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Archive for January 9th, 2015

Local Residents Meet With FHFA Director Mel Watt To Push for Relief for Chicago Area Families

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on Local Residents Meet With FHFA Director Mel Watt To Push for Relief for Chicago Area Families

A homeowner and tenants with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign joined families facing foreclosure from 15 cities across the country in a face to face meeting with FHFA Director Mel Watt, yesterday.

Shirley Henderson, a homeowner, and Toussaint Losier, a tenant, will make the case for principal reduction for underwater homeowners as part of a comprehensive set of solutions to keep families in their homes. They will highlight the human consequences of a lingering housing crisis that continues to hold back struggling neighborhoods in Chicago and across the country.

Residents spoke to press following the meeting.

The meeting was held at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, 400 7th Street SW, Washington DC

Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign’s Henderson and Losier join impacted homeowners and tenants in need of principal reduction who are members of Right to the City Alliance and Center for Popular Democracy.

It marks the first time a grassroots coalition of directly impacted homeowners and tenants will meet with FHFA Director Mel Watt face-to-face. After four years of public pressure on the FHFA, at the end of 2014, Director Mel Watt announced that he would allow homeowners to buy back their homes at fair market value and fund the National Housing Trust Fund. Residents will thank him for making these changes and ask him to enact principal reduction to prevent hundreds of thousands of foreclosures. Many of the residents in attendance are underwater on their mortgages and need principal reduction to prevent their foreclosure or alternative relief to avoid eviction.

For more information, contact:  Toussaint Losier, toussaint@chicagoantieviction.org, 773-236-0559

2nd Ward Aldermanic Candidate Bita Buenrostro Marches For Peace

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on 2nd Ward Aldermanic Candidate Bita Buenrostro Marches For Peace

Receives Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association Endorsement

CHICAGO, IL -  On December 31st, 2nd Ward Aldermanic candidate Bita Buenrostro marched down Michigan Avenue with members of St. Sabina to lament Chicago’s rampant violence. Despite the frigid temperatures, a multitude of organizations and demonstrators showed up to work with Bita. Bita has made safety of the 2nd Ward her top priority and has already organized many neighborhood watch efforts. On the same day, she received the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association’s endorsement.

Bita’s campaign has mailed out neighborhood watch signs to over 25,000 people in a strategy to deter criminals. They have also staged “positive loitering,” gatherings at the Jewel-Osco on Clark and Division. This is highly reported problem area where Bita, her husband Marcus who is a 20 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, and a group of volunteers stand outside and ensure that no one is pick-pocketed or victimized.

“No issue is more important to me than the safety of my constituents. I will build strong relationships with local law enforcement agencies and fight to promote increased police patrols. I would like to thank all of the organizations and demonstrators for their continued stance against violence. I fully support them in this selfless and honorable cause.”

(Photo) Bita with Bill Dunn, Commander of the 18th District

Fact Sheet – White House Unveils America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition-Free Community College for Responsible Students

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on Fact Sheet – White House Unveils America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition-Free Community College for Responsible Students

Nearly a century ago, a movement that made high school widely available helped lead to rapid growth in the education and skills training of Americans, driving decades of economic growth and prosperity. America thrived in the 20th century in large part because we had the most educated workforce in the world.  But other nations have matched or exceeded the secret to our success. Today, more than ever, Americans need more knowledge and skills to meet the demands of a growing global economy without having to take on decades of debt before they even embark on their career.

Today the President is unveiling the America’s College Promise proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students, letting students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost. This proposal will require everyone to do their part: community colleges must strengthen their programs and increase the number of students who graduate, states must invest more in higher education and training, and students must take responsibility for their education, earn good grades, and stay on track to graduate. The program would be undertaken in partnership with states and is inspired by new programs in Tennessee and Chicago. If all states participate, an estimated 9 million students could benefit. A full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.

