By Todd Chamberlin
The Sopris Sun is once again taking part in the Community First Foundation’s ColoradoGives campaign. This year is especially important, because we have several matching grant opportunities that we are trying to reach. In all, we are trying to raise $100,000 in the last two months of the year for 2022. It is a very lofty goal, but we have big plans in 2022 and I know we can make it with your help. So, no matter what level you can give at, it is very much appreciated.
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
Fast forward to 2021. It was perhaps with similar sentiment in mind that The Sopris Sun’s Board of Directors expanded our mission statement, “to inform, inspire and build community by fostering diverse and independent journalism.”
2021 was also the year that The Sopris Sun saw new leadership step in. Raleigh Burleigh assumed the role of editor-in-chief and I took on the role of executive director. Joined by a team of talented freelance writers, photographers, columnists, illustrators and designers, we have taken our broader mission to heart.
Within the first few months of 2021, we launched our Spanish language insert, el Sol del Valle, with several sponsors helping to seed the endeavour. In addition, we relaunched our radio program, Everything Under The Sun on KDNK. As the year has progressed, we have slowly expanded to regularly printing issues with 28 pages or more. We focused on increasing our points of distribution in the four counties in which we distribute: Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison. We continue to “go green” by offering free downloadable copies of The Sopris Sun online. Plus, in collaboration with the Colorado Press Association, we supported a college intern studying journalism and our weekly newsletter was born. Finally, in September, we launched our Youth Journalism Program for local high school students, which focuses on mentoring the next generation of journalists.
In an area where there are three other free newspapers, expansion does not come easily. We pride ourselves by focusing on what matters to our readers: community and local news. You simply won’t find any national or international news feeds within The Sun. We are also different in that we are the only nonprofit newspaper in the area. Among other things, this nonprofit status enables us to control our own destiny and not be beholden to shareholders. Our board members, staff and freelance contributors are all locals who care deeply about this community.
We are also much more than just a paper, we are a community platform and resource that helps make our community stronger. Over the past few years, we have given away tens of thousands of dollars in free advertising to area nonprofits. Each of these nonprofits help elevate our communities, from Parachute to Aspen. We have also helped struggling small businesses with free ad space and now offer free “help wanted” ads. As we look toward 2022, we are exploring other innovative ways to further support our communities through The Sopris Sun and el Sol del Valle.
I wish to express my gratitude to our advertisers, donors and grantors who have helped make The Sopris Sun into the organization that it is today. Rising costs of newspaper production make our job more challenging. If we were to even out our expenses, each weekly issue of The Sopris Sun costs nearly $8,000 to produce and each printed copy costs about $2 (this is up by 20 cents in the last year alone). Historically, advertising in an average issue only covers 50-70% of the overall costs. Another 5% comes from grants, and the rest comes from donations from people like you who believe in and support The Sopris Sun as a free and independent voice.
You can schedule your donation for Colorado Gives Day anytime on or before Dec. 7 at www.coloradogives.org/thesoprissun
In addition, if you decide to set up a recurring monthly donation for 2022, the whole year will be credited toward the matches.
If you prefer not to give online, offline donations by check, cash or credit card will also count toward the matches. Donations can be sent to: PO Box 399, Carbondale, CO, 81623
On behalf of our board of directors and the staff, thank you for supporting The Sopris Sun! We are so grateful for your support.
We would also like to express our gratitude to NewsMatch, Colorado Media Project, Facebook, and ColoradoGives for their year-end matching grants. We are always looking for supporters who would like to offer a matching donation or a matching annual advertising sponsorship. For more information, please contact Todd Chamberlin at Todd@soprissun.com or 970-510-0246.