As the winter fund drive comes to a close, we are depending on the next few day's mail, coming up somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000 short of our $175K winter fund-drive goal. It's not as if people haven't been generous. More than 600 people have contributed since November 1, and on average we've raised more than $2,000 a day.
Our deep community support is one of our greatest strengths. Last year, the $440,000 we received through individual donations made up more than 67 percent of our total budget. Given the economic difficulties so many are having, our hope this year was to raise the same amount.
Real Change has recently been pressed up against the reality of growing need in a climate of diminishing resources. As more people, year after year, have come through our door in more profound states of need, our organization was pushed to the breaking point.
Over the past two years, we've addressed the capacity issues that threatened to take us down. We moved to a larger space that better serves the vendors and the needs of our growing staff. We've invested in core operations, upgraded essential technology and combed our budget to find tens of thousands of dollars in cost efficiencies. We've invested in volunteer management to make the best use of community resources.
And, even as these many changes were taking place, we made impressive gains in our work. We brought the paper to a new level of professionalism and quality with a new editor and investment in a new graphics and layout position. We opened an expanded computer lab and initiated new vendor workshops. We shot down an aggressive panhandling ordinance that would have further criminalized poverty and won the 2010 Seattle Human Rights Award.
Anyone who's paying attention knows that things are getting uglier. Survival services that have already been slashed to the bone will take deeper cuts or face complete elimination as the state, county and city face continued budget shortfalls over 2011 and probably beyond. The "new normal," apparently involves tossing the poor overboard.
In this final week of our fund drive, your 2010 year-end gift can help make the difference between holding the line or making painful choices about what parts of our work we have to sacrifice. If you've already done your part, you have our deepest thanks. If you can still help, this is the time we need you most.
Please visit realchangenews.org to make your secure year-end gift, or mail your support to Real Change
219 1st Ave S., Ste 220