With Big Boost from MSU Students, ELi Gets Closer to Year-End Financial Goal

Friday, December 6, 2019, 9:21 am
By: 
Alice Dreger, Publisher

The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) voted unanimously last night to contribute $3,000 to East Lansing Info’s sustainability campaign for reporting in 2020. The decision to lend support right now came in part because ELi has matching funds to double all donations through the end of 2019.

ASMSU’s Vice President for Governmental Affairs Maysa Sitar sponsored the bill to support ELi. The bill noted that “local news organizations are vital to the strength of local democracies, but many are struggling to keep afloat.” It praised ELi as “a great aid to the governmental affairs office” of ASMSU and “a consistent and dependable news organization.”

Before the vote, Sitar told her fellow students that, by her calculation, the amount she was proposing to donate in support of ELi – namely $2,500 for a year – came to only about $5 per article used by the government relations team of ASMSU.

“ELi is an active voice for transparency in this city,” Sitar told the room when the bill came to the floor just before 10 p.m.

She noted that ELi covered the ASMSU City Council candidates’ debate, that ELi reports steadily on City Council, and that ELi “gets us lots of information that we otherwise wouldn’t be privy to,” including through regular use of the Freedom of Information Act.

The bill’s cosponsor, Ryan Aridi, called the donation “an investment from all of us” in support of the work done by Sitar and her office.

After watching ELi’s new video about our work and having their questions answered by me as ELi’s Publisher, following a motion by Rep. Logan Krause, the students voted to increase the support level to $3,000.

The vote was then taken, with 33 members voting in favor of the support, and none against.

Following up on questions about collaboration from Rep. Adam Green, the group also indicated strong interest in working in other ways to support ELi’s work, including in ways that can help bridge town-gown divides.

With matching funds from local core donors, this ASMSU donation brings us $6,000 closer to our goal of $125,000 in donations, pledges, and monthly commitments. If ELi can raise that amount, the organization’s leadership can guarantee a full year of high-quality reporting for East Lansing in 2020.

As of this morning, donors have given or pledged about $51,000 towards the $125,000 goal.

Five years’ experience indicates that this is a good sign for this point in the fundraising cycle, but ELi’s fundraising team will have to keep pushing hard to reach the goal.

There are multiple ways to assist ELi in its sustainability campaign for 2020:

  • Every lump-sum donation is matched if made before midnight on December 31.
  • Every new monthly commitment is matched at the annual rate, so a $20 monthly commitment becomes $480 for ELi. (That’s $240 from you in 2020, and $240 match.)
  • If we can obtain donations from 100 new donors in this cycle – donating in any amount, even as small as a onetime donation of $10 – we can obtain thousands of dollars in bonuses from NewsMatch. Right now, we have 44 new donors in this cycle.

To donate right now, click here to see your options.

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