Dear Indivisible Somerville community,

I have no idea what season it is, but happy spring/summer/winter/summer! There’s a lot to report, with two of our active campaigns reporting in, an event putting the “poutine” in “fundraiser,” and the exceptional news of our growth and mitosis, so here goes.

FTW
Our 2018 For The Win team is working on train-the-trainers in phone banking, text banking, and canvassing. We have our first larger phone bank training next Sunday, May 13th at Activist Afternoons at WeWork Cambridge, 625 Mass Ave in Central Square, Cambridge.

We’d like to have a large event in July to use the trainers to orient a lot of people to do these things and then form teams of 5-9 people who will adopt a district or issue and use their new skills for persuasion, Get Out The Vote and Vote Remote support, or otherwise encourage registration and absentee voting.

We’ll be investigating “feeder org” support for various other organizations to avoid duplicating efforts and to form as strong a wave as possible going in one direction, but when doing so, we’ll still be the IS beast we’re building. #ExpectSwag #ExpectDrinkups

We plan to hold ongoing office hours at Activist Afternoons to help troubleshoot, support, and matchmake volunteers working on these efforts.  

Our long range goal of a program to encourage local/artisanal/sustainable volunteer activism is on the burner, but waiting until we’re past the midterms to turn up the heat on that.

Vote Remote
The Vote Remote team has spent the last month aggregating contacts at 29 Massachusetts colleges, and reaching out to student groups at 12 of these colleges. We have met with the MIT Democrats group, where we learned about their strategy for 2018 and discussed areas for collaboration.

Other activities have included an ongoing research effort to collect and organize information on state-specific voting policies and absentee ballot registration ballot deadlines.

We have also drafted an initial budget for the Vote Remote project, created an application form for student campus ambassadors which is currently live, and the Media team has produce initial Vote Remote promotion materials.

Word of Vote Remote is spreading, and our first high school volunteer will be starting information-gathering in Colorado! If you haven’t seen it recently, check out Vote Remote !

Fundraiser
How long has it been since you’ve had poutine? Our guess is it’s been too long. Obviously. We’re having a fundraiser at The Independent in Union Square 5/15, to celebrate brews, poutine, Indivisible Somerville and good times!

The best part? 10% of everything you spend goes back to Indivisible Somerville.

So break up the week, bring a friend or co-worker, and make an appearance. We’ll love you forever, we promise.

At The Independent in Union Square Tuesday, May 15th! 10% of all purchases from 5:30-8:30 go to IS! Please stop by if you can and spread the word.

Also, please like the event on Facebook to help boost attendance! https://www.facebook.com/events/541125622954524/

IS / ISe
As most of you know, one of our goals has been to fund the incredible projects this community has created and developed. Despite the current Administration’s efforts to strangle all small contribution donations and grassroots organizations through minefields of paperwork, huge donation minimums for tax deductions and such, we’ve kept IS going through the generosity of our community. Some of our most generous donors are also some of our most consistent workers, giving dollars as well as hours for the cause. That got us through this first eighteen months, and now, we get to fly!

The Institute for Social Engagement (ISe) has been formed. ISe is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization focused on promoting civic engagement, especially among new and younger voters, and those with challenging access to polls and to clear information.

We promote a higher bar of civil discussion, and encourage people to get involved in their country’s future. We develop tools and opportunity to make informed decisions and think critically around the issues affecting our nation.

ISe works to empower members of the community to actively and effectively participate in the political process. Combining traditional grassroots strategies with modern technology, innovation, and collaborative action, ISe is committed to contributing to positive social change, and developing community organizers for the 21st century.

ISe is a think tank and creative studio developing innovative tools and opportunities for grassroots organizing.

But wait – there’s more!
ISe has been accepted into a program that provides significant help with fundraising and promotion nationwide, including $10,000 per month in Google AdWords, and with staff to run the campaigns! This organization also allows us to have access to direct text-to-give services, which normally requires a (c)(3) with a bank account minimum of $500,000 for more each year (only $499,000 to go!)

What this means:
This means that most of the current projects being worked on under the IS banner will move to ISe. People making donations to specific campaigns will be given the opportunity to move their donations to the ISe account. All other regular donations will stay with IS. Any (c)(3)-unallowed aspects of our work, like direct lobbying and candidate endorsements, will branch off of their ISe projects to live in IS and with other sister organizations also doing that work.

What this doesn’t mean:
This doesn’t mean any change in family. Though there are some strict rules about what a (c)(3) can and can’t do, and we’ll adhere to those rules, one can be working for a (c)(3) and still a member of any other organization one wishes, including ones that endorse and lobby.

We’ll still have drinkups and meetups and working hours together (provided we’re not breaking any rules in that work), and we’ll still support each other in all ways. Really, ISe is the ultimate IS lab. Through innovation, hard work even through tough times; through dedication and moments of inspiration, we’ve now reached a point where the seeds of our ideas are ready to flower (spring metaphor required as I look out the window at the sunny day!).

There will be many more updates regarding the IS/ISe steps being taken. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to write to me at Marjie@indivisiblesomerville.org, or to any member of the Board at nav@indivisiblesomerville.org. We hope you’re as excited as we are about the future. Remember, none of this would be possible without your support and contributions of every kind.

Thank you for making this community so great!

Marjie 

For the IS community
For the ISe Board of Directors

mi·to·sis
noun
  1. a type of cell division that results in two daughter cells each having the same number and kind of chromosomes as the parent nucleus, typical of ordinary tissue growth.