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Changed Circumstances on Capitol Hill Call for a Fresh Approach to Advocacy

A 50 year anniversary is a great opportunity for any association to do some self-reflection. As we review our advocacy strategies, leading up to NRPA’s 50th birthday, we think it’s time for some improvements to our advocacy approach that meets the challenges of 2015 and beyond, while still maintaining our critical advocacy leadership role.

To improve the effectiveness of NRPA’s federal public policy advocacy efforts, we will make several changes in our longstanding annual approach. These include:

  • Conducting targeted legislative fly-in sessions geared toward key members of Congress.
  • Better aligning NRPA advocacy efforts and the Congressional Calendar.

The above Grasstops approach and others (such as joint advocacy letters) will replace the traditional annual Legislative Forum. The Forum has proven to be less strategic than activities that are more geographically targeted and well-timed to the Congressional schedule. Moreover, this improved advocacy targeting will help NRPA to optimize precious budget funds and improve overall return on investment for funds that are expended. In other words, we are able to make stronger advocacy strides without implications to your bottom line as a member. Keep Reading

Congressional Visit Toolkit for Nutrition Programs

Let your Congressional leaders see the impact you make first-hand by inviting them to visit your summer or afterschool feeding programs. By inviting them to visit, they can see for themselves why it is critical to continue funding these important nutritional programs. To help, we’ve created a toolkit that provides a step-by-step guide to hosting your senator and local congressman or congresswoman at your Summer Food Service Program or afterschool Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Click here to download the Congressional Site Visit Toolkit.

Click here to watch Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack talk about the importance of the summer meals program.

Summer Meals Act Introduced

The Summer Meals Act (S. 2527/H.R. 5102) was introduced on June 25 to improve the efficiency of summer meals by Sens. Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Rick Larsen (D-WA). This legislation would help expand and support USDA summer nutrition programs at park and recreation agencies that ensure low-income children have access to healthy food throughout the summer. The bipartisan Summer Meals Act proposes four goals. Keep Reading

Fit for Life Act

The Fit for Life Act (H.R. 4765) was reintroduced on May 29 by Rep. Marsha Fudge (D-OH), with some additions that benefit parks and recreation. This legislation is an omnibus health bill that includes multiple programs and initiatives that are pertinent to park and recreation agencies. A highlight of provisions is listed below:

  • Shared use agreement expansion pilot grant program. Creates grants to support joint or shared use agreements, promoting physical fitness and activity in low-income neighborhoods with high concentrations of childhood obesity.
  • Expanding access to the Summer Food Service Programs for children. Reduces the Summer Food Program's area eligibility requirement to 40 percent of residents that are at the Federal Poverty Level, instead of the current 50 percent and expands existing rural transportation pilot grants and provides expansion grants in high poverty areas.
  • Weekends and holidays without hunger. Amends the School Lunch Act to include access to different types of projects that offer nutritious foods on weekends and during school holidays to at-risk school children.
  • Renovation of foreclosed and abandoned properties to create spaces that encourage physical activity in American neighborhoods.

Click here for the full text of the Fit for Life Act of 2014.

Congressional Inaction Puts Funding for Walking and Biking Projects at Risk

Lawmakers are under pressure to replenish the Highway Trust Fund prior to departing for their annual August break. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has warned that allowing the Highway Trust Fund to go broke — which it is predicted to do by the end of August — would cost the U.S. about 700,000 jobs. The Fund pays for road, transit, walking and biking projects.Keep Reading

Community Parks Revitalization Act during Park and Recreation Month

July is Park and Recreation Month and a great opportunity to share your stories about the benefits of urban parks with your legislators. The sponsor of the Community Parks Revitalization Act ( H.R. 2424) Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) is celebrating Park and Recreation Month by highlighting the importance of this legislation. Share your stories about the importance of your parks with us (@NRPA_News) and with Rep. Sires (@RepSires) on social media so we can keep telling the community parks story.

Click here to read Rep. Sires op-ed on the importance of community parks to our economy and health.

LWCF State Assistance Apportionment for 2014 Announced at Fort Worth Event

The National Park Service (NPS) recently announced the apportionment for the 2014 State Assistance Program which totals more than $43 million. The announcement was made at Fort Worth’s Gateway Park – a recipient of State Assistance funding. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price hosted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in an effort to highlight the bipartisan “Mayors for Parks” coalition. NRPA President and CEO Barbara Tulipane also attended the event and shares what you need to know on Open Space.

Click here for the state-by-state breakdown of the LWCF apportionment.

Free Webinar Available on LWCF State Assistance Competitive Grant Program

On July 16, NRPA hosted a webinar on this year’s competitive grant program, formally known as the State Assistance Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership. The webinar, moderated by Joel Lynch and Elisabeth Fondriest of the National Park Service (NPS), included valuable insights into the program and the basics of the application process, including eligibility.  

Click here to view the webinar and learn more about the grant program.

Click here to access the application. The deadline to apply is August 15, 2014.       

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