The events of last week shifted the conversation in America. We're the same nation, but our divisions are more real now. Less hidden. More painful.
Of all the messages out there, Strong Towns stands out as a unifying voice. We speak to all of America: rich and poor, urban and rural, professional and working class. It's time for our movement to step forth and be bold.
Today kicks off our annual membership drive. Please take a moment to support us by becoming a member or making a donation of support.
We are very effective at sharing a message that is traditionally seen as urban and liberal with people who are neither. Or both.
In the early days of Strong Towns, I was frequently asked to explain how to speak to conservatives. What kind of linguistic trick are you using? It was bewildering. I was speaking the only way I knew how.
I've never been one to sugar coat uncomfortable realities, yet the Strong Towns message is not only forthright but genuinely empathetic. This is one of the reasons we've been able to have a very real conversation with a broader and deeper cross section of America than anyone else who is talking about the future of our places.
That broad conversation has become a hallmark of what we do here. In the least year, we've talked about building wealth in our cities, towns and neighborhoods. We've talked about slowing cars and how that will not only make our streets safer but make our cities more prosperous. We've put forth solid arguments for why biking, walking and incremental infrastructure are the lowest risk, highest reward investment a city can make. And we've spoken out against the powerful that are pushing more and more transportation spending into a broken system.
We've looked at housing policy, suburban poverty, big box stores, schools and more. And when the time came, we were not afraid to talk about Syrian refugees, traffic stops and police shootings in a way few others can (and if you wonder, please read those linked articles).
I recorded a podcast (Election 2016 - Podcast Reflections) after the election last week to talk about what had happened and the implications for us and our movement. Here's some of the feedback I received over the weekend.
This is the kind of feedback we get here constantly. CONSTANTLY! Everywhere we go, whether it is deep red states like Texas and Utah or deep blue states like Oregon and Maine, when we share the Strong Towns message, people always want more. People who hear us are always amazed, enthused and -- most importantly -- empowered. And all of this happens in a way that transcends the ugly divides that have been on display over the last week.
We need to get the Strong Towns message to every city, every block and every neighborhood in North America. While I could not -- and did not -- say this two years ago, I can say it with all sincerity right now: the only thing we lack is resources. The only thing holding us back right now is the money needed to add capacity to our efforts.
Ponder the non-profit that you know of that is the most effective at getting their message out and bringing about real change (besides Strong Towns). Now estimate the number of staff and the size of budget that organization has. Hold those numbers in your head and then realize that Strong Towns has operated for most of 2016 with two full time and two part time staff and a total budget of slightly over $300,000. We are punching so far above our weight class it is ridiculous.
You should feel confident that every dollar you donate to Strong Towns is a dollar that pays huge dividends. We are a high return investment.
As this week proceeds, I'm going to share with you some of the data we have that shows how successful we've been and how much room there is to do even more. I'm going to talk about our Strategic Plan, what we've been able to accomplish this year and how that compares to the goals we set for ourselves. I'm also going to talk about the next steps, about my vision -- and our Board of Director's vision -- for the next year of the Strong Towns movement.
Take a moment today and get on board. We need you.
Our movement is growing. Our message is showing up everywhere. It's making a difference. Thank you for all you do.
Photos courtesy of Re-Form Shreveport