In addition, today the President will propose a new American Technical Training Fund to expand innovative, high-quality technical training programs similar to Tennessee Tech Centers that meet employer needs and help prepare more Americans for better paying jobs. These proposals build on a number of historic investments the President has made in college affordability and quality since taking office, including a $1,000 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award to help working and middle class families, the creation of the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, reforming student loans to eliminate subsidies to banks to invest in making college more affordable and keeping student debt manageable, and making available over $2 billion in grants to connect community colleges with employers to develop programs that are designed to get hard-working students good jobs.

The President’s Plan: Make Two Years of College as Free and Universal as High School

By 2020, an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree and 30 percent will require some college or an associate’s degree. Forty percent of college students are enrolled at one of America’s more than 1,100 community colleges, which offer students affordable tuition, open admission policies, and convenient locations.  They are particularly important for students who are older, working, need remedial classes, or can only take classes part-time. For many students, they offer academic programs and an affordable route to a four-year college degree. They are also uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities such as nursing, health information technology, and advanced manufacturing.

The America’s College Promise proposal would create a new partnership with states to help them waive tuition in high-quality programs for responsible students, while promoting key reforms to help more students complete at least two years of college. Restructuring the community college experience, coupled with free tuition, can lead to gains in student enrollment, persistence, and completion transfer, and employment. Specifically, here is what the initiative will mean:

Enhancing Student Responsibility and Cutting the Cost of College for All Americans: Students who attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college, and make steady progress toward completing their program will have their tuition eliminated. These students will be able to earn half of the academic credit they need for a four-year degree or earn a certificate or two-year degree to prepare them for a good job.

Building High-Quality Community Colleges: Community colleges will be expected to offer programs that either (1) are academic programs that fully transfer to local public four-year colleges and universities, giving students a chance to earn half of the credit they need for a four-year degree, or (2) are occupational training programs with high graduation rates and that lead to degrees and certificates that are in demand among employers.  Other types of programs will not be eligible for free tuition.  Colleges must also adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes, such as the effective Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) programs at the City University of New York which waive tuition, help students pay for books and transit costs, and provide academic advising and supportive scheduling programs to better meet the needs of participating students, resulting in greater gains in college persistence and degree completion.

Ensuring Shared Responsibility with States: Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. States that choose to participate will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate community college tuition for eligible students. States that already invest more and charge students less can make smaller contributions, though all participating states will be required to put up some matching funds. States must also commit to continue existing investments in higher education; coordinate high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions to reduce the need for remediation and repeated courses; and allocate a significant portion of funding based on performance, not enrollment alone. States will have flexibility to use some resources to expand quality community college offerings, improve affordability at four-year public universities, and improve college readiness, through outreach and early intervention.

Expanding Technical Training for Middle Class Jobs. Additionally, in order to spread the availability of high-quality and innovative programs like those in Tennessee and Texas, which achieve better than average completion and employment outcomes, the President is also proposing the American Technical Training Fund. This fund will award programs that have strong employer partnerships and include work-based learning opportunities, provide accelerated training, and are scheduled to accommodate part-time work. Programs could be created within current community colleges or other training institutions. The focus of the discretionary budget proposal would be to help high-potential, low-wage workers gain the skills to work into growing fields with significant numbers of middle-class jobs that local employers are trying to fill such as energy, IT, and advanced manufacturing. This program will fund the start-up of 100 centers and scale those efforts in succeeding years. Smaller grants would help to bring together partners and start a pilot program. Larger grants would be used for expanding programs based on evidence of effectiveness, which could include past performance on graduation rates, job placement rates and placement wages. Building on the President’s community college initiative, known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants and for which 2014 was the final year of funding, these funds will help community colleges become more job-driven.

