Our guest blogger Richard Napolitano speaks to the importance of grassroots advocacy for health centers. Mr. Napolitano is the Senior Vice President, External Relations/Chief Development Officer at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) in Methuen, Massachusetts.
In the past, I have written about communicating effectively so others understand the importance of “storytelling the mission” for nonprofits. In the work we do to advance the mission of our Health Center and the Community Health Center movement, these have both been very valuable but we are finding that our involvement in true Grassroots Advocacy is proving to be just as important in our efforts to increase awareness about the worthiness of what we do in expanding the access to quality healthcare for people locally and nationally.
Grassroots advocacy is not just a buzzword or recent catch-phrase for the activists amongst us. Done effectively and consistently, it is an art form – and one that can be quite impactful for an organization or cause hoping to gain the support it needs. Our organization, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, has made a deeper commitment to advocacy work (and the Health Center Movement) across the country and it’s paying off, resulting in increased awareness and support throughout our community and amongst our patients, staff, volunteer leaders, and legislative delegation.
With the new administration in Washington arriving next week and the potential changes in the healthcare arena, our advocacy work at both the state and federal levels will be more important than ever. As we already know, 2017 will be a critical year for healthcare and our nation’s community health centers. The 115th Congress has just begun, and already fundamental changes, that could greatly impact the work of health centers, are being debated
Congress is planning to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act and make significant changes to Medicaid, all while they still need to address a looming 70% cut to the Health Centers Program before funding expires September 30, 2017. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, every Member of Congress needs to hear from their constituents back home on the value and impact of health centers. It’s critical that our Members of Congress work closely with us to protect and strengthen the healthcare system for health centers and their patients in the midst of any changes to come.
Over 25 million patients currently served by Community Health Centers and many more who could be served are counting on us, so start 2017 off right by taking this easy action step to deliver the Health Center message to Congress and strengthen your advocacy capacity.
Just click this link and a letter will be sent to your local member of Congress.