Alice Dreger Stops Reporting for ELi

Friday, December 20, 2019, 10:16 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

We are making progress toward ELi’s 2020 Sustainability Campaign goal – we are at about 60 percent! But because our matching funds expire on December 31, at this point I need to cease reporting (which kills me) only to fundraise. So today, I’m going to give you my Top 10 reasons to join me today in giving to ELi, so you can get me out of jail!

We fund local employment. Some of us (like me) volunteer labor for ELi – that’s how we keep expenses so low. But the people who get paid to work for ELi need the income. Income from ELi is being used to pay for rent, tuition, groceries, and medical co-pays. I am not just giving these examples as hypotheticals – I happen to know that these are real personal expenses being paid with ELi employment.

Most of the money you give goes to pay local people. Consistently about 85 percent of your donated dollars goes to pay local people to bring you the news. The money stays here. It doesn’t go to some far-off corporate “news” headquarters or some far-off abusive factory.

The jobs we provide are meaningful. Our reporters tell me all the time how grateful they are to have meaningful work – doing an important service for the people of their own community, using their brains, their democratic rights, and upping their listening, research, and writing skills in the process.

Nobody else brings you the news like we do. Nobody else is consistently going to City Council, School Board, the DDA and telling you what the heck is happening around here. If we disappear, so much information flow will disappear.

We shine bright lights. A person on an East Lansing commission recently noted to me that he sees how people on his commission behave differently when they know there is an ELi reporter and ELi photojournalist Raymond Holt in the room – they know we’re going to tell people what is happening. We believe that leads to more responsible, more attentive government.

Nobody else explains it like we do. We don’t just tell you what’s happening – we explain it. We explain things like the background of the wastewater treatment plant whistleblower case, the federal lawsuit involving the City Attorney’s retaining wall, the debt on the DDA’s Evergreen properties. We explain how decisions get made.

We get your questions answered. Wondering what’s happening with a development project? Want to know why your taxes seem to have gone up again when you thought they were going down? Want to know what that smell is? “Ask ELi to Investigate” and we will.

We get people to vote in a more educated fashion. We bring you real campaign finance information. And this year the League of Women Voters and ASMSU took questions submitted by ELi readers and used them to shape the questions they asked of Council candidates. We then brought you reports on the answers.

We push for transparency. We don’t just shrug our shoulders when citizens’ petitions go missing. We push until they show back up. We track where there is progress and backsliding on transparency, and we work hard to find out what you have the right to know.

“It is BY my friends in East Lansing FOR my friends in East Lansing.” That’s a quote from Jodi Spicer from Thanksgiving, when she sent me a note about “why I am grateful for ELi!” We are all about community.

Listen: Our matching funds expire soon! When the clock strikes midnight December 31, our matching funds programs cease. Right now, we’ve got donations and commitments of about $75,000 toward the $125,000 goal, with $29,000 in matching funds left.

I need your help right now. Make a monthly commitment and we can match it at the ANNUAL rate. Make a lump-sum donation and we can DOUBLE it. Bundle together a team of three or more (any adults, including your spouse!) to contribute a $500 bundle and we can TRIPLE that.

Join me in the joy of ELi, the gift that keeps giving to East Lansing!

Starting tomorrow, you will see posted at the top of ELi’s newsfeed a report that will give you a running update on our fundraising progress.

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