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KENTUCKIANS FOR

THE

COMMONWEALTH ANNUAL

2016 REPORT


WHO WE ARE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KENTUCKIANS FOR THE COMMONWEALTH

4 KFTC by the Numbers

is a community of more than 11,000 people, inspired

5 Letter from the Chair

by a vision, building New Power and a better future for all of us. Together, we organize for a fair economy, a safe environment, fairness and equality, and a healthy democracy. We have 14 chapters and members in 105 Kentucky counties.

7 Tax reform and Kentucky Together Restoration of Voting Rights 8 Pipeline fights across the state Stream Protection Rule 11 Empower Kentucky RECLAIM Act

WE HAVE A VISION We are working for a day when Kentuckians—and all people—enjoy a better quality of life. When the lives of people and communities matter before profits. When our communities have good jobs that support our families without doing damage to the water, air, and land. When companies and the wealthy pay their share of taxes and can’t buy elections. When all people have health care, shelter, food, education, and other basic needs. When children are listened to and valued. When discrimination is wiped out of our

12 Holding elected leaders accountable Supporting good candidates 15 Protecting healthcare gains Statewide renters’ rights 16 Inter-generational organizing Big Topics for Little Ears Supporting youth-led organizations 19 New racial justice committee Deep canvassing 20 Empowering Voters We Are Kentuckians rally 22 Primary strategies 23 Looking ahead: 2017

laws, habits, and hearts. And when the voices of ordinary people are heard and respected in our democracy. 3


KFTC

$

$508,161

52,257

22,035

$

people reached with our New Power PAC Facebook ads

total grassroots donations in 2016

people who like KFTC on Facebook

11,000 KFTC members

$

683

members who are Sustaining Givers

40

PowerBuilders who helped win members and donations

4

BY THE NUMBERS

10,000

signatures collected in support of the RECLAIM Act

386

$

number of donations through PowerBuilder pages

1

$16,416

donations made through Powerbuilder pages

1,200

people engaged through the Empower Kentucky process

250

adults and children at the statewide annual meeting

new social media platform: Instagram @kentuckiansforthecommonwealth


LETTER FROM THE CHAIR In 2016, KFTC celebrated our 35th anniversary. After starting with a few dozen folks in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, we have grown to a vibrant and diverse organization of over eleven thousand members across the state. Over the course of our thirty-five years, we have seen many changes in our state. The people, the landscape, the elected leaders, and more have changed in that time but our approach to change has not. We are still a community of people, inspired by a vision, working for a brighter future for all Kentuckians. In the past year, we have seen our share of challenges to our vision: the overturning of local minimum wage ordinances by the state Supreme Court, legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan, and the flipping of our state legislature in the last election, to name a few.

ELIZABETH SANDERS

But at every opportunity, we have dug further into our work to advance toward KFTC CHAIRPERSON our vision. We have experimented with new strategies, developed more leaders and reached new constituencies, empowered and educated voters, worked to hold elected leaders accountable, and communicated a vision of what’s possible. We held a series of dinners in all six congressional districts that – along with online surveys, in-person interviews, and a fall summit – engaged over 1,200 in a process to design a new, clean energy system for our Commonwealth. We lifted up the voices of directly impacted folks working for a just economic transition in eastern Kentucky through our work on the RECLAIM Act. We have worked to protect healthcare gains made with the Affordable Care Act. We have made our voices heard in Frankfort with direct lobbying and the We Are Kentuckians rally, worked to protect renters’ rights, created a standing racial justice committee and continued to deepen our analysis of the issue and its impacts on all our work, and so much more. Following the election in November, over seventy leaders from across the state came together in December to support each other, analyze the new political landscape, and discuss a way forward. After a full day of fellowship, discussion, and strategizing, members reaffirmed our commitment to stay focused on our North Star – our vision. And our work in this current year has moved us closer to that – we organized Stand For Kentucky, a direct action at our state capitol that was rooted in our vision, released the Empower Kentucky plan, developed the People’s Guide to the Budget in Jefferson County, and more. But if this past year has shown us anything, it is that we still believe in the power of ordinary folks coming together to achieve common goals. And we are still here, working toward achieving our vision for Kentucky. Because we are Kentuckians. And we still believe we are our best hope for change.

