We need your generous support, today more than ever.
Can we count on your year-end support?
Helping others – specifically our vendors – manage through crisis is what we do well at Street Sense Media: helping the men and women we work with rebuild their lives a day at a time; giving them the tools and opportunities they need to work themselves up and out of homelessness. While never easy, and often heartbreaking, it’s the work we love and what our organization was built, through your support, to do.
In 2023, we have had to face an entirely different kind of crisis, one that threatens our ability to continue this work. In the first half of this year, we experienced a significant reduction in paper sales, individual giving, and foundation support. During this time, we needed to tap into the meager reserves we had accumulated over the years, spending nearly $140,000 more than we had raised in income. In recent years, your generosity allowed us to expand our services to meet the growing needs brought on by both the pandemic and opioid crisis. Faced with the unprecedented funding gap earlier this year, we had no choice but to reduce these services, quickly and significantly. Since June 1st, we have eliminated four full-time staff positions (more than a third of our staff), scaled back from weekly to biweekly publication of the newspaper and frozen the emergency assistance fund we had been using to help vendors at risk of eviction, utility cut-off and food insecurity.
Being a weekly newspaper had a significant positive effect on vendor income and allowed us to produce more award-winning journalism. We were proud to be one of only five street papers worldwide to print weekly. The decision to cut back to biweekly was difficult. It’s also been terribly painful to say goodbye to committed, high achieving colleagues because we could no longer afford the salary costs. But we had no choice other than to make major spending cuts. And while those cuts ensured that we could meet the remaining demands of our budget in 2023, they in no way have ensured that we will survive into the future.
And so, I come to you today with a plea for help. As a past supporter, you have demonstrated a belief in our mission and our model. You have been the most essential component of work that while always demanding, is at times, quite simply, magical. Every day, we are a witness as vendors are transformed via the very real and human connection they forge with their customers. Something profound in them is tapped and unleashed when they craft a poem out of their own life experience, share their vision of the world through photography, or get up on stage and perform with others in our theater workshop. And they have a deep sense of accomplishment for the hard work they do to market and sell the newspaper.
All of this is at threat of going away. Please, if you are able, consider making a contribution to this year-end fund-raising campaign. We are deeply grateful for your past support and hope that you will decide to renew it today with a generous, tax-deductible gift. You can make more magic happen in the lives of neighbors I know we both care about deeply.
You have always been the driver of our success. Your generosity has changed lives. We hope that we can count on your continued partnership through a generous year-end gift.
We thank you for your support and wish you the very best this holiday season.
Chief Executive Officer