My name is Alexander Wheeler, but you can call me Alex. I am the new Operations and Development Manager for The Urbanist. I’m your neighbor, and I’m also a benchmark–I represent this organization’s goal of growing and increasing our capacity, engagement, and involvement. That’s what I want to talk about today: our city, our community, and our organization.

Like many of you, I am moved to Seattle from elsewhere. I grew up in Nebraska and had the good fortune to live in Japan and Hawaii before settling here. I chose to move here, and I’m excited to call Seattle home. Seattle offers many of the things that I loved about Tokyo and Honolulu: mountains, water, great food, character, history, and the hustle of the city, to name a few. Seattle also offers big challenges, major opportunities, and a populace hungry to address both.

I’ve quickly grown to love this city. It seems to have that effect on people. But I’m frustrated with rapidly rising rents, congestion slowing down our buses, and runaway climate emissions. I bet you are too. So, like you, I read The Urbanist to stay informed and meet like-minded people, and I want to make Seattle better. The yearning to make our city better makes us all urbanists and unifies us. We at The Urbanist seek to foster a community welcome to all, regardless of how long you’ve been here or what box you check. For the last four years, The Urbanist has been a gathering space for urbanists. As we gear up for our fifth anniversary, we’re focusing on how to take the organization to the next level.

The Urbanist has grown from an idea in 2014 to an established non-profit in 2018. Readership is growing, our monthly meetings have increasing attendance, and we’re influencing local conversations. This is done entirely by volunteers operating on a modest budget. An impressive feat! Recently, our organization has been approaching maximum capacity. This year the Executive Board decided to ensure long-term success by hiring its first worker. Thanks to our hardworking volunteers and the generosity of our subscribers, we fundraised enough to do this.

I started working for The Urbanist this month. My task: organizational development. Over the coming months, I will be fundraising so that we can grow our staff and increase our capacity. We hope that with professional staff, The Urbanist will ensure sustainable growth, more capacity, and increasing influence in city politics. As we begin this exciting new chapter, I believe it is vital to maintain our independence. I firmly believe we maintain this by remaining a grassroots organization well-funded by individual urbanists, who in turn feel ownership in our organization.

So to kick things off, I’d like to make my first ask. Our last fundraiser was successful and resulted in my hiring. I humbly request your assistance in helping our organization continue to grow to its full potential. I personally appreciate if you are able to make a donation today. By making a donation you will be contributing to our community of urbanists, and you will help ensure that we continue to keep Seattle on a course of progress. We need your help!

I plan to be present in the community, online, and in the field. I hope to connect with all of you and learn about your passions. If you would like to get in touch directly, please email me at alex [at] theurbanist [dot] org. Take care and talk soon, friends.

–Alexander (Alex) Wheeler

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Article Author
Alexander Wheeler

Alex grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and for 20 years knew only wide open spaces, suburban sprawl, and the necessity of owning an automobile. With only two suitcases and a college diploma he moved to Tokyo, Japan to teach English for three years. While abroad, he rode his first train and fell in love with the joys, excitement, and challenges of living in a city. He worked as Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, before moving to Seattle. He lives in Capitol Hill.