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WE ARE WORKING FOR A DAY WHEN KENTUCKIANS – AND ALL PEOPLE – ENJOY A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE.

It’s up to us to take care this world, our community, our families, our schools, our state together. We’re all in this together. SERENA OWEN, KENTON COUNTY

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We want all Kentuckians to have access to good schools, better health and wellness services, clean water, and an affordable education so everyone can enjoy a better quality of life. We know this will require making the right investments and ensuring everyone has a voice in the decisions that affect our lives.

TAX REFORM AND KENTUCKY TOGETHER In 2016, we worked hard to raise awareness of the role taxes

from members across the state who came together in their

and good government play in helping ensure all Kentuckians

communities to watch the address.

have a better quality of life. We continued our partnership with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy on Kentucky

In response, chapters organized Tax Justice workshops to

Together, a three- to five-year campaign to build statewide

better understand the proposed budget and its implications

support for comprehensive tax reform.

for Kentuckians and develop a strategy to push for adequate funding for preserving Kynect and Medicaid expansion,

In January, Governor Bevin unveiled his proposed budget

access to higher education, protecting the arts, community

in the annual State of the Commonwealth and Budget

health and much more. And in Jefferson County, members

Address. The budget – which proposed cuts to universities

organized a Tax Justice Meet and Greet with their elected

and community colleges, the elimination of the state’s

leaders to advocate for tax reform that is just, adequate, and

health insurance exchange, and cuts to many programs

sustainable.

and state agencies – was met with concern and confusion

RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS KFTC believes democracy works best when all people have access to good information and are able to participate in decisions affecting our lives and communities. After a 10-year campaign to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals, we celebrated in December 2015 when then-Governor Steve Beshear introduced a simplified process for more than 100,000 formerly incarcerated folks to immediately apply for and receive their voting rights back. Then, shortly after taking office, our new governor, Matt Bevin, rescinded Beshear’s executive order, saying that voting rights restoration is needed, but through legislation rather than executive action. Members were disappointed but not deterred, working hard to educate elected leaders during the 2016 General Assembly on the issue. And for the first time, a voting rights bill was introduced in the state Senate. Jefferson County member Pam Newman testified in committee on behalf of the bill, sitting side-by-side with the bill’s sponsor, Senate President Robert Stivers.

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We have a long history of working to protect our air, water, and land from extractive industries. We have organized with communities to end the abuses of broad form deeds; testified at public hearings and submitted comments on mining regulations in defense of homes, water, and public health; and lobbied elected leaders to hold them accountable to their people and communities back home.

PIPELINE FIGHTS ACROSS THE STATE KFTC members and many others throughout the state have

In Madison County, members worked with allies Kentucky

been working hard to protect our communities from the many

Heartwood and Frack Free Foothills to build local support to

risks of transporting hazardous natural gas liquids (NGLs)

pass an ordinance requiring a conditional use permit before

through the commonwealth. These pipelines, which have been

a hazardous liquids pipeline may be repurposed or a large

proposed by large, out-of-state corporations, would affect

natural gas pipeline compressor constructed.

eighteen counties across Kentucky. And members in Rowan County continued their outreach Boyle County has been the center of much activity since the

efforts to build awareness of the dangers of the re-purposed

re-purposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline was announced nearly

pipeline in their community. They’ve worked to educate county

three years ago. KFTC members in our Wilderness Trace

officials and residents about a planning and zoning approach

chapter worked with city and county governments to call

to protecting their property and health from the threats of a

on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require an

hazardous liquids pipeline, offering the ordinance from Boyle

Environmental Impact Study before the project can move

County as a model for requiring companies seeking to construct

forward. This action followed an ordinance passed by the

hazardous liquid pipelines to get a conditional use permit.

local Planning and Zoning Commission late last year that put some protections in place.

