As we approached November 3 and the Access Press dinner, I thought (and continue to think) about our past. Anyone who has been around long enough might remember what the world was like prior to the enactment of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I certainly do. Being born in the 1950s with a condition affecting language development, I lived in a place where most children with disabilities were sent to “special” schools, separated and not having the same opportunities as others. People thought this was okay, along with other school segregation and different pay scales for men vs. women workers. These civil rights acts mean opportunity and inclusion. We must never forget.
Access Press keeps civil rights in the forefront as it provides important information, resources, and various points of view. I can’t imagine not having it. That is why I volunteered to join the Board of Directors. I now serve as treasurer, so it is only appropriate that I write about the economics of publishing.
First, I want to thank our supporters. A special thanks to UCare for the support that kept us afloat by supplying a grant to fund transition to new management as well as monies to provide news as a service to all who need it. Also, thanks to our partner for this event, Institute on Community Integration, for their mentorship and for making it possible to hold our event at McNamara Center. The Disability Resource Center, also at the University of Minnesota, has provided access for our event, along with their expertise in universal design.
Getting through the pandemic was quite a feat. We saw many businesses fold or shrink. Our funding has always been a three-legged stool with advertising, grants and gifts.
Advertising fell as companies had to cut back, grants are very competitive, and the stool was getting very wobbly. When Tim Benjamin faced similar challenges in 2003, he started the Charlie Smith Award dinner. Your board decided it was time to bring it back for all sorts of reasons, including funding. We want the news to be available to all who need it, but it takes money. Your donations will pay for:
- $40 – funds two electronic subscriptions for one year, 12 issues
- $60 – funds two hard copy subscriptions for one year, 12 issues
- $350 – funds a metro area drop site for one year
- $450 – funds a greater Minnesota drop-site for one year
- $2,000 – funds an issue spotlight for an organization
In addition, we seek donations to fund initiatives for 2024 and beyond:
- Increase outreach to greater Minnesota – including communities that do not have local services to provide information that can be found in Access Press.
- Increase internship opportunities – including opportunities for freelance writers and also experiences for others seeking job related experience. Access Press worked with two interns to manage our database and work on the November 3 event. This year, our interns had the opportunity to learn about our business and we certainly benefited from their work and dedication to the paper.
- Seek new partnerships – working with other nonprofits to find ways we can help each other and leverage resources.
If you can do so, please help keep this unique news source available to all who need it.
Jane Larson, Treasurer
On behalf of the Access Press Board of Directors