FEX Launches Donor Ed Program in Support of Campaign for a Fair Settlement

    Last week, a “50 State settlement,” aka the “Mortgage Servicing Deal” was made between the Obama administration, the banking industry and state Attorneys General in order to chip away at the foreclosure crisis.  Improvements to the deal, including investigations of large banks and some monetary relief to state agencies for mortgage counseling and education, resulted from grassroots organizing and beltway pressure led by the Campaign for a Fair Settlement and its ambassadors, Attorneys General Eric Schneiderman (NY), Beau Biden (DE), Kamal Harris (CA), Catherine Cortez-Masta (NV), Martha Coakley (MA) and Lori Swanson (MN).

    Funding Exchange (FEX) is a philanthropic partner, supporting the grassroots organizing through our collective dollars.  We want to involve you as a stakeholder in determining how to best leverage our support.  As with our Rapid Response dollars, the way FEX shows up in efforts like this is through the collective support for change; this commitment to movement building is what keeps us involved into the long haul.  Our nimble structure allows us to help donors get money where it is needed quickly.  With your help, we collected over $10,000 for the Occupy Movement, a leaderful movement fighting for economic justice in the U.S.  Just five months later, we are launching our Donor Political Education Program, focusing first on the foreclosure crisis.

>> Our first community call will be on February 27 from 5-6p EST, 2-3p Pacific Time. To RSVP click here or email Becky Rafter at brafter@fex.org.

    Under the recently announced settlement, only 1 million of the 14.5 million impacted homeowners will see relief from this deal – and even then, very few dollars in direct recompense.  Therefore, as the short-term victories are celebrated, Campaign for a Fair Settlement continues to exert pressure on Washington, and on the states hardest hit by the crisis, to enact more equitable provisions.  In fact, three of the six targeted states are situated in areas covered by FEX network funds: Fund for Southern Communitites (NC), Bread and Roses Community Fund (eastern PA), Three Rivers Community Foundation (western PA) and Wisconsin Community Fund (WI).  The politics of this campaign are changing rapidly, and FEX is here to keep you up-to-date and in the thick of it.

    At the same time as FEX is in support of the policy efforts behind the campaign, we are also aware of the radical and very necessary eviction-defense work and home re-occupations being mounted by a host of organizations, community groups and Occupy Wall Street across the country.  FEX believes that this is a “both and” moment in U.S. organizing history and hope you will join us as we kick off our 2012 Donor Political Education Series with this special conversation between two strategies supported by Funding Exchange. The conversation will take place between Rob Robinson of Take Back the Land, Katrina Gamble with Leadership Center for the Common Good and Bill Lipton with Campaign for a Fair Settlement.

    This call embodies FEX’s commitment to movement building.  We see it as a great opportunity to participate in a dynamic dialogue between organizers of two very different sides of the same critical issue, and to have a meaningful conversation about the movement we are all building together.  This is donor education, but more than that, it’s an opportunity for dynamic dialogue and making change.  At FEX we aim to revolutionize giving by democratizing the discussion–so that it’s never just about experts reporting in (or making important funding decision in a vacuum) but that we each contribute to in our own ways.  Therefore, for this strategic dialogue, you as stakeholders will have space to share your opinions, expertise, ideas – in addition to your questions.  We hope you will join the special call!

Again, click here to RSVP and to receive call-in instructions.

Speaker Bios

Rob Robinson is a Special Advisor to the Campaign to Restore National Housing Rights supported by the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). NESRI works in partnership with communities, to build a broad movement for economic & social rights, including health, housing, education and work with dignity.  Rob is a founding member of Take Back the Land national movement and a member of the US Human Rights Network.  He spent two years, homeless in Miami and ten months in a New York City homeless shelter.  Eventually he escaped from homelessness and has been in the housing movement in NYC since 2007. He has worked with several coalitions including the Right to the City Alliance and Metro-IAF to name a few. He has worked with groups doing similar work in South Africa, Brazil, Budapest Hungary and Berlin Germany. In 2009 he was chosen to be the New York City chairperson for the official visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. He also facilitated an all day session with the Department of State in advance of the Universal Periodic Review at Columbia Law School on February 26, 2010. In December 2008, he completed a course with People’s Production House and the Community News Production Institute and has been a member of a social justice media collective which produces and airs a monthly radio show over WBAI in NYC called Global Movements Urban Struggles.