STREAM PROTECTION RULE Members have worked for years to update regulations that would protect the environment and communities near mining operations. In December, the Obama administration published the Stream Protection Rule, which spelled out best practices for reclaiming land and reforesting with native species, while also strengthening protections for water quality. Members submitted comments, traveled to Washington D.C., and testified about the direct relationship between water quality and people’s health. Unfortunately, the rule was overturned by the Trump administration in 2017, but our members will not give up fighting for clean streams and healthy communities in areas where coal is mined. 8


Zoning is new to Rowan Countians, but preserving our land and our quality of life for ourselves and future generations is a timehonored tradition. These ordinances will protect schools, daycare facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, jails, homes and much more. SUE TALLICHET, ROWAN COUNTY

WHEN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES MATTER BEFORE PROFITS.

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WHEN OUR COMMUNITIES HAVE GOOD JOBS THAT SUPPORT OUR FAMILIES WITHOUT DOING DAMAGE TO THE WATER, AIR, AND LAND.

The RECLAIM Act isn’t just a five-year project; it could be the beginning of our new future. It represents a seed that, with a little nurturing, will help my community blossom. It would help us grow hope in a place where it’s been extracted. KATIE DOLLARHIDE, LETCHER COUNTY

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Our work to build a Just Transition – from extractive industries to a more equitable and sustainable economy that supports the people and communities affected by the transition – grew by leaps and bounds in 2016 through the Empower Kentucky campaign and our work on the federal level with the RECLAIM Act.

EMPOWER KENTUCKY With the announcement in August 2015 of President Obama’s

a groundbreaking summit September 30-October 1 that brought

Clean Power Plan, which aimed to lower carbon emissions over

together about 250 folks – from faith leaders and artists to

the next fifteen years, we knew we had an important opportunity

utility providers and people directly affected by coal – to share

to design a new, clean energy economy for our Commonwealth.

what we’ve learned and begin to move forward with a plan.

Through our approach to the Clean Power Plan, which we called

Through our online surveys, sit-down meetings, Seat At The

Empower Kentucky, we would develop a just transition plan that

Table events and fall summit, we have engaged over 1,200

would invest in workers and communities, create new jobs, lower

people in the Empower Kentucky process. We’ve worked closely

utility costs for consumers, and diversify the power supply.

with consultants to develop the elements of our Empower Kentucky plan and model the most significant outcomes for

To do that, we organized an ambitious series of dinners in April

jobs, emissions, and impact on rates and bills. A team of

and May in Lexington, Hindman, Covington, Bowling Green,

grassroots leaders has worked to develop an environmental

Louisville and Paducah (all six congressional districts) that

justice analysis to inform our planning process. And in April

engaged 750 Kentuckians from a variety of backgrounds in

2017 we released our plan, which details what Kentuckians

dinner-table conversations about their relationship to energy and

want, our ideas for getting there, and the ways that our state

their hopes and ideas for Kentucky’s energy future. Then we held

would benefit from this path.

RECLAIM ACT In 2016, we continued the successful work that began the previous year with the passage of resolutions by fifteen local governments of eastern Kentucky in support of POWER+, the Obama administration’s $10 billion initiative to help coal communities grow and diversify their economies. Because of the broad support these resolutions had from directly impacted communities, in early 2016 Congressman Hal Rogers introduced the RECLAIM Act, which would disburse $1 billion from Abandoned Mine Lands funds for economic transition projects in the region. Led by members of our New Energy and Transition team, we developed a campaign to use the RECLAIM Act as an opportunity to shape and shift the conversation to one of a community-led movement for just transition in Appalachia and beyond. Throughout the year, we trained dozens of new and emerging leaders as campaign spokespeople, hosted telephone town halls to educate the public on policy that more than a hundred people participated in, tried new digital communications strategies, and strengthened relationships with regional and national allies. By the end of the year, more than 10,000 people signed petitions in support of the RECLAIM Act, with over 1,300 of those coming from Kentucky. 11


We want elected officials who are responsive to all Kentuckians, not just politically powerful interests, and we want better candidates to run and get elected. So we work to hold elected leaders accountable through direct lobbying at home and in Frankfort, and to support candidates who are more responsive to the interests of Kentuckians.

