2018 was a big year. We’re excited with what we accomplished at The Urbanist, but we’re also aware of the need to make our organization more durable. Volunteers come and go, as do donors, but somebody still has to write stories, organize events, and keep the lights on. That’s why we’re launching a two-week subscriber drive to encourage our readers to become recurring donors. Our long-term goal is to add paid staff members and up our game.
Since our last subscriber drive in the fall of 2017, our generous supporters enabled us to add our first ever paid worker, Alex Wheeler. Right now he’s working part-time, mostly focused on organizational development, including organizing this subscriber drive. This is a huge accomplishment for an all volunteer organization and we’d like to grow even more.
We feel a sense of urgency because we’re impacting discourse daily in Seattle and we want to sustain that. When it comes to transportation, Seattle is a model for the rest of the country. With some help from our community, Seattle has lead the way when it comes to transit growth (even as many other cities struggle with shrinking ridership). We’ll recap some of the articles, events, and campaigns we’re most proud of over the course of the drive, but here’s a prime example.
The Urbanist was a key media source alerting transit supporters of the state legislature’s attempt to raid Sound Transit coffers by cutting car tab fees and not backfilling the revenue, which threatened Sound Transit 3 projects and timelines. Early in the legislative session, it seemed like a done deal. Organizations and folks that shared our values thought the best outcome would be small cuts to Sound Transit funding. But transit advocates sustained the pressure on Democratic lawmakers and successfully blocked the cuts.
Prognosticators said Democrats would pay a price at the polls for not catering to car owners and cutting car tab fees. But again urbanists were part of a Blue Wave that swept nearly all of the Sound Transit taxing district. Instead, it was the conservative car-fetishists that were sent packing.
This is just one of many potential examples of how advocacy journalism, rooted in values, is critical to achieve the policy outcomes our readers, volunteers, and supporters see as important. Generous donations, from readers like you, will ensure that this work isn’t subject to the whims of volunteer availability. Paid staff is a key long-term requirement to ensure The Urbanist’s viability. We hope you see enough value in the work we do to financially support it. Please consider becoming an ongoing subscriber today!
Also, to all our existing subscribers, we’re eternally grateful and look forward to carrying on our mission, improving even further on the quality work you’ve come to expect.