For a small organization, U2FP is having a big impact on where and how curative interventions are happening. With our Cure Advocacy Network’s most recent victory in Ohio this past year ($3M of SCI research funding), we’ve increased the SCI Community’s impact on the curative research landscape to almost $12M. And $4M of that money has come just in the last year and half!
Here’s the latest on what we have cooking right now in each of the state’s we’re working in:
PENNSYLVANIA. $1M SCI Research Funding Bill passed in October 2018. The Advisory Board - which is made up of researchers and members of the SCI Community - had their first meeting on January 15th. Jake Chalfin, a member of the Advisory Board and one of our CAN members, is looking like the probable nominee. We’re looking forward to the PA Advisory Board’s selection of cutting edge research and curative interventions.
WISCONSIN. $10M Legislative Bill introduced in August 2019. We continue to have monthly meetings with CAN advocates to strategize for this next session. Our legislative champion and author Rep. Jimmy Anderson (who has an SCI) has met with Wisconsin Governor seeking inclusion in the state’s upcoming budget. I have been working with 2 advocates who live in close proximity to the Capitol, and we are strategizing how to make regular meetings happen with legislators so that we can keep the pressure on and move towards passage.
COLORADO. Planning and Strategy Phase. So far we have had 2 meetings with a burgeoning group of CAN advocates in Colorado to strategize and educate on what our best approach might be. They are in the process of learning the ropes, and coming to understand what we are trying to accomplish. We’re hoping we will be able to identify a potential legislative partner and begin drafting a bill for introduction in the next session.
TEXAS. Planning and Strategy Phase. We have had 2 meetings so far with one of our loyal monthly donors and Working 2 Walk attendee Elizabeth Dierdorf. Elizabeth is fired up and doing a lot of great work, having met with a potential legislative champion who has agreed to introduce our Bill in the next session (provided she is reelected). Elizabeth has made extraordinary progress, and I am excited by the potential for securing funding in Texas.
UTAH. Planning and Strategy Phase. We have sent U2FP’s CAN ‘toolkit’ to Dale Hull, who is continuing to explore how it might help him to expand upon the great work, connections and traction he has in the state legislature due to the SCI Rehab funding Bill he passed in Utah a few years ago. We hope to further this effort through our hosting of the Working 2 Walk Symposium in Salt Lake City this October.
INTERSTATE CONSORTIUM FORMATION. Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania have now begun discussing how they can each maximize the impact of their individual experiences funding SCI Research by forming a collaborative consortium and sharing resources. A call with representatives from each of the offices managing the state programs took place on January 17th. Matthew Rodreick, U2FP’s Executive Director, initiated this first call in an attempt to share knowledge from Minnesota’s experience as a resource for the new state programs. It was exciting and motivating for each state to recognize the possibilities inherent in combining forces to move the field forward more quickly and effectively. We have been working toward this kind of collaboration for a long time. This is the kind of work that will lead to better and faster interventions as states learn from one another!