March 17, 2010
By Lee White, executive director of the National Coalition for History
The following text is an alert from the National Coalition for History. It is crossposted on the NCH web site.
National History Day (NHD) is asking for your help to gain support from members of Congress for a $1 million National History Day appropriation that will help state programs grow and improve. NHD NEEDS YOUR HELP TODAY! We have two more days left and it is critical that you pick up the phone to contact your members of Congress and ask them to sign the NHD “Dear Colleague” letter (available at the bottom of this page on the NCH site).
Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is circulating what is called a “Dear Colleague” letter (see the full Dear Colleague letter at the end of this post on the NCH site). The letter is similar to a petition that members of Congress sign in support of funding a program. Our goal is get as many members of Congress to sign this letter, which will demonstrate wide-spread support for funding for the NHD program.
The Dear Colleague letter asks all members of the House to sign their name to the letter supporting NHD. This letter is addressed to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee asking them to support funding NHD in the FY 2011 budget. This is a very common practice, which is implemented during the appropriations process. It is important that we get as many signatures as we can – as soon as we can by COB Friday, March 19. The appropriations committee will literally count every signature and the more signatures we have the better chance we will have of getting $1 million in support.
Thanks to your past efforts, NHD was included in the omnibus spending bill for FY 2009 & FY 2010 with an appropriation of $500,000! It’s important to note that to be included in a congressional budget for the first time is a major accomplishment. National History Day clearly has the attention of members of Congress, so let’s try and build on our success. Keep in mind that we have programs across the country that could use the extra help of an increased congressional appropriation.
What to do?
Never called your Member of Congress before? Don’t worry, it’s easy! All congressional offices can be reached through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. When you reach your Representative’s office, your call will be answered by a receptionist. Tell him or her that you want to leave a message for the Representative. The receptionist will take down your message.
When calling a Representative’s office, tell them:
- Your name and the city and state you live in.
- You are calling to urge the Representative to sign the Dear Colleague letter, in support of funding for National History Day in the FY 2011 budget. The letter is being circulated by Rep. Van Hollen.
- Why this money would be helpful to the NHD program in your state and district, how it would make an impact to increase the number of participants and improve overall programmatic efforts in the state.
- They can contact Sarah Schenning in Rep. Van Hollen’s office at (202) 225-5341 with questions or to sign the letter.
See the National Coalition for History site for more information and for the Dear Colleague letters text.