Katrina Gamble, PhD is the political director for the Leadership Center for the Common Good.  Common Good is a national organization that provides training and support to grassroots organizations in 17 states around the country.  Gamble joined Common Good in July 2010. Prior to arriving at Common Good she was an assistant professor at Brown University.  She taught and conducted research on race, gender and identity politics in the United States.  Her work on race and political representation can be found in top-peer reviewed journals. Most recently she published a chapter in Whose Black Politics: Cases in Post-Racial Black Leadership (Routledge) on Race, gender and political leadership. She also has a chapter forthcoming co-authored with Marion Orr on Latino-Black political and economic coalition building in En Ciencia Política: The Scientific Analysis of Latino Politics in the United States (NYU Press). In 2009-10 she was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow where she served as a policy adviser in the Office of the Majority Whip for James E. Clyburn (D-SC).  She serves on the advisory board of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform’s Center for Education Organizing and the editorial board for the State of Black Arizona.

Bill Lipton is currently Deputy Director of the Working Families Organization, a grassroots coalition of labor and community organizations that fights for working-class and middle class families. As Deputy Director, Bill has been a key architect of the Working Families since it’s founding. building innovative issue campaigns that combine grassroots organizing, creative media, coalition building and lobbying. Bill has led campaigns to raise the minimum wage, reform right-wing drug laws, pass ‘green jobs’ legislation and make the state tax code more progressive. Bill has a Masters in Political Science from Columbia University, and has won fellowships from Echoing Green, Charles H. Revson and Rockwood.

Press Release:


Imperfect Settlement Greatly Improved After Efforts by Key Attorneys General, Progressive Groups to Limit Legal Immunity for Banks, Strengthen Enforcement, Improve Benefits for Homeowners

New investigations by feds, states should help win much larger program to reset mortgages to fair market value and fix the economy

The Campaign for a Fair Settlement, a coalition of progressive organizations nationally and in states hard hit by the foreclosure crisis working to hold banks accountable for their role in the foreclosure crisis, and protect homeowners and taxpayers, released the following statement on the Mortgage Servicing Deal made public today between Wall Street banks, state attorneys general and the Obama administration:

“While we have always believed that a full investigation of banks should precede any deal, this foreclosure deal accomplishes our central goal: severely limiting legal immunity for banks so multiple investigations into the role of banks in crashing the economy and housing market can proceed unimpeded.

“A full and unfettered investigation that exposes the true scope of fraudulent and criminal practices by big banks in creating the mortgage mess is the only way to win justice for the harm caused in the economic crisis and to win a plan to help all homeowners by resetting mortgages to fair market value on a scale that approaches the $700 billion in negative home equity created by the banks.

“Progressive groups nationwide are uniting in an unprecedented campaign to fix the economy for middle class homeowners by winning a program to reset mortgages to fair market value that is significantly larger than the relief in this deal.

“While the settlement is imperfect and key details have not yet come to light, the terms are greatly improved thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York, along with Attorneys General Kamala Harris of California, Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada, Beau Biden of Delaware, Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, Lori Swanson of Minnesota. Because of their strong efforts to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of homeowners in their states, and because of the efforts of progressive organizations nationwide,  there is no question that this is a better deal for homeowners and taxpayers today than when negotiations began.

“Positive terms of the deal include:

1.       Limiting legal immunity to banks to narrow robo-signing issues, paving the way for multiple investigations of the residential mortgage backed securities market.

2.       No waiver of claims by the state of New York in the lawsuit announced last week over the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

3.       Homeowners retain their rights of action against banks and servicers, now with $2.7 billion in guaranteed money to states for home counseling, legal and foreclosure services.

4.       A down payment toward mortgage relief to homeowners in state impacted by the foreclosure crisis for refinancing, loan modifications and principal reduction.

Concerns with the deal

The deal contains several troubling provisions:

  1. It provides only $1.5 billion in restitution for victims of foreclosure. While this money will provide some help to some homeowners, this amount is not nearly enough to compensate homeowners for their losses caused by the irresponsible and predatory behavior of Wall Street banks.
  2. The enforcement provisions, while strengthened by the appointment of a federal monitor, remain murky at best. We are committed to holding the banks accountable to this deal and will demand significant penalties for banks that fail to comply.

Next Steps

“Now, under the leadership of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the new mortgage crisis investigative unit created by President Obama must move ahead aggressively to hold Wall Street banks accountable for their role in crashing our economy, and secure overdue relief for Americans who have seen their home values plummet.

“Additionally, we urge continued muscular efforts by all state attorneys general to investigate the banks, and to pressure Wall Street to pay for the damage it has done to taxpayers, homeowners and the economy.

“Four years after the housing crash, it is outrageous that there has been no real investigation into banks’ fraudulent practices and no indictments of the bankers who crashed the economy, destroyed home values and killed millions of American jobs.

“It is critical for the administration to put the full weight and resources of the federal government behind a thorough investigation to demonstrate it has the political will to do what’s right for middle class homeowners and the economy.”

The Campaign for a Fair Settlement is a coalition of progressive organizations nationally and in states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis working to hold banks accountable for their role in the foreclosure crisis, and protect homeowners and taxpayers.

More about fair settlement:

Washington Post’s Schneiderman: Settlement deal a `small’ but significant step towards accountability