By Stephen Drachler
It’s nice to have a home – and a partner.
After about eight years of basically working by myself and for myself, it is wonderful to join my friend John Denny as a Denny Civic Solutions partner. Some would say – maybe not quite so much in jest – that we’ve become partners in crime.
Our crime – or really our passion – is our commitment to do whatever we can to champion the underdog. Helping good causes do great things through civic campaigns is what we do. We become part of the client’s team, taking their idea (which may be on nobody’s priority list) and making it a must-do on everybody’s list.
John and I have really come to know – and like – each other over the past several years. We sort of knew each other from my days as a reporter covering Pennsylvania politics and John’s work as Pennsylvania campaign manager for George H.W. Bush’s successful 1988 election effort (the last time a Republican Presidential candidate carried PA, by the way).
But our friendship – and the mutual discovery that we’re both steadfastly, stubbornly committed to the underdog – began to grow as we worked together to champion budgetary priorities when I was director of United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania, and he began to develop the statewide outreach of the Campaign for What Works. It really blossomed when he brought me on to help the Campaign in its successful drive to change the name of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services. That name change officially takes place on Nov. 24.
We know there is an important niche for our work. We’ve learned – from both our life and work experience – that it’s rarely possible to achieve big things by yourself. Take, for example, the work we just did in getting 6,000 homeless infants in PA automatic tracking and early intervention services. We helped build a coalition of homeless advocates, early intervention providers, religious leaders, medical experts, and education and business leaders. When individuals and organizations work together, they can succeed and move change forward. And (not coincidentally) they can have fun doing it.
We are having great fun right now working alongside an amazing new organization – The Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank – that is seeking to help infants who need human breast milk in order to survive and thrive. They will be the only community-based milk bank in Pennsylvania. This will be just the start, we hope, of a statewide effort to supply lifesaving milk to infants in severe need.
I know from personal experience – as the proud granduncle of a beautiful little baby boy who needed supplemental mothers’ milk while in a NICU – how vital a human milk bank is to babies facing difficulty. Thank goodness his hospital (in another state) had access to a milk bank.
Mothers’ milk is in short supply everywhere. The Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank sees an opportunity to fill an important need for babies. They are organizing, raising funds, and educating the public of this life-saving need and opportunity. Denny Civic Solutions is so glad to be part of this effort.
You too can be part of the solution. Help these babies and their moms get through their crises. They have a great video as part of their awesome new crowdfunding effort that shows what they are doing, and gives everyone an opportunity to be part of it. Watch the video. It will touch your heart.
Efforts like this one, where we’re fighting on the right side of history for the things that really matter, are what have made my career so very satisfying until now. And they’re the very same things that will make my work with Denny Civic Solutions not just the continuation, but also the culmination, of a body of work that’s dedicated to watching out for the little guys – in every sense of the word.