HOLDING ELECTED LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE Several chapters across the state held workshops and

At home, chapters worked within their local communities to

trainings at the beginning of the year to help everyday folks

engage with elected leaders. During the General Assembly,

develop the skills and confidence to engage with their elected

the Jefferson County chapter held a Tax Justice Legislative

leaders and hold them accountable.

Meet and Greet with their representatives to share their vision for Kentucky and the need for tax reform to get us there. Later

And during the General Assembly, KFTC members put those

in the spring, they hosted a series of Open Mic Debates for

newfound skills to work by meeting with their elected leaders,

some Metro Council races in Louisville. And in the Northern

testifying in committee hearings, and engaging in direct

Kentucky and Madison County chapters, members organized

actions. Members lobbied across the full range of our issues

candidate forums for local city and metro council races so

– from restoration of voting rights and tax reform to clean

that folks could engage with candidates and learn where they

energy, fairness, healthcare, and more.

stood on issues we care about.

SUPPORTING GOOD CANDIDATES Through KFTC’s New Power PAC, we endorsed two winning candidates for State Representative in the last election: Attica Scott and McKenzie Cantrell. Both candidates’ platforms aligned well with our vision for Kentucky, their campaigns were open and transparent, and they were actively engaged with their communities. We worked hard to support their campaigns – sending postcards, making calls, and canvassing. On Election Day, the impact of our work was apparent when both candidates won their seats and were elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives.

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The candidates we’ve endorsed for city commission – I’m proud to talk with my neighbors about them. We have a great chance to change the city by building ground-up momentum and by electing leaders with solid, people-first vision. ALAN SMITH, WARREN COUNTY

WHEN COMPANIES AND THE WEALTHY PAY THEIR SHARE OF TAXES AND CAN’T BUY ELECTIONS.

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WHEN ALL PEOPLE HAVE HEALTH CARE, SHELTER, FOOD, EDUCATION, AND OTHER BASIC NEEDS.

Healthcare should be a right for everyone. Because of the Affordable Care Act, I was able to open a local restaurant and create jobs in eastern Kentucky.

DARYL ROYSE, LETCHER COUNTY 14


In 2016, we continued our work to ensure that all Kentuckians have access to quality, affordable healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, while also expanding our campaign for a statewide renters’ rights law.

PROTECTING HEALTHCARE GAINS Kentucky has been the battleground in the national

changes to Medicaid, KFTC members and others came out in

healthcare debate. When then-Governor Steve Beshear opted

huge numbers to speak out in support of access to quality

to expand Medicaid and create a state health insurance

and affordable health care for all Kentuckians. Of the more

exchange, over 440,000 people had access to affordable,

than 17,000 comments the U.S. Cabinet for Health and

life-saving health insurance, many for the first time. Kynect

Human Services received on the changes, more than 90

was the national model for state exchanges, and Kentucky’s

percent opposed the governor’s plan and were in support of

Medicaid expansion was lauded across the nation. Kentucky

the health care program as it now exists.

made unprecedented gains in overall health and in economic development.

After the 2016 election, the landscape shifted and Kentuckians pivoted to working to preserve the gains under

In 2016, Governor Bevin began to dismantle our progress,

Obamacare. The future of the Affordable Care Act and

while Kentuckians across the state worked to preserve our

Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion is unclear, but KFTC members

gains. Members lobbied the state legislature to hold the line

and allies are committed to continue the fight for quality,

on preserving Medicaid expansion. When a series of public

affordable healthcare for all Kentuckians.

hearings were announced about Governor Bevin’s proposed

STATEWIDE RENTERS’ RIGHTS Our work to organize for renters’ rights through the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA), legislation that would provide uniform protections and best practices for renters and landlords, began several years ago as a local campaign in our Southern Kentucky chapter. It has grown into a statewide campaign to gain housing protections for all Kentuckians in recent years. During the 2016 General Assembly, members worked closely with House leadership as well as Democrats and Republicans in the House to bring them up to speed on URLTA. Because of the efforts of KFTC members working to educate elected leaders, the bill received its first committee hearing, was received favorably, and was passed with bipartisan support in the House. Although it didn’t receive a hearing on the Senate side, members remain committed to organizing for housing protections, not just in certain communities, but for all Kentuckians. 15