Building on State and Local Programs. In the past year, Tennessee and the City of Chicago initiated free community college programs.  In the first year of the Tennessee program, 57,000 students representing almost 90 percent of the state’s high school graduating class applied for the program. The scholarship is coupled with college counseling, mentorship, and community service that early evidence suggests supports greater enrollment, persistence and college completion.  This is coupled with efforts to spur innovation and improvement by funding colleges using performance outcomes based on student success and an innovative approach to career and technical education through the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.  These Tennessee Tech Centers have a graduation rate of 80 percent and a job placement rate of 85 percent.

Building on a Record of Progress. Since taking office, President Obama has taken steps to expand federal support to help more students afford college, while calling for a shared responsibility in tackling rising college costs. Key achievements include:

  • Doubling the Investment in Pell Grants: The President has raised the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,730 for the 2014-15 award year — a nearly $1,000 increase since 2008. The number of Pell Grant recipients has expanded by 50 percent over that same time.
  • Expanding Education Tax Credits: President Obama established the American Opportunity Tax Credit in 2009 to assist families with the costs of college, providing up to $10,000 for four years of college tuition.
  • Pay-As-You-Earn Loans: All new borrowers can now cap loan payments at 10 percent of their incomes. The Department of Education has begun the process to amend its regulations and will make the new plan available on all direct loans by December 2015. We expect it to benefit up to 5 million borrowers.
  • First in the World Grants: In September, the Department of Education awarded $75 million to 24 colleges and universities under the new First in the World grant program to expand college access and improve student learning while reducing costs.
  • College Ratings Program: The Department of Education continues to develop a college ratings system by the 2015-2015 school year that will recognize institutions that excel at enrolling students from all backgrounds; focus on maintaining affordability; and succeed at helping all students graduate with a degree or certificate of value.
  • Job-Driven Training Grants: Through the Trade Adjustment Community College and Career Training program more than 1,000 institutions have received $2 billion in federal funding to design education and training programs, working closely with employers and industry that prepare workers for jobs in-demand in their regional economies, such as health care, information technology and energy. These programs have shown early success — through the end of FY2013, among the nearly 164,000 individuals who had enrolled in these programs 88 percent either completed a program or continued the program into a second year.
  • White House Summit on Community Colleges: In October 2010, the President convened community college leaders, faculty and students; business leaders; philanthropic organizations; and other workforce development experts for the first White House summit dedicated to the role that community colleges play in our efforts to increase the number of college graduates and prepare those graduates to lead the 21st century workforce.
  • Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness: Last August, the Department of Education launched a new $10 million Institute for Education Sciences-funded Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) that is working to strengthen the research, evaluation, and support of college readiness efforts across the nation. CAPR is documenting current practices in developmental English and math education to identify innovative instructional practices that improve student success.
  • Call to Action on College Opportunity: Last December, the President, Vice President, and First Lady joined college presidents and leaders of non-profits, foundations, and other organizations to announce over 600 new commitments to produce more college graduates. Community colleges made commitments individually, and in partnership with neighboring school districts and four-year institutions, to build seamless transitions among institutions, develop clear educational and career pathways, implement strategies to increase student completion of STEM programs, and establish more accurate measures of student progress and success.

Source: www.whitehouse.gov

Volunteers Across Illinois Set to Make Martin Luther King Day a “Day On, Not a Day Off”

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on Volunteers Across Illinois Set to Make Martin Luther King Day a “Day On, Not a Day Off”

Day of Service Will Mark the Beginning of the Year of the Volunteer

CHICAGO, IL – The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois) today encouraged people across Illinois to take part in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 19, 2015.

“Doctor King said that, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Serve Illinois Executive Director Scott McFarland said.  “Illinoisans answer this question each day by helping their neighbors and their community.  Volunteerism is the answer.”

The Day of Service will also mark the beginning of the Year of the Volunteer with the theme of “You are the difference.”  Volunteerism throughout Illinois will increase during the year by celebrating community service and connecting and strengthening the already extensive network of organizations involved in service.  In Senate Resolution 1002, the Illinois Senate designated the Year of the Volunteer, which is sponsored by Generations Serving Generations, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Illinois Department on Aging, Serve Illinois, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Community College Board and more than 100 organizations and businesses committed to civic engagement.

