by Ronald E. Milliman, Chair, MMS Program Committee
Would you like to be able to help your state affiliate or an affiliate of your choice, and at the same time assist the ACB at the national level? Well, now you can by participating in the greatly improved, "Two-for-One," Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) Program.
In its most recent meeting, held October 1 and 2, 2005, in Louisville, Ky., the ACB board unanimously approved a major change in the MMS Program that should meet with widespread acceptance by all of us who are members of the ACB and by all of our non-member supporters. But before I go into the changes, I want to describe the MMS Program for those who may not know what it is.
The Monthly Monetary Support Program is a way for each of us to support our organization financially with whatever amount we can afford on a monthly basis. An amount we designate and completely control is automatically deducted from our bank, credit card or debit card account each month by ACB and is used to fund the many critical needs of our organization. We control the amount that we give and from which account it is taken. It begins when we indicate we want it to start and ends when we let ACB headquarters know we want it to end. In the past, all amounts given to the ACB by participating in this funding program went entirely to support ACB national activities. However, as of the most recent ACB board meeting, there has been a very significant change in the MMS Program, greatly improving it and making it even more attractive for each of us to participate.
Now, when you take part in the program, the funds are deducted from the account you designate on a monthly basis, as before, but with the change implemented by the ACB board, you can designate all of the funds to the national organization or designate an amount up to 50 percent of the net amount of your deduction to be given to an affiliate of your choice. You can help two levels of our organization with one monthly deduction, thus, two-for-one! The affiliate you choose can be any of the state affiliates or any other ACB affiliate you wish.
At the national level, we need funds to support our many programs that help all of us. For example, each issue of "The Braille Forum" requires several thousand dollars to create, publish in the many alternate formats and distribute to our members and others who share common interests in blindness issues. Funds are needed to pay the salaries of our national staff that are so totally dedicated to our efforts and do such a yeoman's job with everything they do. Funds are needed to pay rents on the space for our offices and the related utility bills. Our staff is busy every minute of the working day fighting for our rights, for new programs that will be in our best interest, fighting to maintain existing laws and programs that benefit blind people, to expand the use of audible traffic signals, to increase the use of audio description for TV and movies, to at least maintain or increase our SSI and SSDI benefits, fighting to increase our employment opportunities, and for many, many other issues and programs. Without the diligence and never-ending efforts of the ACB staff, we would all be much worse off. The ACB staff is our voice on Capitol Hill, and we need to support them by helping to fund their efforts.
There are no limits as to how small or large of a contribution you can make. Some members can afford more or less than others, and we certainly realize and respect that. All we are asking is that you help fund your affiliate and our national programs with whatever monthly amount you can afford. You can call the ACB financial office at 1-800- 866-3242 and have a form sent to you, or alternatively, you can access the forms on our ACB web site at: http://www.acb.org/mms.html.
To kick this new, two-for-one MMS Program off, I will challenge each of you by pledging $1 per month for each new MMS Program enrollee that enrolls from now through the end of this year up to $100 per month. In other words, if 74 of you enroll between now and December 31, I will have $74 deducted from my own bank account each month, starting in January. In any event, I will personally enroll in the MMS program for a minimum of $25 per month!! Again, it makes no difference if you enroll for $5 per month or $50 per month. We value everyone's contributions equally!