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NRLN Launches American Retirees Education Foundation

I want you to be aware that the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) has filed Articles of Incorporation for the formation of the American Retirees Education Foundation (AREF), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, in case you did not read the AREF article in the fall NRLN FOCUS newsletter.

We created the AREF so it could solicit tax-deductible funds from concerned individuals, national foundations and other advocacy organizations to do the important work of developing, publishing, and distributing policy research and training materials. Although AREF cannot lobby Congress on particular bills, it can play a critical role in developing policy changes and educating members of Congress by, for example, publishing whitepapers and convening policy briefings and public events. . It can also teach retirees how to advocate for specific issues and can train retirees who attend fly-ins.

Authorized by the NRLN Board, the AREF’s mission is to research, educate and inform retirees, future retirees and the general public on how best to protect and promote retirement income security and retiree health care. The Foundation will develop and advocate policy recommendations based on its research findings to relevant constituency groups, the media, the general public, and federal and state policymakers. As an educational non-profit, the AREF is not allowed to lobby members of Congress, their staffs or Congressional Committees.

In addition to individual contributions, the AREF will use a subscription to a database service to search thousands of foundations to determine which ones have the greatest potential of accepting a grant proposal. Michael Calabrese, NRLN Legislative Adviser, who wrote the AREF Articles of Incorporation, will partner with Marta Bascom, NRLN Executive Director, to research and write grant proposals.

I will serve as Chairman and President of the AREF. Board of Directors for the AREF include: Bob Tompkins, NRLN Vice President / Secretary-Treasurer, will serve in the same capacity for the AREF; Ed Beltram, NRLN Vice President – Communications, will have a similar role for the AREF, as will Bob Martina, NRLN Vice President – Grassroots.

The NRLN will be able to intensify lobbying for our retiree protection agenda in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C., if we have the extra support of the AREF for research, publication and distribution to all retirees. A number of active bills now support some of our proposals but we need more bills introduced and we need to expand our lobbying presence. We will be better prepared to move fast when Congress becomes more active.

In early December, the AREF will make an appeal to NRLN grassroots advocates for tax-deductible contributions that can apply to 2014 tax returns. This appeal is very much needed to support the AREF startup or plug the gap until our search for third party foundation and trust income pays off.

Your NRLN Board of Directors is thankful for your financial support and we hope you will consider an appeal to help get AREF off and running not as an imposition but as a tax-deductible opportunity that will add strength needed to boost overall progress and that will benefit all NRLN associations, chapters and individual members.

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