It's only a smidge different than The Optimist. And our work won't change!
It's a big day for us!
Happy hump day, friends. Nora here, with some big updates on our work.
You may have noticed that our logo looks a little different.
That's because our name is different! We're evolving from The Optimist to Project Optimist.
After today, these newsletters will come from Project Optimist.
We are also launching our first fundraiser today. If you've become a fan of this newsletter or our other work, please send us a few bucks!Support us with a donation!
For new subscribers and those looking for our solution-focused journalism and art features, we'll have the striking artwork of Wasima Farah next week. It'll be our third installment of the Artist's Joy series.
And after that, we'll have a story on biodigesters at large farms and dispatches from students who traveled to Egypt in November for the UN Climate Change Conference.
Why do we need your support?
You may have noticed that it's a tough time for the news industry. Local newsrooms have closed or shrunk across the U.S., and they're projected to keep losing journalists through 2030.
When we lose reporters in our local communities, it's bad news for democracy.
Project Optimist is not only producing news, we're producing solutions journalism. Solutions journalism helps balance news diets that are saturated with sad or enraging stories. We're trying to bring people back to the table, back to conversations about current events by featuring responses to problems.
And we're not stopping with the newsletter. We're working to train student and community journalists. I trained more than 20 this fall. We're also creating a robust series of conversations on controversial topics called Shades of Purple: Dialogue across difference in greater Minnesota.
In the next six months we plan to hire an event manager to support the Shades of Purple project. We're also looking to hire a revenue chief to work on our long-term sustainability. In mid-2023 we want to bring a managing editor on board.
In the last year, we've been working to develop a sustainable plan to help Project Optimist grow. The budget includes a range of funding streams from grants and sponsorships to merchandise and individual donations. We have a media consulting arm as well.
The traditional business model that relies on ad sales and subscriptions is not enough to keep contemporary newsrooms afloat. That's why Project Optimist and other digital news startups are looking to their readers for direct support. Monthly gifts are helpful, because they bring sustained revenue through the year. One-time gifts are also wonderful.
Thanks for considering!Support Project Optimist!
Project Optimist will eventually be a stand-alone nonprofit. Our fiscal sponsor, the Tiny News Collective, is a nonprofit and oversees our fundraising efforts. So your gifts will be tax deductible.
There's more below the promotion!
Promotion from Project Optimist
Did you catch our BioHaus feature this month?
The BioHaus near Bemidji, Minn., was America’s first certified Passive House. It has taught campers (yes, campers!) about green construction and eco-friendly living since it opened more than 15 years ago. We pulled three lessons that are useful for those of us who worry about our energy bills but never made it to the German language camp where the BioHaus is situated.Check out the story here!
Why did we change our name?
You might be thinking that "The Optimist" is a perfectly lovely name for an organization focused on solutions, focused on inspiring and informative content. And it is!
But about halfway through the year one of my very wise mentors asked me to look into organizations with similar names. I then met with five attorneys - yes five - about this matter. They recommended a name change.
So I led a big brainstorm with folks in my inner circle and ended with Project Optimist.
I like it because it's bigger than one person or one product. It also implies ongoing work, and boy, do we have a lot of work to do.
I'll take this opportunity to remind you of our mission and vision statement:
Project Optimist strives to engage residents of greater Minnesota to help them collaborate across common divides, tackle seemingly intractable problems and grow more optimistic about the future of their communities, region and world.
Project Optimist does this by tapping Minnesota’s creative and independent talent to produce solution-focused stories and local art to inform and inspire. We provide training and spur conversations in support of media literacy, community problem solving, community journalism and democracy.
There's a little more after the promotion!
Promotion from Project Optimist
Help us grow! Share this newsletter with friends!
Support Project Optimist now by helping us grow our mailing list. Forward an issue to a friend. Or send them a link to our sign up page.
Check out our archives if you're new here. And, of course, welcome!
If you were so kind as to purchase some swag with The Optimist logo on it, let me know. I'll help replace it.
Please be patient with the name change as there may still be some stray references to The Optimist out in the world. Our website and social media pages are likely to be the main culprits. We did buy a new URL and will transition to it in the coming weeks.
Thankfully there's no big change to our logo, and we will continue to use the hand-carved icon of Minnesota on our swag. Many thanks to our designer at Paper Monsoon who made the change easy.
And thanks to you for being here at the end of the newsletter and for subscribing.
I'm so grateful to have you on this journey with me!
♥ Nora, founder of Project Optimist
Here's another link to donate, if you're inclined!Donate here!
Our mailing address:
P.O. Box 298
St. Michael, Minnesota 55376
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