Anyone interested in volunteering on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service can visit Serve.Illinois.gov to find more than 100,000 volunteer opportunities throughout Illinois and in bordering states.  Volunteers can search based on location or area of interest, as well as by web-based, ongoing or one-time volunteer opportunities.

Serve Illinois is also accepting nominations for the annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards.  These awards recognize individual volunteers and businesses that support community service in order to honor those who provide selfless service to the state and to highlight the importance of volunteerism and community service in Illinois.

Nominations are due to Serve Illinois by January 31, 2015.  A ceremony to honor recipients will be held on April 20 at the Executive Mansion in Springfield.  Visit Serve.Illinois.gov for information about individual awards, past recipient bios, and nomination forms.

Could One Million Black Voters Adequately Respond to Richard Pryor’s Prophetic Warning of Obama’s Immigration Plan and Other Outrageously Damaging Policies for Blacks?

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on Could One Million Black Voters Adequately Respond to Richard Pryor’s Prophetic Warning of Obama’s Immigration Plan and Other Outrageously Damaging Policies for Blacks?

By Amefika Geuka

Richard Pryor

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Richard Pryor has been heralded as a genius among comedians but he may have been overlooked for his politically prophetic voice. According to Amefika Geuka The Race Man best known for his 1000 mile walk to Washington DC to spotlight African centered education, and Executive Coordinator of the Nationalist Black Leadership Council (NBLC), Pryors skit in 1977 The New Niggers reveals a shocking premise that we might be witnessing today with Obamas immigration reform bill and other anti-Black community policies.

According to Geuka, in his own way Pryor was forewarning the future of Black people in America except the New Niggers are the Hispanics and not the Vietnamese like he suggested. The gist of Pryors message; White folks are getting rid of us. Ironically a new study recently confirmed that the Hispanic population will double by 2044. The fact that such reform is coming under the watch of a Black President is particularly ironic, if not downright sinister.

If Americans were called upon to choose which of the two minority groups should be welcomed to stay and which should be invited to leave, the Presidents choice would be clear and unequivocal! Brown could stick around, but Black would have to get back! Geuka wrote in his paper EXCESS versus SURPLUS

Tavis Smiley recently suggested that every major indicator will show that Blacks will have regressed considerably under the Obama administration. Home ownership has dropped to 43% from 50%, 28,000 black college students were forced to drop out by the administration changing the financial aid policy, Black unemployment is up even though unemployment is down in America, SBA is giving out 2.3% of its loans for small business to black business down from 11% in 2008, median income falling 10.9 percent to $33,500 for Blacks well below the 58,000 of whites and of course the wealth gap widening to record levels. Now whites on average are 13 times wealthier than their Black counterparts. If the president thinks weve made progress he must also concede that we have equally regressed under his administration.

Obama is the check that Black folk have tried to cash in on that came back marked insufficient funds. This kind of change is more than we could ever believe in. Its no wonder people everywhere are fed up.

What should black people do about this? Geuka, Executive Coordinator for the NBLC, is calling for Conscious members of the Black electorate to join with the Nationalist Black Leadership Coalition NBLC in building a force to turn the design of political power-brokers on its head! Its a call for Blacks to organize their vote for power. The NBLC is saying that the next logical step is for a bold group of people to withdraw their support of any party and instead form a voting bloc of a million people that could sway elections and thus negotiate with either party based on who is willing to do the most to advance the interests of the African American community. One million united voices could create change beyond belief, not just politically but economically as well.

For more information on the plan to give Blacks the political leverage to negotiate better legislative and political action on behalf of the Black Community, go to www.Amefika.com and join the one million voices destined to make the process work for us like anybody else.

