‘Monterey County Weekly’ Raises More Than $500,000 for Local Nonprofits

By: E&P Staff

In the issue hitting the streets Thursday, the Monerey County (Calif.) Weekly announces its readers contributed $529,337 to the paper’s “Local Economic Stimulus Campaign” to benefit area nonprofits.

The Seaside, Calif.-based weekly for several years has raised money for a Community Fund that supports one nonprofit for one year. But CEO Bradley Zeve said he wanted to “raise the bar” for 2009. In advertisements over the summer, the Weekly asked local organizations to submit proposals of up to $50,000 from the fund.

A total of 77 groups submitted projects requesting over $2 million in funding.

“There were so many great ideas covering too many different categories
that it quickly became clear that we had created something unexpected.
There was no clear and simple choice,” Weekly Publisher Erik Cushman said.

Inspired, the paper said, by President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, the Weekly launched the Local Economic Stimulus Plan with an appeal for donations to 73 nonprofits in its Thanksgiving issue.

The Weekly said it would match donations up to $100,000, and offered two $1,000 bonuses, one going to the group that received the most donors and the other to the nonprofit that had the most donors 35 years old or younger.

“The checks started rolling in, nearly overwhelming office manager,
Linda Maciera, and the Community Foundation’s Kathryn Hart,” the newspaper reported.

“We originally hoped we might raise $25,000, maybe $50,000,” said Cushman. Instead, $150,000 in donations came in during the first 10 days.

The smallest donation was 27 cents, the newspaper said. The largest: $50,000.

By the end of the campaign, 1,609 readers had contributed.

The Weekly said it will begin dispensing the money in February.

“The true heroes of this story are our readers,” said Zeve. Several donors and the nonprofits and their projects are featured in the Jan. 28 issue.

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