An anonymous check for $10,000, dated Dec. 31, 2012, showed up in the mail last week. While this would be cause for celebration under pretty much any circumstances, what this particular check means is that we’ve met our huge Winter Fund Drive goal. Amazing. Since mid-November, 761 people have contributed a total of $150,754 to support our work.
This doesn’t mean we have buckets of cash sitting around or that our money worries are over. It costs around $75,000 a month to run this place.
By the time we launch the Spring Drive this May, we’ll likely be hitting the line of credit to make payroll. But we have enough, and that’s all anyone really needs.
Reaching our goal also means that when our board members meet this month to approve the final budget for 2013, they’ll be thinking about all the great things we can do this year, as opposed to the things we can’t.
They’ll be thinking about our plans to expand distribution of the paper to Kitsap County and to cities on the eastside like Bellevue and Kirkland, and all the new vendors and readers this will bring into our work.
They’ll be thinking of the new organizer we’re hiring next month, and what that will mean for our advocacy efforts. Additional organizing staff means having the capacity to build the relationships that add up to grassroots power. It means Real Change can stand up for the survival needs of the poorest, advocate for more affordable housing, and build the more just economy that can truly end homelessness.
The board members will also be thinking of changes we’re making to offer our vendors a more livable wage.
This includes an app for iPhone and Android, coming in the late spring, that will allow readers to buy papers from vendors without the hassle of cash.
They’ll be thinking of those new laptops that will soon be showing up in the vendor computer lab, and how we can finally retire the last of the ailing iMacs we purchased in 2003.
They’ll be thinking of our plans that anticipate national health care and how we can help our vendors enroll for the medical benefits that will become available in 2014.
And they’ll be thinking of you, our readers, and how none of this would be possible without the more than 60 percent of our budget that comes through your generous support of our work.
In 2014, Real Change will enter its 20th year of publication. Our goal is to complete our second decade as a rock-solid community institution that will be here for our vendors and readers — providing opportunity and a voice for low-income and homeless people and taking action for economic justice — for as long as we’re needed. And that, with your continued support, is exactly what we’re going to do.
To every one of you who has ever looked a Real Change vendor in the eye and seen someone that matters, we thank you for being there to stand with the poor.
Together, we’re making the world a better place for everyone.