Amefika Geuka is the Executive Coordinator of the Nationalist Black Leadership Coalition and author of the book Reflections on My Pilgrimage. For more information or to schedule him for an interview, please contact Marcus Malcolm at (302) 536-9642 or info@bettermarketingmastery.com

Bob to Chuy and Rahm: Stop Hiding and Debate

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on Bob to Chuy and Rahm: Stop Hiding and Debate

CHICAGO, IL – The Fioretti for Mayor campaign restates its desire to have five debates prior to the start of Early Vote in the 2015 municipal elections.

“It is absurd and offensive that the candidates for mayor have not publicly agreed to debates yet,” said Fioretti.  “Voters deserve to question candidates and understand what we will and will not do for Chicago.  Rahm has to come and defend his record, and Chuy needs to explain why he changed positions on an elected school board after his CTU endorsement and where he has been all these years while progressives have been fighting this mayor.  Voters have every right to know.”

So far, Bob has agreed to the following scheduled debates or forums:

DePaul University Candidate Forum – January 20, 2015

Garfield Ridge Civic League Candidate Forum – January 21, 2015

Chicago Women Take Action Mayoral Forum – January 24, 2015

NAACP Mayoral Forum – January 24, 2015

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Candidate Forum – January 29, 2015

WTTW Candidate Debate – February 4, 2015

ABC Candidate Debate – February 5, 2015

Workers Center for Racial Justice Forum – February 7, 2015

Peterson Park Improvement Association Candidate Forum – February 10, 2015

KCETLink Presents U.S. Television Premiere of ‘Burning Bush’

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on KCETLink Presents U.S. Television Premiere of ‘Burning Bush’

Epic Three-Part Mini-Series Details Political Upheaval in 1960s Communist Czechoslovakia

Burbank, Calif. – KCETLink, the national independent public broadcast and digital network, presents the U.S. premiere of BURNING BUSH, a three-part docudrama, originally produced for HBO Europe, by world-renowned Polish director Agnieszka Holland.

BURNING BUSH premieres on KCET (Southern California) on three consecutive Wednesdays: Jan. 14, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28 at 9 p.m. PT.  The film also premieres nationally on Link TV (DirecTV 345 and DISH Network 9410) for three consecutive nights, beginning Monday, Jan. 19 – Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The film will also be available to view online for 90 days beginning Jan. 14 at www.kcet.org/burningbush and www.linktv.org/burningbush.

Based on actual events and characters and hailed by The New York Times as a “thoughtful, gripping, crisply acted film,” BURNING BUSH focuses on the self-sacrifice of student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in a protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. Young female lawyer Dagmar Burešová led the legal fight brought by his family against the communist politician who slandered Palach’s name and his sacrifice for freedom.

The emotional story of the actions by Palach and the bravery of his lawyer bring to light core human values such as truth, honor, justice and courage. Their fight for freedom and moral principles, in a time of censorship and oppression, eventually led to the unification of an oppressed nation, a struggle which defeated the totalitarian regime 20 years later.

Holland, who was a student at the FAMU film school in Prague during this tumultuous period, vividly recreates the political and cultural zeitgeist of Czechoslovakia in the late ’60s.

The 20th anniversary of Palach’s death in 1989 inspired a new generation of students to start protests that led to the eventual fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, alongside the fall of the Iron Curtain in Europe. Burešová, who spent her early career defending persecuted opposition leaders, became the first Minister of Justice in a freed Czechoslovakia.

Holland is perhaps best known for Europa Europa, which received an Academy Award® nomination in 1991 for Best Adapted Screenplay. Her 2011 feature, In Darkness, also received an Academy Award ® nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Holland has also directed television episodes of HBO’s hit dramas, The Wire and Treme, as well as The Killing.

Additional content and information about the film, including an exclusive interview with Holland, providing insight into the events leading up to the fall of the Iron Curtain, are available online at www.kcet.org/burningbush and www.linktv.org/burningbush.

The miniseries will also rebroadcast on KCET on three consecutive Saturdays: Jan. 17, Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 at 10 p.m. PT.; and one night on Link TV on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. PT.

