MAPE members, locals give back in big ways

Publish Date

In a year where many have adapted to doing more with less, MAPE members have gone above and beyond in giving back – to the tune of nearly $33,000 donated to local charities. Though many MAPE locals regularly incorporate charitable giving into their annual budgets, this year’s generosity goes unmatched.

Much of those donations filtered through the new “Bread and Roses” campaign, the title an homage to the 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile workers’ strike. Workers, primarily women and children, carried banners in the streets reading “we want bread, and roses, too!” which would later give the strike its name.

The Bread and Roses idea was born during a Local Presidents Committee meeting earlier this spring.

“At that meeting, at the beginning of COVID-19, a lot of presidents were saying their locals were interested in donating to charities. It was a beautiful outpouring of support because everybody was saying members really want to donate and we wanted to find a way to do it,” said Andy Trcka, President of MAPE Local 801. “Some locals don’t have a lot of capacity to donate, so we said it’d be neat to make it easier for locals to donate and that’s how we reached out to (MAPE Statewide Treasurer) Todd Maki and came up with the Bread and Roses idea.”

Bread and Roses is simply a pool of funds from contributing locals that are dispersed to various charities voted on by donating participants. The mission of the campaign was originally solely COVID-19 relief, but after the death of George Floyd, social justice causes were also added to the list of “approved recipient organizations.”

“The neat thing about this is every MAPE local has full control - they decide if they want to participate, how much to donate, which charities are considered and how the funds are distributed,” Trcka said. “Any local can give – even if their budgets only allow for a tiny contribution, it’s pooled with gifts from other locals to make the biggest impact in our communities.”

So far four locals have contributed, but Maki said now is the perfect time for locals to plan charitable giving into their 2021 local budgets.

“Statewide we have been spending a lot less money on food and transportation costs since the pandemic started, so it’s really fantastic to see locals spending some of those unused dollars on charity,” Maki said. “From the Alexandra House to the YWCA of Minneapolis, it’s pretty cool to see how these dollars are going to those who need them most. It’s a big way for MAPE locals to continue stepping up for Minnesotans.”

There are two ways locals can contribute to the Bread and Roses campaign: MAPE can write a check on behalf of the local or locals can use their local checkbook.

“It’s awesome to see my local and other locals, despite all the cloudiness, that we’re generous in giving and it makes me feel good about MAPErs and state employees,” Trcka added.

Beyond Bread and Roses

Another local giving generously in a big way beyond the Bread and Roses campaign is MAPE Local 301. At their local meeting earlier this month, members contributed more than $1,200 to the Domestic Abuse Project, an amount that will be matched up to $1,000 by the local to equal a $2,200 donation to the project.

The proverbial passing of the hat is not a new practice for this local; in 2018 the local matched $300 in member donations, in 2019 the local matched $500.

“It was definitely a challenge to not be able to pass the hat and get donations in person,” said Local 301 Treasurer Anne Morris. “But in December we saw we’d hit $1,000, so we passed a motion to match up to $1,000, the max amount we can donate to one organization in a year.” 

The local gave members a month to contribute either by sending in checks or processing digital payment to their executive team members. More than 30 members contributed, and the donations will be mailed to the chosen organizations later this month.

“The generosity of our members seems boundless,” Morris said. “Every time we come up with a plan, instead of push back, there is a question of, ‘What more can we do to help others?’ During these challenging COVID-19 times, the kindness of the people that make up MAPE keeps me going.”