On June 29, we’re throwing a party — and you’re invited. The occasion? Our transition to a community-funded nonprofit news organization. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to explain what this transition means for the thousands of readers who have come to rely on the My Neighborhood News Network – My Edmonds News, MLTnews and Lynnwood Today — as a trusted local news source.
But first, please put this celebration on your calendar — because it’s for you. The date is Thursday, June 29, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Lynnwood Event Center. Bring your ideas for helping us build this new approach to sustainable community news, and enjoy appetizers, beverages, live music, and some fun and inspiring speakers. (Yes, comedy will be involved.)
While admission is free, RSVPs are requested here, so we can plan.
What will change: Your donations will be tax-deductible! We will have more tools in our funding toolbox to ensure long-term financial sustainability of the community news. These include access to grants and corporate donations, and the ability to provide a tax deduction for all donations, including larger gifts, such as bequests or other forms of charitable giving.
What this means for me: I have donated all the assets of our community news publications to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit My Neighborhood News Network. It is no longer my news organization, it is yours – community owned and guided by a nonprofit board of directors. But be assured that I am not going anywhere: I am the president and CEO of the nonprofit, overseeing the news organization in its new nonprofit form. I still manage the editorial coverage and assign and edit stories. I am also still your point of contact for story ideas, compliments and concerns.
I am excited about this transition because it will ensure the longevity of our publications beyond any individual “owner.” I also believe our new nonprofit status better reflects our work – which is solidified in the mission statement of our new nonprofit:
To create a financially sustainable nonprofit news organization focused on civic education and engagement for all stakeholders — including those who have been traditionally underrepresented — and finding solutions for issues that matter to our communities.
What I’ve come to realize, after 14 years, is that the My Neighborhood News Network is much bigger than me, the person who has held the title of publisher. Our communities deserve a long-term commitment to community news that goes beyond one individual. And that means going beyond the traditional way that news organizations have been operated and funded – as for-profit enterprises solely dependent on advertising and reader donations.
While it may not be a familiar concept to many of you, nonprofit news is not a new idea. More than 300 media outlets in the U.S. and Canada belong to the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN). These organizations either started out as nonprofits or – like us – have converted from for-profit to nonprofit status.
I look forward to sharing more details with you about the reasons for this transition next week.
Meanwhile, be sure to RSVP for our official launch event June 29 – and help us build it!
— By Teresa Wippel, President and CEO
My Neighborhood News Network
P.S. Thanks to our launch sponsor, Coastal Community Bank!