At KFTC, we believe in the power of community organizing – people working together to achieve common goals. It’s a long-term approach that focuses on building and exercising power to improve the quality of life for all. Because our approach is longterm, the effects of our victories may not always be immediately apparent. But when we listen to and value our children, we invest in future generations.

INTER-GENERATIONAL ORGANIZING Taking an inter-generational approach to change – with a strategic interplay and interaction of generations – can help foster healthy relationships that strengthen our organizations and our movement. Older generations bring wisdom and experience to the table – from stories of success and lessons over the years to insights into how systems work. And younger generations have experiences of their own to share, with insights into new solutions and new approaches. Both perspectives are key to our organizing. The theme of our 2016 annual membership meeting was “Generating Change: 35 Years of Action for Justice.” Members shared their perspectives on the power of intergenerational organizing to make change.

BIG TOPICS FOR LITTLE EARS Talking about issues of race can be difficult. But KFTC members have experiences, insights, and knowledge we can all benefit from, especially when it comes to talking to kids about difficult issues. At the 2016 annual meeting, three members hosted the lunch discussion “Big Topics for Little Ears: Talking to Children about Race,” where folks were invited to share ideas, resources, challenges, and insights about how parents, family members, and “the village” can talk to children about race in ways that share history, share truth, engage, and grow great kiddos.

SUPPORTING YOUTH-LED ORGANIZATIONS We also believe in supporting organizations that work directly with young folks to strengthen their capacity and opportunities to develop as leaders. That’s why we supported young folks to participate in the Stay Together Appalachian Youth (STAY) Summer Institute, an autonomous space for youth to share their skills and passions and connect with members around what they’re experiencing in their communities across the Central Appalachian region. We also regularly partner with KSEC – the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition.

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WHEN CHILDREN ARE LISTENED TO AND VALUED.

I want a Kentucky where children like me are listened to and valued. And I think that everybody should get a free cat and a unicorn. BELLA GONZALES, FAYETTE COUNTY

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WHEN DISCRIMINATION IS WIPED OUT OF OUR LAWS, HABITS, AND HEARTS.

This is an historical moment for racial justice work. Creating a standing committee now will help realize KFTC’s vision of a diverse Kentucky. It also shows that racial justice matters to all Kentuckians, including white people. META MENDEL-REYES, MADISON COUNTY

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We know that racism and oppression stand in the way of not only this part of our vision, but all of our vision. We know that to be successful in achieving our vision, we have to amplify the intersectionality of our issues and acknowledge the fundamental role that racism and oppression play in the issues we face.

NEW RACIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE In 2016, we established a standing committee on racial

and develop a shared baseline of knowledge and language for

justice. The committee’s charge is to help ensure that KFTC

the work going forward. We also have offered workshops and

is incorporating racial justice and anti-oppression into all

trainings on racial justice in two chapter areas and at our

of our work and strategies. The committee’s work includes

statewide annual meeting.

informing the membership on issues affecting racial justice, coordinating education and skill-building opportunities, and

Our staff prioritized developing a shared understanding of

ensuring that racial justice principles are applied to all areas

white supremacy and oppression and how we can be more

of KFTC’s program of work in an intersectional way.

intentional as an organization in communicating about the racial justice dimensions of our work. In the spring, we

Knowing that everyone comes into this work at different levels

partnered with Showing Up for Racial Justice and the Catalyst

of experience and knowledge, the newly formed racial justice

Project (a San Francisco-based collective that works to build

committee organized an in-person all-day training that would

the leadership of white people to be part of anti-racist social

give committee members the opportunity to come together for

movements) for a day-long anti-oppression training for staff.

