For Immediate Release: Monday, November 5, 2012
MoveOn Civic Action is proud to announce the selection of Robert Applebaum, director of Student Debt Crisis, as the winner of the first-ever MoveOn Petitions Opportunity Grant. Robert was awarded $10,000 to continue his groundbreaking work for student debt forgiveness.
In September 2011, Robert started a petition on MoveOn Petitions calling for the forgiveness of student loan debt. Robert's petition tapped into a deep well of grassroots outrage and quickly became one of the fastest-growing viral petitions in the history of the Internet. At last count, Robert's petitions have over 1.3 million signers on MoveOn Petitions, and his support is growing every day.
But Robert didn't just stop with a petition. He asked his petition signers to write letters to the editor, join Occupy protests, email the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, register, vote, and more.
When President Obama announced his "Pay As You Earn" executive order to lower the cost of student debt for 1.6 million people, the White House specifically stated that the policy came in part in response to Robert's petition.
"Robert Applebaum proved what we at MoveOn believed all along: Given an opportunity, regular folks working together can change the world," said MoveOn Petitions Director Steven Biel.
The MoveOn Petitions Opportunity Grant allowed Robert to launch an organization called Student Debt Crisis, which is working with progressive champions in Congress to pass legislation offering real student debt forgiveness to those most in need.
"MoveOn Petitions's generous grant to Student Debt Crisis has allowed us to build a brand new website, re-brand and design a new logo, build and maintain a reliable list of dedicated activists, and write and produce a number of videos pertaining to student debt," said Applebaum. "All of these efforts have resulted in a broad and ever-growing coalition of concerned citizens dedicated to finding a better way to pay for higher education. And we're just getting started!"
MoveOn Civic Action plans to continue providing financial support to grassroots progressive campaigns and will soon begin inviting other MoveOn Petitions petition leaders to apply for support from the MoveOn Petitions Opportunity Fund.
"We launched MoveOn Petitions to allow anyone to start and run their own MoveOn-style online campaign," said Biel. "We look forward to taking that support to the next level by providing essential financial resources to as many grassroots progressives across the country as we can."
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