AFJ Member Spotlight is a series where we highlight the great advocacy work of Alliance for Justice member organizations. AFJ is an alliance of 130 national, regional, and local organizations working for a wide range of progressive causes, united in our commitment to advancing justice and democracy. Click here for more information on becoming an AFJ member organization.
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable, equitable, and quality health care should be accessible to everyone. Working with partners in more than 40 states, our goal is to ensure consumers have an organized voice and a seat at the table wherever decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, statehouses and on Capitol Hill.
What is something Community Catalyst is currently prioritizing?
Community Catalyst recently partnered with Alliance for Justice to engage in advocacy efforts around the nomination of Chad Readler. Over the course of Readler’s nomination process, we sent out action alerts to our state partners and supporters highlighting the danger that Readler would pose to the health care of millions of people. With AFJ’s guidance and help, we were able to mobilize advocates to take action and reach out to their Senators, create sample social media to assist advocates in raising their voices against the nomination, and wrote up talking points that advocates could use when reaching out to local reporters and the media. The Readler campaign was an exciting opportunity for Community Catalyst and our partners to elevate our priorities in a judicial nominating process where health care may not always rise to the forefront of discussion.
Do you have any general words of wisdom that you’d like to share with other staff engaged in advocacy?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned through our advocacy work over the years, it’s that our movement is strongest when we elevate the voices of those who will be impacted by the policy changes we seek. As advocates for an equitable health care system that works for everyone, it’s important that we lift up a broad range of stories – from people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people living with disabilities, seniors, people in recovery, and many others – to illustrate the impact of policies on people’s everyday lives. In addition to amplifying personal stories in our federal advocacy campaigns, we aim to provide our partners with tools and resources to enhance their storytelling work and strengthen their advocacy even further.
Many of our member organizations work with both our Bolder Advocacy initiative on c3/c4 advocacy rules and guidance, and our Justice programs on the importance of the courts and judicial nominations. How has either or both most helped you?
Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy Initiative is a critical resource for Community Catalyst and our state and local partners. We collaborated with Bolder Advocacy in early 2018 on a webinar for health advocates titled The Rules of the Game: A Guide to Election-Related Activities for 501(c)(3) Organizations. This training provided invaluable guidance to advocates interested in engaging in (c)(3) friendly electoral activities to amplify health care issues during an election year.
Bolder Advocacy staff also attended and participated in Community Catalyst’s Annual Advocate Convening attended by over 250 advocates from across the country. We utilized Bolder Advocacy’s expertise to offer one-on-one coaching and technical assistance to attendees on advocacy and civic engagement related questions, including what activities are allowable by law under a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status.
Who inspires you?
Community Catalyst is deeply inspired by our founding Executive Director, Rob Restuccia, who recently passed away from pancreatic cancer. Rob’s leadership, unwavering determination, and dedication to health justice was instrumental in building a consumer-led health advocacy movement that has made access to health care possible for millions of people across the country. While we mourn the loss of our fearless leader, we are motivated and inspired by his legacy to continue the fight for health justice.
Learn more about Community Catalyst here.