Three Days Left, and So Close

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Sunday, January 29, 2017, 8:01 am
Alice Dreger, Publisher

When we started our sustainability drive about two months ago, we weren’t sure whether we’d find adequate community financial support for ELi’s public service. This morning, with less than three days left in our campaign to reach pledges equal to what we need to make it through 2017, we are close.

We’ve been helped by national events that have led many to understand just how valuable it is to have a reliable, independent press. And we’re honored that MSU Knight Journalism Professor Emeritus Jim Detjen has stepped up to help explain for our readers exactly what that means in terms of the work we do for East Lansing.

I very much hope you’ll read and share Professor Detjen’s statement.

But I’ll be honest: fundraising while also consistently reporting for you has left the core of the ELi team pretty exhausted. Besides functioning as our Managing Editor, expertly bringing the variety of local news you count on, Ann Nichols has been fundraising. Besides reporting on local government news, Chris Root and I have been fundraising. Besides proofing articles and keeping our calendar, Val Thonger and Ken Sperber have been fundraising. And Karessa Wheeler has had to keep up with schools for us while we’ve been too busy to be real back-up.

And oh my gosh, the news we’ve had to cover for you in the last month! Besides trying to make sure you know what’s going on in terms of quality-of-life-improving opportunities, we’ve had to keep up on the $94 million school bond proposal, the $148 million Park District proposal, the almost $200 million debt load of the City, the report of the Financial Health Team including with regard to an income tax, and the resignation of the superintendent and the appointing of an interim.

This is one reason we really need to achieve sustainability for 2017. We can’t realistically fundraise and do the work you want from us—the work we really want to do for you.

Right now, we have hundreds of people and two local, highly regarded businesses that have stood up to help the ELi team reach sustainability for 2017. Have you seen our remarkable list of over 420 supporters as it stands now?

So where are we on our sustainability campaign path?

Thanks to hundreds of generous local folks, we need only about $300/month more in pledges or $3,600 in lump-sum contributions (or a combination).

As I’ve explained before, when we combine that with what we have received in lump-sum contributions, that will get us to our must-have budget of $48,000 for the year.

So here’s what we need now to get us to that magic point—where our Board of Directors doesn’t have to make any difficult decisions:

If you’ve already contributed, we need you to tell people you think “get” ELi’s local news mission, to encourage them. Do this in person, via email, on Facebook, or however you talk to other folks. Remind people that, if they’ve already given, they can also up their pledges at PayPal or make a lump-sum contributions online or by check. (You can do those things too, of course.) Tell them why you contribute.

If you haven’t contributed, please consider doing so right now. Here’s how.

Thank you to those of you who have shown you believe, as I do, in the importance of this work to our community. I am so grateful that you have joined me in supporting the roughly 100 local people who, through ELi, have come together and worked so hard to bring you the news.

This community project has been amazing. We can demonstrate that it is a realistic model for our nation’s future. Let’s keep it going together.





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