Real Change's extended summer fund drive draws to a close this week. Beginning May 1st, we set an audacious goal of raising $160,000 by June 30. It's been an uphill climb. After extending the drive through July, we have raised $92,592.12 from a total of 487 supporters. This is more than encouraging, and is a measure of the huge community support that exists for our work.
Real Change is under extreme pressure, and conditions on the street have become exponentially dire in recent years. This has been reflected in vendors served. We now have between 425 and 450 vendors selling our paper each month, an increase of more than 50% in just two-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, our organizing has continued along two ambitious and challenging tracks that derive from one core value: people are not trash. We need to stop throwing poor people away. Now.
We have taken on a long-haul organizing project to find alternatives to an expensive proposed municipal jail. Poverty, race and incarceration are inseparably linked, and the six-fold over-representation of African Americans in King County Jail directly mirrors the racial disproportionality found among Seattle's homeless. We have also, through our support of Nickelsville and other survival campers, supported the nearly 3,000 homeless documented to exist outside of our overcrowded shelter system.
Real Change offers Seattle's poor and homeless an immediate, community-based means of self-help, while we fight for structural solutions to growing poverty and inequality. It's a big job, and despite our successes, we simply do not presently have the resources to sustain the work.
While not all problems have a solution, this one does. On July 31, the summer fund drive comes to a close, but our work to broaden Real Change's grassroots funding base will continue. The support is there and we intend to find it. The stakes are simply too high to do otherwise.
Thank you to our recent Summer Drive contributors. You make it happen: Evan Allen, Anonymous, Emmalee Ashland, Diane Roseman Baer, John and Anne Baisch, Sarah Batchler, Michelle and Thomas Bice, Charles and Shirley Bollinger, Pamela Bradburn, Anna Brandt, Brian and Rebecca Butler, Robert Stern and Dina Burstein, Joyce Cadwell, Diane Carleton, Allen Carpentry, Fai Coffin, Melisa Collinsworth, Cotton St. LLC, David Damstrom, Joan Davis, Carol Digardi, Martha Dilts, James Douglas and Sasha Harmon, Employee's Community Fund of Boeing Company, Beulah Frankel, Patricia Patterson and Dan Gallagher, Georgine Goldberg, Uriel Gutierrez, Jeannine Florance, Julia Gammon, David Golnick and Mary Grider, Mark Graf, Donna Hegstrom, Deena Henkins, Peter Heymann, Jerry James, Marion Kee, Annette Kim, Mary Jane Kniest and George M. Nelson, Robert Pence and Shirley Kolm, Leah Kosik, Tim Kuzma, Jane Levine, Edward Young and C. E. Litsey, Jacob Mans and Daniel Wilson, Theresa Martin, Metropolitan Democratic Club, Paul Lowance Niebanck and Linda Seivwright Niebanck, Kay Neth, John O'Reilly, Dudley and Anne Panchot, John and Teresa Petros, Alan Preston, Quorum Review, Ellen Ratajak, Dan Roberts, Anne Roffey, Tyler Ross, Lee Scheingold, Aaron Schneider, Herman and Rosalind Schuessler, Debra Schwartz, Vivien Sharpies, Lisa J. Shawver, Lauren Stern, Sally Stewart, Christine Stoll, Selina Sweet, Joseph Taccogna, James Tai, Timothy Tajchman, Erin Thatcher, Alison Thomas, James and Janice Thomas, Christine and Oscar Vilches, Tom Vincent, J. L. Viniko, Christine Vogeler, Carolyn Wallace, Jennifer Winkler, Heather Yancey Pens.