Community & Editorial
Be a Real Change hero
On May 6, GiveBIG and help us meet our $50,000 challenge match
On Aug. 20, 1994, Real Change published 10,000 copies of our first issue. It took our handful of original vendors more than five weeks to sell all those papers.
But before long, Real Change caught on.
With your support, we have become an essential community institution. Last year, 797 Real Change vendors sold 718,744 copies of the paper. With the new $2 price, they earned more than $1.5 million.
Every one of those vendors has a story. Susan Russell is just one.
Susan once had a good union job. She helped build the West Seattle Bridge and Safeco Field. When a car accident took away her ability to do her trade, she lost everything.
Susan was mostly homeless for the next six years.
“I thought working as a cement mason was hard, and it was, but being homeless exhausts every bit of energy you have, every day.”
Susan has always worked. When she could no longer do construction, she cleaned houses, pulled weeds and washed cars. What Susan needed most was opportunity, people who supported her and just a little hand up.
When Susan came into Real Change’s caring community of readers and supporters, she rediscovered what she needed most: belief in herself and the possibility of something better.
Last year, with some help from a nonprofit housing provider and the money she makes selling papers, Susan moved into a place of her own.
Now, she is an activist and a member of our Speakers Bureau. She testified at Seattle City Hall in support of homeless encampments and gathers signatures for Initiative 1329 — to get money out of politics — while she sells Real Change.
You can learn more about her at the Real Change Storytelling Project at vimeo.com/realchangenews.
Susan Russell is a Real Change hero, and so are you! Every day, our incredible community of supporters lets our vendors know they are valued, and it makes the work we do possible.
Over the next five weeks, Real Change must raise $195,000 during the annual Spring Fund Drive. That starts on May 6 with GiveBIG.
Our friends at Wyncote Foundation NW are helping with a $50,000 challenge grant. This means that when you give to Real Change on May 6 through the Seattle Foundation website, your gift more than doubles.
Real Change delivers on so many levels — with opportunity for vendors, quality community-based journalism and uncompromising advocacy — and we depend on you to make it all possible.
Here’s just part of what your gift supports:
Quality journalism: The Washington Press Association honored Real Change at its April 26 annual banquet with 20 awards for excellence, with 12 of them for first place.
Real Change, read by policy makers and opinion leaders, is an influential news source that covers the issues you care about.
Our reporting on Seattle City Light’s failure to make its own Utility Discount Program available to low-income residents has sparked investigation and led to calls for reform. Your gift helps pay for journalism that matters.
Committed activism: When three homeless people were allegedly beaten by drunken Sounders fans in March, we organized the Stand for Compassion rally to show that Seattle is better than this.
On May 18, we’ll display 3,123 pairs of shoes in Westlake Park to dramatize the 14 percent increase in unsheltered homeless people this year: one pair of shoes for each person counted outside.
The OutsideIN petition that launches with this event demands that policy makers reduce the unsheltered count by 1,000 people by 2015.
Our Economic Justice Film Series takes on the issues of radical inequality that create economic vulnerability and mass homelessness and creates opportunities for discussion and action.
Real Change consistently stands for the poorest, along with our allies in the movement for social and economic justice. Your support helps us get things done.
Vendor leadership: Real Change has created new opportunities for vendor involvement. Vendor internships are strengthening our satellite distribution in Bremerton and Bellevue and drawing new vendors into our advocacy and organizing.
Expansion of the Homeless Speakers Bureau and the Real Change Storytelling Project offer leadership opportunities to engage and inspire new activists.
We’re keeping the REAL in Real Change as we celebrate our 20th year of advocacy and action.
Last year, 1,711 donors came together to contribute more than half of our annual budget. We are awed and inspired by the generosity of our supporters.
But this isn’t just about money. It’s about love. It’s about people stepping up, caring for each other and doing what we can to take action for change.
You are our heroes, and we are grateful for every one of you. Please support Real Change by doubling your donation through GiveBIG and helping us meet our challenge match of $50,000.
After May 6, you can still help us meet our Spring Fund Drive goal by making an online donation at
realchangenews.org or mailing your gift to Real Change, 219 First Ave. S., Ste. 220, Seattle, WA 98104.
Thank you again for your amazing support of our work.
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