Strong Towns has a unique, powerful and timely message that needs to be heard in every city, every neighborhood and every home in America. Please help us this week by giving to the max! We need your support -- $5, $10, $15....no amount is too small. Please help us to take the next step in sharing this important message.
All right. Today is the biggest day of the year for fundraising -- Give to the Max Day -- and I'm late in getting our blog post up. How does that happen?
I'll tell you how: today I'm in Minneapolis speaking to a group that has assembled here. That meant I got up at 4:00 AM and drove two and a half hours to make sure I arrived on time. This after returning home late yesterday after speaking to a group in Grand Marais, a five hour drive from my home. So in the last three days I will have spent more time driving than sleeping. See why the blog is late?
None of that is to complain. I LOVE this and find myself unable to sleep even when I do get a chance because I'M SO EXCITED about Strong Towns and everything we are doing. I tell this story not to elicit sympathy, but your support.
You see, I talk about "we" a lot here and, while there is a "we", today most of what Strong Towns does is just me. That is what needs to change, and that is what we need your support to make happen.
I have a team of close advisors, colleagues and friends that have been helping me for quite a while. They are the "we" that actually makes this all possible. They answer the phones, help write the blog posts, answer the email and do all of the little things. If you've been here a while, you know them.
I'm talking people like Justin Burslie who runs our office. Or Nate Hood, who volunteers his time to write some really provocative posts. I mean our board of directors -- all passionate people who are generous with their time -- and my colleague, Jon Commers (who draws an embarrassingly small stipend for his work). I'm also thinking of Ian Rasmussen, Andrew Burlseon and Edward Erfurt who contribute not just content but intellectual rigor to what we are doing. And then, of course, you have people like Jim Kumon and Jen Krouse, advisors who I could not be without.
Despite the efforts and generosity of this core group and my energy and passion for our mission, the Strong Towns movement has outgrown our current infrastructure. Consistent with the principles we espouse, we've grown incrementally to the point where it has become self-evident that we are ready for the next step. We need your financial backing to get us there.
What would a next step look like? I alluded to it on Monday, but let me elaborate.
- Local chapters. Besides our core group of volunteers, we have dozens of people that have expressed interest in volunteering for Strong Towns. I barely have time to respond to their generous emails, let along engage them and coordinate their efforts. In 2013, we are planning to add a volunteer coordinator to establish local chapters and mobilize our volunteers.
- A Better Brainerd Pilot Project. We have applied for a grant (but need some donor support as well) to fund a pilot project to demonstrate the application of Strong Towns principles. We're going to need a 1/2 time staff member to manage this important initiative.
- Model Code/Street Standards. We've identified a gap in the toolbox necessary to implement a Strong Towns approach. To fill that, we plan to develop and release a new model land use code for neighborhoods along with a corresponding street development code. These are going to build on work we've done, as well as others, and be specifically formatted for easy adoption by local governments. We need additional staff support to make this happen.
- Infographics. Responding to the most frequent request we receive, we are planning to prepare a series of infographics/posters to help people explain and relate the Strong Towns message in their community. Our greatest strength is the way we make very complex issues understandable. We'll bring that strength to this project, which will require some staff support, volunteer time and some outside consulting assistance to make work.
- Expansion of the Curbside Chat. One of the sad things I've had to deal with is saying no to requests to meet with people. We have never said no because of lack of budget, size of the group or anything that you might suspect. We only say "no, can't make it" when I'm already booked. Right now, I'm pretty much fully booked through May 2013. There are some very talented people out there that can deliver our message as good -- likely better -- than I do. I need those people on our team.
- Blog+, Podcast+, SID.tv+. Enjoy this blog? How about if it were five days a week with more writers, more viewpoints, more discussion and more content? Same with the podcast....what if we went twice a week and included more guest hosts like Ian Rasmussen, Joe Minicozzi, Jim Kunstler and others. SID.tv is off to a great start -- we're ready to expand it with better equipment and higher quality editing.
- And more. I throw this out because it is real. We have plans to do all of this AND MORE.
Counting funds we've already secured, we need to raise an additional $250,000 to make this all happen in 2013. Now, we're not counting on you for all of that, but we are counting on you for an important part. And realize that your contribution -- of whatever amount -- not only adds to our capacity, but adds to our list of supporters. The fact that this is a broad movement with a deep list of people that have have made a real financial commitment to Strong Towns gives us enormous credibility as we work with philanthropic individuals and organizations to fill the gap.
I'll make you a deal. You find a way to help us this week, and I'll promise you that I will continue to work night and day for all of 2013 to make our dream of an America full of Strong Towns that much closer to reality.
Tomorrow's our last day and we have a HUGE gap to make up. Please do what you can to help us out. And while you do it, make sure and smile and dance a little bit while you keep on getting stronger.