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IT'S NOW OR NEVER FOR JOURNALISM: We're headed into a year like no other, and Mother Jones readers are doing something amazing.

JUST BEFORE THE new school year got underway, a group of suburban parents, local officials, organizers, and celebrities from around the country crowded into a few rows of metal folding chairs at an elementary school in Mountain View, California. The school, sandwiched between Google headquarters and a working-class neighborhood in this Silicon Valley city, was being named for Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who came out as undocumented in a searing New York Times Magazine essay in 2011. I watched as Vargas smiled for selfies with a string of friends, relatives, and strangers next to the plaque bearing his name in the community where he became--in every way but the paperwork--an American.

At the Filipino feast afterward, kids jostled for bits of lechon as Ryan Eller, executive director of Define American, the nonprofit that Vargas founded, reminded us that "when we name our children, we express our aspirations for their future." Naming this school, Eller went on in the cadence of the Southern ordained minister he is, was a way for the community (which had been attacked by anti-immigration trolls for this decision) to "express its aspirations for a better America."

It was a goosebumps moment.

I'm sure you've had moments like that these past few years. Moments when you knew you were part of a vision of this country greater than the "American carnage" dystopia emanating from Washington. I know because you told us--about making your Appalachian town a "welcoming city" for migrants, about running for county board in the Chicago suburbs a year after you hit the voting age. You told us that Mother Jones was a companion to you in these moments, that you looked to our reporters to find out what is really happening out there. That, in turn, gave us strength. Because we, too, have days when it seems like the loudest lie will always win out.

But that's what liars want us to believe. They want you to give up on hearing the truth, and us to stop digging for it. They're not going to get the satisfaction.

Here's why: The rise of civic energy that brought strangers together at airports and women's marches and ballot boxes has also come to journalism. People have made it clear with their eyeballs and their checkbooks that a free, independent, fearless press is part of the essential toolkit of democracy. We've seen it at Mother Jones: At a time when reporters are in the crosshairs, figuratively and literally, you have rallied to our side. You helped us launch new projects on the Russia scandal, disinformation, and corruption. You shared feedback, experience, and valuable tips. Some of you even sent pizza.

So now, as we head into perhaps the most politically critical year of our lives, we are hoping you'll join us in an even more ambitious project. For the past four years, we've been working on a historic campaign, The Moment for Mother Jones, to make Mojo stronger, more impactful, and more sustainable. We're not beholden to corporate overlords or deep-pocketed investors (and it's probably a good thing, given recent examples of how even a generous philanthropic funder can pull the plug on a moment's notice), so instead we've turned to the whole community of our supporters. The results have been truly mind-blowing: To date we have raised more than $23 million of our $25 million goal in gifts and future pledges.

That money has gone right into our newsroom, and into audience growth and infrastructure. It's allowed us to dig deeper on more stories, reach more people (including many never exposed to Mother Jones before), and build stronger systems to sustain all this work in the long run. We have been able to stay independent at a time of destructive mergers and shutdowns across the media. And we're able to hit hard and name names--call a lie a lie and a racist a racist--because, as Ryan Eller said at that celebration, naming matters.

Now we're going to bring this campaign to a close. We're hoping to raise $1.5 million from our community of readers, subscribers, donors, and friends. And thanks to some extraordinarily generous donors, we have the biggest matching gift in our history to make it happen: $500,000 of reader donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, no restrictions, to take us all the way to that $25 million goal.

You can read more about The Moment in the brochure on this page, and more online at motherjones.com/themoment.

This is a big bet--and one that a few years ago many people thought didn't have a chance. Not when journalism is fighting for its life and disinformation peddlers are on the rise. But the Mother Jones community has always been about proving conventional wisdom wrong. We know, and you know, that it's possible to build a new future for journalism that is fearless, rigorous, and accountable to no one but the public it serves.

Let's show the rest of the world.

A solid foundation for great journalism

It's riot enough to dig up the truth--you also have to make sure it gets out there. Thanks to The Moment for Mother Jones, we're reaching more people than ever before, including younger, more diverse audiences on a range of platforms. We've modernized every piece of technology that powers our operation and built an all-star team to keep us going strong for years to come.

A DEEPER BENCH

Our team has grown by 25% since 2016 to OVER 100 (93 employees + 11 fellows)

NEW AND DIVERSE AUDIENCES

Between 25 and 40% of our Facebook audience are identified as people of color.

50% of our Instagram audience is under 45.

8 MILLION readers each month across all platforms

1.25 MILLION MoJo podcast listens in 2019
A resilient business model

The model we're building is simple,
and it's how we believe independent,
investigative journalism will survive
and thrive: Do powerful reporting that
readers find valuable enough to support,
and fill out the budget with a flexible
range of revenue streams. It's what the
M0J0 community has been doing since
we were founded as a nonprofit in 1976,
and it's what we need to do at a bolder
scale today.

Reader donations         55%
Magazine subscriptions   13%
Advertising              13%
Foundations              18%
Other:                    1%

Note: Table made from pie chart.
COPYRIGHT 2019 Foundation for National Progress
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:TO OUR READERS
Author:Bauerlen, Monka
Publication:Mother Jones
Date:Nov 1, 2019
Words:1052
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