Northern Woodlands received many generous contributions in 2010, but one in particular stands out. One of the members of our board of advisors (who wishes to remain anonymous) provided a challenge gift of $7,500. This gift came with an interesting string: the donor wants the money to be used to research and develop stories that otherwise wouldn’t get written. In-depth research and story development costs money. Because we’re a small magazine with a tight operating budget that covers a large geographical region, you can see where money to improve our coverage of far-flung places (yes, Northern Maine, you’re far-flung) and money to cover the cost of in-depth features on broad-ranging policy issues is graciously and enthusiastically welcomed.
With this new fund, we’ll have the budget flexibility to go full speed ahead when a special topic demands that we dig into it and report to our readers. We’re working to find a matching gift, which will secure the contribution and give us a comfortable enough sum to take on several special projects as circumstances dictate. This matching gift will give us a margin sufficient enough to avoid our being in constant fundraising mode for this fund.
We’re calling the new fund, the Northern Woodlands Research and Reporting Fund, and from time to time you’ll see us reference the fund in the magazine. We won’t aim to conduct annual appeals for it unless we end up seriously depleting the reserves, and we don’t want to distract from our appeals for donations to support the overall work of Northern Woodlands. Another title was considered: the Breathe Easy Fund. This title stemmed from the fact that such a fund allows us to do just that – breathe a bit easier knowing that we can now take on a special topic or two without blowing the operating budget.
A very hearty thank you goes out to the donor who made this very generous gift. And I’d like to extend an invitation to any of our readers who might be interested in extending this gift’s reach by contributing towards a match for this restricted fund.