As you may have noticed, Crosscut Public Media, publishers of the site you are reading at the moment, is conducting its spring Membership Drive. One week to go, and we're right on target. We very much need your support as an Annual Member, to sustain and improve Crosscut. As a nonprofit, public-interest website, we serve the public by producing stories in the public interest, not in a commercial interest. Your contributions enable us to practice "journalism for the public good."
It's easy to make your tax-deductible donation (including a monthly plan) by going to our Donate page. As a new or renewing Member, you'll be eligible for many Member benefits. The next free-to-Members party will be next Thursday at 5 pm, unveiling a new Crosscut performance and party space where we hope to hold public forums, arts events, and donor receptions with newsmakers and other leading figures of the town. You'll get to know these folks, our writers and staffers, and fellow Members at these congenial, free events.
During the Membership drive, we offer a grand prize of an iPad 2; all who join or renew this month will be eligible for the drawing. Those who join or renew at the $100 level will get a free Crosscut tee shirt, long-sleeved and in black or Navy. Today's drawing will be for four free tickets to one of the remaining events in the current Seattle Arts & Lectures series, with Billy Collins, Wendell Berry, and Roy Blount Jr. among the attractions. Speaking of which, yesterday's winner of two free tickets to an ACT Theatre mainstage production this season is Barbara Dykes of Bellingham.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the sad news that Intiman Theatre was suspending operations, mid-season, in order to regroup financially. We also ran a poignant article by John Marshall, mourning the death of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as a newspaper and the anguish of writers and editors such as John in the ensuing two years. There's a common theme here: Seattle is in danger of losing some of its key cultural and civic institutions.
Crosscut was started four years ago to help mitigate some of these trends, and that was before the sour economy added its downward pressure. Civic leaders and Members like you have created Crosscut, which keeps about 50 freelance writers, many from downsized or defunct media in town, still covering their beats and deploying their deep knowledge of the region. Our managing editor, Michele Matassa Flores, was a senior editor at The Seattle Times before taking a buyout during a downsizing a few years ago. Our deputy and community editor, Joe Copeland, was an editorial page writer and editor at The P-I until its doomsday. Knute Berger and I both served as editors of Seattle Weekly, and Knute was also editor of Eastsideweek, no longer with us.
If one of our missions is to keep this intellectual capital still engaged in the region, another is to find a new model for sustaining quality journalism that is thoughtful, open-minded, stimulating, and original. We think we have found the model, which is the non-profit, member-supported institution we have become. Three major grants — from the Gates Foundation, the Seattle Foundation, and the Knight Foundation — are sustaining us in these first years. But our urgent need is to find multiple and steady means of supporting this kind of quality, wide-ranging journalism as the grants phase out. As with public broadcast, annual Memberships by hundreds of citizens are the most critical mainstays. They are also the way that we remain tied to the community and to our readers, not to advertisers or out-of-town owners.
I hope you can be generous and join today. Thanks for listening, and thanks for helping.