About KCET and Link Media Group

KCETLink Media Group, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed nationally via satellite on Link TV – DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410 – and on KCET in Southern and Central California via broadcast and cable, as well as through various digital delivery systems. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.

High School Students Produce Compelling PSAs to Express Views on Teen Parenthood, Bullying, Suicide

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on High School Students Produce Compelling PSAs to Express Views on Teen Parenthood, Bullying, Suicide

CHICAGO – Bullying, self-esteem and violence are life obstacles teens confront each day at school and in their community.  For teens, finding positive channels to express the impact these challenges have on them and their peers can be a feat.  One resource, however, is the Expressions Challenge, an initiative geared toward the creative arts which allows high school students to use their talents to communicate their life experiences.

Through this initiative, nine students will be recognized for their dynamic works on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at the Chicago Cultural Center from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and will have the chance to win $2,000.  Dignitaries, students, parents and teachers will be in attendance to honor these teens.

Nearly 800 high school students from Chicago and surrounding suburbs leveraged the Expressions Challenge to voice their opinion on topics of teen parenthood, self-worth, peer-to-peer bullying, and teen suicide. Students produced compelling PSAs, poems, essays, and artwork venting their pain and providing messages of hope to their peers.

The award recipients are:

Courtney Pugh– First Place Creative Writing – Homewood Flossmoor High School (freshmen)

Mariam Keita– Second Place Creative Writing – Winnie Mandela Options High School (sophomore)

Huy Tran– First Place Visual Arts – Mather High School (junior)

Manuel Espinoza– Second Place Visual Arts – Farragut Career Academy High School (senior)

Antwon Funches– First Place Media Arts – Simeon Career Academy (junior)

Crystal Woods, LaShaunta Moore, and Terrance Black – Second Place Media Arts – Percy L. Julian High School (seniors)

Dwayne Bryant, founder and CEO of Inner Vision International, an education and leadership development program for youth, will deliver the keynote address. Bryant felt it critical to partner with the Expressions Challenge initiative to help inspire youth to make healthier choices.  The benefit Bryant finds in Expressions is that it provides an avenue “such as expressive writing and visual arts [to curb] forms of aggression” teens bottle internally.

About Dwayne Bryant

Dwayne Bryant, founder and CEO of Inner Vision International, has impacted the lives of thousands of youth over a 15-year span. Through Bryant’s mission, through Inner Vision, is to motivate, educate, and inspire individuals to achieve their maximum potential in both their personal lives and the communities in which they live. For more information, please visit www.innervisioninternational.com

About Expressions Challenge

Expressions Challenge sponsored by Walgreens is an incentive based contest for high school teens ages 14 to 18 to showcase their creative perspective on sexual responsibility and healthy lifestyle choices. The Expressions Challenge motivates teens to voice their opinion on critical life issues they face daily, including bullying, through creative writing, visual arts and media arts. The contest runs from October 1 through November 30. For more information visit expressionschallenge.com.

New Lottery Marketing Strategy Results in Significant Sales Bump

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on New Lottery Marketing Strategy Results in Significant Sales Bump

Revised Strategy Focuses on Lottery Brand; Spurs 38.7 percent Holiday Instant Sales Surge

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Lottery instant sales and proceeds rebounded sharply in recent months, as a result of a return to marketing strategies that focus on the Lottery’s “Anything’s Possible”  brand and the good causes it supports, according to Lottery Director Michael Jones.  The strongest example of that success, which bolsters efforts to expand the Lottery’s player base, can be seen in the sale of holiday instant games, which increased nearly 40 percent last month compared to the previous December.

December 2014 holiday instant game sales totaled more than $34.7 million, a 38.7 percent increase over December 2013 holiday instant sales, which totaled $25.05 million.  Furthermore, overall instant game sales last month increased over the same period last year from $146.96 million to $163.44 million.

