There’s a lot to be worried about in 2020, but, happily, Real Change going broke isn’t one of them. Thanks to all the generous donors who make our work happen, our winter fund drive topped our $200,000 goal last week.
Over the last six weeks, 698 of you have contributed $202,551.33 to support our work.
That is a very, very big deal.
Every year, like most organizations, we draw up a budget. We look at what we’re doing and what it costs. We consult the strategic plan. We assess. Information migrates to spreadsheets. Ambitions are scaled to reality, and in the end, we commit to a number.
At Real Change, our annual costs are usually just under $1.26 million, or around $100,000 monthly.
We rely on readers like you for about 60 percent of that amount. Another 30 percent of our budget comes from the 60 cents your vendor pays for this newspaper. They couldn’t do that without you.
That means that nine of every 10 dollars that fund our work come from reader/vendor support.
Not advertisers. Not government. You, helping our vendors be successful, and taking a moment to care.
You provide work and community for about 600 people a year.
Every year, you put more than our annual budget directly into the pockets of our vendors.
You support a weekly newspaper of which our vendors can be proud. Your gifts mean that homeless people get heard. Through our advocacy. Through the newspaper. And through our Homeless Speakers Bureau.
And the amazing thing — the thing for which we will never stop being grateful — is that we can always count on your generous support to make this happen.
2020 is a make-or-break year. “Momentous” is the word that keeps coming up. For civil rights. For the environment. For challenging inequality. For demanding racial equity. For democracy. The stakes for the next year, even the next decade, are enormous.
There is no shortage of urgencies to demand your support. Everywhere we turn, it seems, the world is literally or figuratively on fire.
And yet, year after year, our community of supporters comes through. Just as you care for our vendors every time you buy a paper, your fund drive support makes this community possible.
Caring for others is one of the most direct means we have available of transcending the toxicity of our times. Daring to be uncomfortable. Stretching ourselves to be more alive and open to the joy and pain of this world.
I believe that our community support is strong because you see for yourselves the everyday difference that we make together in people’s lives.
You see the hope and dignity that our work makes possible and are committed to doing your part to support our vendors. This makes me feel both awed and grateful.
Real Change is a medium of social transformation.
All those small acts of kindness form webs of relationship. Those relationships help make people whole, and that is the stuff that a kinder, more compassionate world is made from.
Tens of thousands of small acts of caring, every month, is change that you can count on.
Thanks to you, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing, and growing our work and support.
We’ll keep being that place where people can find work and community and feel their own worth.
We’ll keep bringing people into action, and offering opportunities to live our values through small acts of everyday caring.
We’ll continue as an opportunity to open our hearts and aspire toward love, instead of shutting down and accepting hatred, division and fear.
We’ll be that door, open to everyone, where our vendors find people who believe in them, even when they don’t always believe in themselves.
We are grateful for all of you. We truly are in this together.
Tim Harris is the Founding Director Real Change and has been active as a poor people’s organizer for more than two decades. Prior to moving to Seattle in 1994, Harris founded street newspaper Spare Change in Boston while working as Executive Director of Boston Jobs with Peace. He can be reached at director (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read the full Jan. 8-14 issue.
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