Dear Friend of The Bridge,
Mid-October — and at The Bridge we are reaching out to readers and friends to seek financial help both to strengthen the paper and make it possible for us to continue to publish. This has been both a tough and also a very good year at The Bridge and there have been a number of very positive developments. Before I explain these developments, let me talk about our beginnings 22 years ago.
Starting from Almost Nothing
In December 1993 when we put out our first issue, we had nothing but ourselves and our gritty determination to start a community newspaper in Montpelier. We had no money, no office, no paid staff and no track record. All of us were volunteers and we went out and sold ads — and the community was behind us.
This hasn’t changed. Over and over again, the community has been there for us. I am grateful to our many advertisers. After 22 years, we have a track record. We also have a small but very hardworking and effective paid staff and I feel both lucky and totally grateful to the people who work here.
Three Big Positives
Here are three positives from this year.
First, the paper has become a Vermont not-for-profit organization with a not-for-profit board and we are now applying to the IRS for tax-exempt status. In recent years The Bridge has been organized as a limited liability corporation. As a not-for-profit The Bridge will be owned and governed, and I hope, supported, by the community that it serves.
Second, The Bridge is intensifying its efforts to work with a range of beginning and experienced writers. This past summer, a group of middle, high school and college writers working together under the leadership of Montpelier High School graduate Lindsey Grutchfield published The Breeze, a 12-page paper “by and for youth.” Right now we are meeting on four consecutive Saturday afternoons during October with an enthusiastic and committed group of adult writers in a “Writing for Publication” workshop.
Third, we have made a concerted effort this year to mix it up with our advertisers, readers and friends wherever they are: at bookstores, restaurants, local farms, garages, schools, city hall, back roads. This past summer, we circulated a readership survey. The results of that survey are telling us what our readers like about the paper and what they want to see in The Bridge.
A Tough Year
Yes, it’s been a tough year. And that toughness comes from publishing a free paper with slender financial resources and at the same time holding high editorial standards and attempting to cover our various beats. And this at a time when a free press here locally and across the country has never been more important — and more threatened.
Our Request for Help
As we continue to move forward, we are asking you to help us out financially so that The Bridge can continue to publish and flourish.
Can we count on your financial help right now to make it possible for The Bridge to continue to publish, even flourish?
Please find a campaign envelope in this issue of the paper. If that envelope is missing, please write a check made payable to “The Bridge.” And please mail it to this address: The Bridge, P.O. Box 1143, Montpelier, VT 05601.
Thanks in advance for your generous support.