San Francisco (June 21, 2021) - Today, Common Sense, the nation's leading nonprofit advocacy organization that protects kids and families in the digital age, announced the launch of the Campaign for America's Children, a $10 million public awareness initiative designed to ensure that lower- and middle-income families are aware of thousands of dollars in benefits for them made available through President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
The Campaign for America's Children will include paid media (example), grassroots outreach, and digital media campaigns, including support from athletes and influential figures in Hollywood, to make sure Americans know about the new benefits and how to access them. Initial efforts on the ground will begin in Arizona, California, Georgia, and West Virginia, with plans to expand as additional funds are raised..
Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 10 million children, or 14% of kids living in the United States, were considered poor, according to recent child poverty statistics. Research clearly shows that children who live in poverty for any amount of time can suffer negative lifelong consequences, including lower earnings and educational attainment levels, and poorer health. The new campaign gives Common Sense and its supporters the best chance to ensure that as many eligible families as possible get the help they need following the economic impact of the pandemic.
The campaign is highlighting the American Rescue Plan that President Biden proposed to Congress and that was enacted in March, but it is particularly focused on the newly increased child tax credit, which will benefit nearly 90% of America's children, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and could cut child poverty nearly in half. Individuals who filed their 2019 or 2020 tax returns will start receiving direct monthly child tax credit payments from the IRS on or about July 15. But for millions of families that have yet to file their taxes, or who did not list a young dependent on their previous return, the campaign will serve as a reminder that it's not too late to get up to $300/month per child deposited in their bank accounts or sent to them at home. In addition, families who enroll in the new child tax credit now can access thousands of dollars in COVID relief stimulus payments for them and their children that they might have missed if they did not file a tax return.
Common Sense will use a combination of paid media, digital campaigns, and direct outreach to encourage eligible families to learn about the American Rescue Plan benefits by visiting the campaign's website (www.campaignforamericaschildren.com), where they can access the IRS's newly created child tax credit portal and apply for advance child tax credit payments. The campaign site also provides information about other benefits funded in the American Rescue Plan and other recent legislation, such as funding for affordable high-speed internet and devices at home, child care, food assistance, and rental assistance.
'The American Rescue Plan is the most historic piece of legislation for America's children and families in more than fifty years,' said Common Sense founder and CEO James P. Steyer. 'Now that President Biden and Congress have made the financial commitment to support America's families this year, we're excited to work with the administration and other leaders and organizations across the country, many of whom have dedicated their life's work to advocating on behalf of poor and underserved communities. In concert with other groups and individual advocates, we're going to use every resource at our disposal to make sure these new benefits reach the families that need them most. And we are going to be very clear with the administration and Congress that families are counting on them to extend these benefits, and to make the new child tax credit permanent, so that the gains we make this year will not be lost.'
During the initial launch, Common Sense's paid advertising campaign will feature a texting program, grassroots outreach and public service announcements distributed across cable and broadcast platforms. Additionally, the nonprofit is partnering with a number of groups who have direct contact with eligible families, including the NAACP, Educare early childhood centers, Code for America, the California Association of Food Banks, Sheltering Arms of Georgia, the Children's Defense Fund ABC Coalition, the Economic Security Project, and other organizations that are leading the way to help lift underserved communities out of poverty.
The campaign also includes partnerships with dedicated celebrities, like Rosario Dawson and Alyssa Milano, Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings, child tax credit champions U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and other influencers who will use their social media platforms to encourage their millions of followers to learn more about the economic boost provided by the American Rescue Plan.
After the July 4 holiday, the campaign will go into full swing over the next six months to help mobilize community outreach in targeted communities, such as in Phoenix and Atlanta. In partnership with Educare Arizona and Southwest Human Development, for example, Common Sense will help to ensure that lower-income families in early childhood education settings learn about the child tax credit and other benefits and get assistance enrolling if they need it. In Arizona, 215,000 children, or 13% of kids under the age of 18, are considered poor, according to fact sheets released by the White House to highlight the impact the further investments proposed by President Biden's American Families Plan could have in the state.
The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act is considered one of the most transformational pieces of domestic policy in generations for children and families in lower- and middle-income homes. The benefits extended by the American Rescue Plan and President Biden's proposed American Family Plan will lift millions of children out of poverty, help schools to reopen, and close the digital divide for students and teachers at home. Common Sense was instrumental in securing American Rescue Plan bill funding to support broadband at home for K-12 students, and also was a strong voice on the historic increase in the child tax credit.
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn more at commonsense.org
Lisa Cohen, Common Sense Media