The holiday instant sales success can be attributed to the Lottery taking charge of marketing and advertising strategies last September, shortly after it was announced that the Lottery’s private manager would be replaced. The Lottery immediately stepped in and dramatically changed the Lottery’s creative messaging and media placement, directing the Lottery’s creative agencies, Downtown Partners and Commonground, to develop–for the first time ever–television creative to support one of the Lottery’s special cause games, Veterans Cash.

“Using TV to support a special cause game like Veterans Cash was a major part of an overall brand transformation,” said Jones. “We felt strongly that awareness of the essence of a lottery—small amount to play, long odds, large instant prizes, with the net proceeds going to a cause you select—would fuel interest in all of the Lottery’s games. “  Through its first nine weeks, sales of the latest Veterans Cash game, launched in November, totaled $2.05 million, some 42 percent higher than same-period sales for the previous Veterans Cash game.  During the same 9-week period, weekly sales for Lotto and Lucky Day Lotto grew 13 and 32 percent, respectively, demonstrating the impact the changes had on other key games in the lottery’s portfolio.

As part of the recent rebranding effort, the Lottery mandated the use of 2012’s wonderful holiday TV ad, an ad that includes footage from the town square in downstate Redbud, home to the largest prize ever awarded in Lottery history, $218 million from March of 2012.

“Of all the ads that the lottery did during its initial brand transformation, the ‘Red Bud’ Holiday ad generated the most word of mouth support,” said Jones.  “It generated awareness of a lottery supported by everyone, awarding large prizes through pure luck, and a realization that if you played and lost, your losses went to programs you chose to support.”

“The change in strategy that began in September is paying dividends for the Lottery and the causes it supports,” said Jones. “By emphasizing the Lottery brand and charting a new course in creative execution, we have realized dramatically improved sales and an improved overall lottery image.”

The growth in instant game sales derived largely from new brand advertising and marketing strategies reached a milestone in late December, nearly six months into Fiscal Year 2015. For most of the first six months of FY15, the Lottery’s year-over-year instant sales were down significantly compared to FY14.  As of January 5, however, FY15 instant sales were at $891.1 million for the year– 1.6 percent above the previous year.  “This represents a noteworthy turnaround that we hope to continue through the end of the fiscal year,” said Jones.

About Illinois Lottery

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $18 billion to the state Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund, which goes toward job creation, roads and bridges, and other capital projects. Players must be at least 18 years old.

Illinois Legislature Paves the Way for People to Pick Comptroller in 2016

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on Illinois Legislature Paves the Way for People to Pick Comptroller in 2016

Raoul: Next step is consolidation of offices for efficiency and savings

SPRINGFIELD, IL — With strong support from State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th), the Senate voted earlier today to let the people of Illinois choose a new comptroller in 2016. Now that the House has followed suit, the legislation calling for special elections to fill long-term vacancies of constitutional offices will go to the governor.

“This was clearly the right thing to do,” Raoul said. “The framers of Illinois’ constitution explicitly authorized the legislature to pass laws providing for special elections in cases like this, and we exercised that authority today to return power to the people. I look forward to continuing the conversation about consolidating government operations where appropriate — achieving both efficiency and savings — when the new General Assembly begins its work next week.”

Raoul has pledged to continue seeking approval of a constitutional amendment aimed at merging the statewide fiscal offices of treasurer and comptroller under a single elected official, called the Comptroller of the Treasury. A Senate committee discussed his current proposal this morning; a similar measure he sponsored received Senate approval in 2011.

Illinois was left without a comptroller or comptroller-elect when Judy Baar Topinka died last month. With no provision in state law for a special election, an unelected appointee picked by the incoming governor would serve as comptroller unless legislators act to give voters a say. House Bill 4576 would put the comptroller position back on the statewide ballot in 2016 so voters can pick who should serve out the final two years of Topinka’s term. An appointee would serve the first two years. The legislation would also close a loophole in state law by requiring a special election to fill any future vacancy in the statewide executive offices of attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller or treasurer if more than 28 months remain in the term.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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