service of this shared vision, we are asking ourselves some critical and difficult questions. For all of you who participate in the philanthropic life of our region, we respectfully request that you join us by asking yourselves these questions as well:

Are we willing to address fundamental causes and advocate for change beyond our organizations’ issue interests?

Can we be completely open to new ideas such as merger, acquisition, consolidation, closure or partnership if and when they are better vehicles for promoting our vision and missions?

Can we deepen our commitment to empowering individuals, families and communities by permitting greater self-determination and control of resources and programs?

Are we willing to change our sector’s name? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to call our nonprofit community the “Social Profits” sector since collectively we are creating “social value”?

What would it take to finally change our very own mind-sets — and that of our employees, volunteers, public and private funders, individual donors and contributors — from the notion of “charity” to the notion of “investment”?
Are we willing to take the radical step of demanding that our sector report on how and where the notion of “love and compassion” fits into our work?

We know that our sector has significant influence and capacity in our communities. Just consider the size, scale and impact of the 13 mission-driven organizations that we lead every day. Though they comprise less than 1 percent of all nonprofit groups in the metropolitan D.C. area, our organizations provide direct service to more than 32,500 individuals, advocacy for social justice for more than 600,000 residents, and policy and technical assistance for hundreds of nonprofit groups. If our groups were incorporated as a single for-profit business, the company would be considered a major employer with more than 1,400 employees (a workforce larger than Wal-Mart’s or Starbucks’ operations in D.C.), 5,100 volunteers and nearly $108 million in total revenue. We operate 54 program sites in the region and participate in more than 235 partnerships and collaborations.

Why should you, public and private funders, corporations and foundations, and individual donors invest in the Washington region’s “social profit” sector?

First, the business case for such investment is quite clear and measurable. Investing in education, health care, housing and other community services leads to direct savings for governments and taxpayers (fewer social services required) and greater revenue (high-functioning citizens contribute more taxes).

Second and more important, as individual members of a community, we have an inherent responsibility — a social compact, if you will — to one another. Whether we are motivated by faith, compassion, or other personal reason, we are all part of something larger than ourselves. We call that community and strive for equality, justice and inclusion in the life of such community.

We provide. We advocate. We matter. We are working on behalf of a better and more “beloved” community. We aim to be true to the ultimate intent of our missions and fearless in our willingness to change or adapt as we seek to “put ourselves out of business.”

Don Blanchon, executive director, Whitman-Walker Health ●Jack McCarthy, chief executive, AppleTree Institute ● Julie Chapman, chief executive, 501c TECH ● Julie Meyer, executive director, Next Step Public Charter School ● Kim Perry, executive director, DC Vote ● Lecester Johnson, executive director, Academy of Hope ● Russ Snyder, chief executive, Volunteers of America Chesapeake ● Schroeder Stribling, executive director, N-Street Village ● Scott Schenkelberg,chief executive, Miriam’s Kitchen ● Suzanne LaPorte, president, Compass ●Tamara Smith, executive director, YWCA National Capital Area ● Diana Leon-Taylor, chief executive, Nonprofit Roundtable ● Glenn O’Gilvie, chief executive, Center for Nonprofit Advancement ● Heather Kaye, founder, Leadership Sanctuary

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Audubon Society Petitions Against Filling Biscayne Bay for MLS Soccer Stadium

The Audubon Society recommend the following steps six action steps be taken today to prevent filling in the Biscayne Bay slip for use as a soccer stadium. 
Mayor Gimenez recently offered David Beckham the FEC boat slip on Biscayne Bay as an Alternative Site for his proposed soccer stadium. This site is now preferred site for the MLS Soccer Stadium.

Having soccer is great for Miami, however we shouldn't have to fill the bay to play professional soccer. We need to better protect public land over private interests! Help us preserve the bay for future generations!

There are six simple ways you can help:

1)  Sign the Petition  to "Stop the Proposed Building of an MLS Soccer Stadium on Biscayne Blvd at Museum Park," directed at County Mayor Gimenez, City Mayor Regalado and District Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.

2) Email and call the  Miami City Commissioners

3) Email and call County  Mayor Gimenez and City of Miami  Mayor Regalado, and urge them to choose a stadium site that does not require filling Biscayne Bay!
4) Occupy Museum Park on June 14th by utilizing it as a public space: enjoying picnicking, kayaking, boating, etc by the boat slip.  

5) Sign up for the Biscayne Bay Coalition and amplify the voice of the bay! For more information, please contact Biscayne Bay Coalition Coordinator Susan Shapiro 

6) Vote NO on filling the deepwater FEC Boat Slip to build a soccer stadium at the upcoming Elections!  
Watch TAS's Executive Director comment on this issue on Channel 7 News . Please  read our talking points and our letteron the latest proposed soccer stadium site. 

Link to Tropical Audubon Society E-Blast