I sat across the table from Jim Kumon at a burger joint in West Palm Beach during CNU 20. Here was our conversation.
Jim: You need an executive director.
Me: Tell me something I don’t know.
Jim: I’m going to be your executive director.
Me: Great. I can’t pay you.
Jim: That’s okay. I’ll find my own salary.
And thus Strong Towns added its second staff member, one of the few people I’ve ever met who hangs with me in terms of passion, commitment and energy for what we are doing.
This week we are asking you, our readers, to become a member of Strong Towns and help us continue to grow this movement and do great things. Our goal is 50 new members by Friday. It’s Wednesday and we start the day at 22. A great start – let’s keep the momentum going.
Three years ago next month is when I started as a part time employee of Strong Towns. It took a full year for me to build up enough support to transition to full time. A year later is when Jim joined, of course with no salary at first. We’re now trying to work Gracen Johnson and her brilliant work (more from her later today) into the mix. Like we recommend to cities, the slow and steady building process is incredibly powerful, especially when you have a vision for what you want to accomplish.
In these three years, I’ve given nearly 200 presentations and been in almost every state in the country. We’ve written over 1,200 blog posts and are closing in on 200 podcasts. We released the Curbside Chat report, the Neighborhoods First report and are close to releasing a critical work on transportation. I’ve briefed numerous federal departments in Washington D.C., testified at state legislatures, given many conference keynotes and even been followed for a week by a documentary film crew. The nights I go to bed before midnight are few and far between, and I can usually count on texting Jim at some point in those long evenings.
While this all feels a little too boastful for this Minnesotan, I’m trying to convey to you just how hard we work and, by extension, how much we do with every dollar given to us. Strong Towns is a high return investment. Not only does becoming a member have benefits, but your contributions are helping us accomplish amazing things.
We take your support very seriously. Join us today and we promise to continue to work day and night to build an America full of strong towns.