Founder’s Note: Edition 5

“A strong economy depends on a strong middle class.” – Peter F. Drucker

Hi everyone,

I hope each of you are healthy and that the hustle and bustle of fall is a welcome change as we continue to transition through Covid. At Engage, we are putting the finishing touches on the program for our upcoming in person Summit taking place in Washington, DC on October 21st. You can read more about the Summit at the end of this edition, but if, by chance, you are in Washington on October 21st, please join us from 8am to 3pm or for a portion of the day.

The conversations promise to be unique. They will not only underscore the challenging economic realities that hold women and their families back, but also highlight potential solutions from the public and private sectors. Perhaps most significantly, it will be our pleasure to introduce you to some of the leaders who are truly working to get something done on our behalf.

We have dedicated this edition of The Thread to caregiving in recognition of the often unseen work that holds all of us together. Back in 2018, I suspected that caregiving would be the common, binding force that fueled Engage. I knew from AARP research that the majority of family caregivers are women, but nothing underscores this reality more than the numerous women who have shared their caregiving stories in just about every conversation Engage has convened. Whether with twenty women in Indiana I have never met outside of Zoom or with a group of friends at a dinner party in DC, the truth of this shared reality finally being expressed out loud sometimes brings tears and always brings a sense of unity in our lived experiences. Women are not a monolith, and we face numerous challenges to our economic security, but caregiving is just too pressing and too relatable to not be the unifying force of our rebellion for commonsense solutions.

This edition lifts up a commonsense benefit for the family caregiver sponsored by Senator Joni Ernst from Iowa and Senator Michael Bennet from Colorado. The Credit for Caring Act, as it is known in Congress, offers a non-refundable tax credit for family caregivers. Senators Ernst and Bennet were generous enough to answer some questions about the legislation and their work on behalf of caregivers and their constituents. They also answer a question or two that lets us get to know them each a little better. Further down, Sophie Evans, Policy Director at Engage, writes about how the personal experience of caregiving can shape legislation and how the Credit for Caring Act would, in turn, work for caregivers if it becomes law.

But before we hear from the Senators, Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer at AARP, contributes a piece that makes the financial case for why the Credit for Caring Act is so desperately needed for the family checkbook. She unmasks the economic truth that families are struggling mightily in caring for those they love most. Nancy’s leadership on this issue and more broadly her career of advocacy makes her the obvious and welcomed choice for this edition’s Engage Woman. Her work on behalf of the 38 million members who belong to AARP is well-known in Washington, DC, and its impact is felt all across our country. Her generosity to Engage at every stage of its journey thus far has made all the difference.

We finish up the caregiving edition with Lyrics with Laura, which features HAIM – a real favorite of mine as well – and their work with Artists on Call. Finally, we have a beautifully written recommendation from our new intern, Tyler Carter, who has just started her senior year at Howard University. Tyler was brave enough to join us as we prepare for the craziness of the Summit, and I am very grateful for her tireless enthusiasm for Engage and our mission.

Warmly,
Rachel

Rachel Pearson is the Founder of Engage. You can reach her at rachel@engagewomen.org.


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