Individually We Are Unique, Together We Are Amazing
Tricia Sullivan’s customers sometimes look at her and question their own economic security. She’s educated, well-spoken, and looks like she might buy her Real Change from a vendor at Wholefoods or PCC. There isn’t a lot standing between them and her.
But when Tricia’s small business failed, the bad news kept coming, and her once normal life went into free fall. Homeless and living at Nickelsville, she wondered how this could have happened to her.
Then she went to work as a Real Change vendor. She got herself into housing, and back to the business of building her dreams.
The people Tricia met in Pioneer Square were there — as friends and customers — to extend a hand when she needed it most. Now Tricia is here for Real Change. She received the 2013 Vendor of the Year award for her inspiring work and leadership, and recently joined our Board of Directors.
Real Change is creating opportunity and a voice for vendors like Tricia, and taking effective action to make the change we all need.
This has been a year of incredible success, and your support made it happen:
• Our vendors got a raise. When the price of Real Change went up last April for the first time in 19 years, vendors went from making 65 cents to $1.40 on each paper sold. Vendors now earn more money in less time.
• We opened up new distribution locations in Kitsap and East King Counties. Through partnerships with Kitsap Rescue Mission in Bremerton and Congregations for the Homeless in Bellevue, Real Change now reaches more people than ever.
• Our high quality newspaper claimed 11 first place journalism awards. Our reputation for journalistic excellence reached new heights this year as we were recognized for excellence by the Washington Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Street Newspaper Association.
• We invested in advocacy to become more grassroots and vendor-focused, and organized for real wins. Since Real Change added an organizer this year, more than 85 vendors have become involved in our advocacy. We defended free speech by filing Real Change vs. City of Seattle in Federal Court, and with the help of the ACLU won the right to hold overnight protest encampments in city parks. We helped extend critical survival services through a pressure campaign that included regular sleep-outs, marches, and petitioning of policymakers.
• We’ve continued to innovate, developing a smart phone app that will quickly and securely allow cashless and digital purchase of Real Change. One of the biggest threats to vendor success is the growing trend toward electronic purchasing. We expect to release our mobile application in the first quarter of 2014, and to share this new technology with other street newspapers around the world.
You make all of this possible. Real Change relies on reader donations for more than half of our $1.1 million budget. This year, we need to raise $160,000 during our winter fund drive to stay on track. Our award-winning newspaper, our effective organizing, and our creative expansion of vendor opportunity all depend upon your generous support.
Please give generously to support work with dignity, quality journalism, and courageous advocacy. To help us reach our goal, a major donor challenge pool will match donations of $250 or more until the fund is exhausted.
Your gift will make our 2014 twentieth anniversary the most successful year Real Change has ever seen. We’re in this together, and your support is vital.
About Real Change
Real Change exists to provide opportunity and a voice for low-income and homeless people while taking action for economic justice.(Read more...)