Streetsblog Chicago updates: Our fundraising campaign and staff changes

Photo: John Greenfield
Photo: John Greenfield

Greetings Streetsblog Chicago readers. I hope you’ve been having a pleasant Thanksgiving weekend spending time with family and/or friends, catching up on your to-do list, or just relaxing.

I wanted to provide a quick update about this year’s effort to raise $50,000 to win a $50,000 challenge grant from The Chicago Community Trust to fund our next year of publication. Big thanks to all of our advertisers, sponsors, and, especially, readers like you who have helped out with the fund drive so far.

As of today, we’ve raised $29,574, so we’re in the home stretch, but I’ll confess that I got a bit sidetracked from fundraising by our successful campaign to help get Chicago’s new fair ride-hail tax passed. The new fee structure, which was approved by the City Council on Tuesday, will help fight downtown congestion, encourage shared ride-hail trips and CTA use, and raise $2 million a year for projects to speed up bus service. I strongly believe that the dozen or so articles we published on the subject debunking misinformation from Uber and Lyft on various platforms helped pave the way for the new, more equitable system.

Obviously, we didn’t meet our December 1 target for raising the $50,000. However, as they did last year, The Trust has cordially offered us an additional month to reach our goal. I’m grateful for their flexibility and their loyal support.

There are a few more grant possibilities and ad renewals in play, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get this done before the winter holidays kick in, but we’re going to need more help from our our readers to bridge the gap. If haven’t already done so, please consider clicking on the button below to make a tax-deductible donation.

In other SBC news, staff reporter Lynda Lopez has moved on from her half-time job with us to take on a new position advocating for transit equity. I’m thankful for all the excellent writing Lynda has done for us over the past year, including coverage of affordable transit-oriented development, efforts to make transit more affordable for working-class residents; and intersectional topics like why violence against women and threats of an immigration crackdown are mobility justice issues. One of her latest posts with reflections on a transportation equity seminar she attended at UCLA really crystalized her philosophy about what’s required for truly inclusive transportation planning. Fortunately Lynda will continue to freelance write for us as time permits.

And I’m happy to report that the half-time position has been filled by an equally talented transportation writer, former SBC freelancer Courtney Cobbs. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, she says that reading Streetsblog’s coverage of sustainable transportation helped her decide to move to Chicago, a city where she could live car-free. Courtney is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Masters of Social Work program who has worked with adults with chronic mental illness and with survivors of sexual violence. She lives in Rogers Park and enjoys biking, hula hooping, and roller skating on the Lakefront Trail.

As you may have noticed from Courtney’s recent articles, she has a contagious enthusiasm for promoting better public transportation and biking as a strategy to fight climate change. In fact, between her and the influence of teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, you can expect to see more discussion of reducing car dependency as a means to combat global warming in this publication moving forward.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported our fund drive so far. With your help we can look forward to another great year of walking, biking, transit, traffic safety, and livable streets coverage from Lynda, Courtney, and the rest of the Streetsblog Chicago crew.

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