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The Bridge Needs Your Help

The Friends of The Bridge, the nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that supports The Bridge, is in the midst of its annual year-end fundraising drive, and we hope you will participate. Envelopes to provide donations have been inserted in this issue. Use those, or contribute online by clicking the donate button at the top of montpelierbridge.org.

Why donate? Ad revenue does not cover the full cost of publishing The Bridge. Private contributions from readers are crucial in making up the difference. Local newspapers keep residents informed and help build community, but having one should not be taken for granted. 

About 1,800 newspapers have closed in the United States over the past 20 years, creating “news deserts” in many parts of the country. Here in Vermont, we have seen some of our formerly strong for-profit daily newspapers lay off staff and shrink in size and scope.

The Bridge is a lean nonprofit operation, supported by many volunteers, that is trying to buck the adverse trends buffeting journalism. The paper employs a handful of people, all of them working less than full-time and only one more than 20 hours a week. A nine-member board of volunteers oversees the paper, and additional volunteers contribute a significant portion of the articles, supplementing the work of paid freelancers.

This hard-working team produces 10,300 copies of a high-quality newspaper twice a month. About two-thirds of the copies are mailed to everyone in the 05602 ZIP code, which includes all of Montpelier and portions of surrounding towns. The rest of the papers are distributed for free on racks throughout central Vermont.

The result is that readers are able to follow local news, read features about local people and businesses, and learn about local events listed in the calendar, all for free. The paper has regular volunteer columnists, and the public is invited to submit commentaries on subjects of local interest. 

In addition to publishing the paper, The Bridge has a website where the contents of the paper are available, and additional articles are printed between issues. Online readership continues to grow.

To help support the paper and the website, the nonprofit Friends of The Bridge was formed in 2018 to support local journalism. Separate from The Bridge and run by an eight-member board of volunteers, the Friends’ only role is to fundraise.

Local readers have been generous in their support of the paper, and we thank you for your past donations. While the paper has recovered from financial challenges caused by the pandemic, it is critical that your support continues, especially at a time when potential economic storm clouds loom on the horizon.

If you enjoy The Bridge and think having a widely available source of local news is important, please give generously, to the extent you can. If you do not find an envelope inserted in this issue and would rather not donate online, checks made out to Friends of The Bridge can be mailed to P.O. Box 1641, Montpelier, VT 05601. Thanks, and best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season.

Phil Dodd is president of the Friends of The Bridge board. The other board members are Barbara Floersch, Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, Tonia Solano, Didi Brush, Michael Levine, John Nelson, and Ken Jones. The Friends of The Bridge also has an “Associates” group of Bridge supporters available to help out if needed: Mary Admasian, Jake Brown, Kathleen Casserly, Cari Clement, Nat Frothingham, Steve Gold, Martin Hahn, Harry Kahn, Chris Meiman, Theresa Murray-Clasen, Donny Osman, Bryan Pfeiffer, Susan Ritz, Josh Singer, and Mary White.