a shared experience, begin to build trust among each other,

DEEP CANVASSING As we have continued to deepen our analysis of racial justice and the different ways it affects all areas of our work, we knew it would take having difficult conversations with unlikely folks to bring more people into the work. Several members and KFTC staff attended different trainings across the country last year to learn a new (to us) technique called deep canvassing. Deep canvassing is different from traditional canvassing in that it’s less about a particular candidate or ballot measure than about having deeper, more engaging conversations about a person’s experiences and how that affects their views on a particular issue. By sharing their story with the canvasser and engaging at that level, a person often opens up to a different way of thinking. KFTC members have put their new skills to use, hosting several canvasses in different regions and having good, important conversations about a number of issues, like racial justice, housing justice, and a healthy democracy. 19


KFTC believes democracy works best when all people have access to good information and are able to participate in decisions affecting our lives and communities. We work year-round to make sure the voices of ordinary people are being heard in decisionmaking. This includes being active in city and county government, state government and the state legislature, and in Congress. Last year, KFTC members were busy empowering voters across the state.

EMPOWERING VOTERS To prepare for the elections of 2016, several KFTC chapters

and in a printed version mailed to thousands of Kentuckians.

hosted trainings for volunteers who wanted to register voters,

The online version was viewed 98,787 times, with 20,892 site

canvass and have conversations with folks about voting, and

visits during the election season.

learn more about what was at stake in this election cycle. Armed with those skills, members registered hundreds of

Local chapters in Northern Kentucky and Madison County

voters at festivals, community events, grocery stores, schools

organized candidate forums for local city and metro council

and college campuses, and more across the state.

races so folks could engage with candidates, learn where they stood on issues they cared about, and make their voices

After registering voters, we worked to educate voters on a

heard. And in the Southern Kentucky and Jefferson County

broad range of issues. We surveyed candidates for U.S. House

chapters, members canvassed neighborhoods to talk with

and Senate, our State Legislature, and a variety of local races

them about candidates and issues, while also encouraging

across the state, and published those survey results online

them to get out the vote.

WE ARE KENTUCKIANS RALLY Hundreds of Kentuckians gathered at the state capitol for the We Are Kentuckians rally to make their voices heard on the first day of the legislative session by sharing their vision for Kentucky and lifting up priorities for the session. Organized by KFTC with local and statewide community organizations, local labor groups, health care advocates, fairness groups and others, the rally was rooted in KFTC’s vision statement, with each speaker sharing their vision of what Kentucky can be and what they want for our state. It was a powerful reminder of the collective power we have as Kentuckians when we come together around a shared vision and values and make our voices heard in our democracy.

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We are a state built with incredible power. We collectively have the right to organize, to strategize and to revolutionize. PAM NEWMAN, JEFFERSON COUNTY

AND WHEN THE VOICES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE ARE HEARD AND RESPECTED IN OUR DEMOCRACY.

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GETTING TO OUR VISION:

PRIMARY STRATEGIES LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Leadership development is the first among equals of KFTC’s primary strategies. It makes all of our other strategies possible. In 2016, members had numerous opportunities to develop their skills, deepen their understanding of issues, and engage at the local, state, and national levels as they became stronger leaders. We hosted dozens trainings and workshops across the state; sent hundreds of members to numerous conferences and leadership development opportunities; and hosted over 200 members at our statewide annual meeting, where folks participated in a variety of skill-building workshops throughout the weekend.

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

We use strategic communications to advance KFTC’s frame, build New Power, strengthen our democracy, help us win on key issues, and build our capacity and culture. We demonstrate the impact of our work and lift up the voices of our members on the issues that impact us. In 2016, we published six issues of our newsletter, Balancing the Scales, six printed issues of our voter guide – one statewide issue and five local issues in Bowling Green, Berea, Lexington, Louisville, and Northern Kentucky, updated KentuckyElection. org with the latest voter guide information, and published a Citizens’ Legislative Guide for use during the General Assembly. Our work also received considerable media attention at the local, statewide, and national levels, and our social media presence grew when we launched our Instagram account, @kentuckiansforthecommonwealth.

ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

In 2016, we worked to build a strong and sustainable organization, growing our membership to 10,885. We experimented with new approaches to building power through our Empower Kentucky project, where we recruited hundreds of “table hosts” for our Seat At The Table events in the spring. We’re learning more about using digital strategies to invite folks into our work and encourage their support. We’ve had focused campaigns on renewing members, reaching out to lapsed members, and more. And we use events and special fundraisers to raise awareness, build community, and have fun. Kentucky Trivia was a big hit, as was our Barn Bash, the Smoketown GetDown, and more. Through a focused campaign in the summer and consistent asking throughout the year, we grew our number of Sustaining Givers from 424 to 645 in 2016, and now we have more than 700 Sustaining Givers. 22

BUILDING STRONG CHAPTERS

Chapters are the building blocks of KFTC, where most people engage with the organization through local campaigns, build relationships, and develop as leaders. All across the state, chapters worked on a variety of issues from fairness in Scott County to renters’ rights in Southern Kentucky to racial justice in eastern Kentucky to energy efficiency in Central Kentucky to building a healthy democracy everywhere, and more.

BUILDING ALLIANCES

In every area of our work, partnerships are important. We bring grassroots organizing, leadership development and strategic communications, while our allies contribute a range of ingredients including research, policy development, legal counsel and more. In the past year, we deepened our relationship with the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) and the Alliance for Appalachia on building a just transition for Appalachia; continued our partnership with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy on our Tax Justice campaign; worked with the Catalyst Project, a Bay area-based collective, and Showing Up for Racial Justice on deepening our analysis of racial justice issues; and we continued to deepen our relationship with the Climate Justice Alliance and with WE ACT for Environmental Justice, which has provided support for our Empower Kentucky project through its Clean Power Plan, Clean Air, and Cleaner Communities national campaign.

COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY

Commitment to Diversity is a fundamental strategy, meaning we strive to integrate this commitment into all our other strategies and issue campaigns. We have worked to educate and equip our members and staff to stand up against racism and oppression, support the development of ally organizations, support local racial justice organizing campaigns, and address issues of police brutality and accountability. Also, we’ve continued to support local fairness ordinances across Kentucky, provide leadership on the voting rights campaign, and worked to be more inclusive of gender identities and gender expressions in our organization.


LOOKING AHEAD: 2017 Much has been said about the election of 2016 and what it means for our communities, our state, and our nation going forward. The political landscape shifted dramatically not only at the national level but in Kentucky as well. After the November election, the Republican party took seventeen state House seats from the Democrats, moving from a slim minority to a supermajority. For the first time in history, the Republican Party controls the Office of Governor and both Houses of the Legislature, which has repercussions in all areas of our work. At KFTC, we have invested significant time and capacity in

training available for our members, allies, and newly

developing a shared analysis, self-reflection, goal setting,

energized Kentuckians, putting more boots on the ground and

and strategic planning. In December, over seventy leaders

growing a larger, deeper movement of Kentuckians taking

came together for a day-long leadership summit to reflect on

action for justice.

what happened in the election and why, to analyze threats and opportunities, to think about what it will take to turn

At the same time, we will not accept the assaults on our

things around, and what all that means for our work. Key

people or our place without principled and passionate

themes coming out of the meeting were that our work should

resistance. We are committed to resisting with vision,

include a commitment to deeper and broader leadership

exposing the truth in what is happening, advancing our

development, more organizing, strategic communications,

organizing, and protecting our communities’ most vulnerable.

and a robust integrated voter empowerment program. We are committed to stay the course, while we refine our approach

This work will not be easy. But we are more committed than

and elevate our performance.

ever to our vision for our Commonwealth. Because we are Kentuckians. And we are our best hope for change.

To that end, we are deepening and expanding our commitment to building grassroots power and leadership development through the launch of our Organizing Academy and Organizer Apprentice programs. These programs will make organizing

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P.O. Box 1450, London, KY 40743 (606) 878-2161 www.KFTC.org

2016 Annual Report  

Read up on the great work of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth in 2016.

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