When we launched Southwest Voices back in October of 2021, we promised to build it alongside you, our readers and our community. That meant being transparent about who we were, why we were doing it, and how we were being funded. A moment has arrived that we hoped would never happen – but right now, we really need your financial support to keep producing community journalism. 

A number of things have led us to this point, but the biggest one is that our advertising program has not brought in the kind of revenue that we need to be financially sustainable. Since last year, we launched a whole new publication, Downtown Voices, and despite that, we are bringing in less money from advertisers than we were at this point last June. That leaves us in a precarious position, and it means that we have to shift our focus and set a goal around what we need to keep going – we need to have 1,000 paying members by the end of this summer. You can become a member here.

We are hearing from a wide range of small businesses, including many of the ones that make Minneapolis special, that they are hurting. We have tried to step up to the plate and be there for them when we can, by promoting their events, menus, all-star people, and more. We donated thousands of dollars of free advertising to businesses that were negatively impacted by the construction across the city this summer. Those businesses make up a huge chunk of our advertising program, their success tends to trickle down to us, and we have felt their pain hit our bottom line.

Right now (and we mean right now), we need your help. If you step up and become a member, it will help us get some much-needed short-term revenue. You can make a one-time donation for $20, $50, $100, or $250 here. If you or your company want to reach our readers, you can book an ad or get more information on how to do so here. If you can’t do any of those, but can spread the word to someone that can, you should do that. 

I think what we do is important because we have special people that are doing work that nobody else is doing every single day. Melody Hoffmann sits down every morning to produce a newsletter for Southwest Minneapolis that ranges from information about City Council meetings to street closures to community events to kids that want to bring ice cream to their neighborhood. Brianna Kelly breaks news about downtown Minneapolis every week, and is running the largest publication dedicated exclusively to downtown in this period of transition and opportunity by shining a light on the things that impact all of us, like when she broke the story about a commercial building sale this week that will hurt the city’s tax base. Melissa Whitler (who just wrote a great piece on why she got into this work) is the only reporter who covers every single Minneapolis Public Schools school board meeting through Minneapolis Schools Voices.

Through it all, a thing that unites us here at Minneapolis Voices with the people who read and write to us is that we love this city. Me, Melody, Brianna, Melissa, and all of our amazing freelance writers and editors care so much about what happens in and to our community. We each take time out of our days to put care and attention into the stories that we are producing in the hopes that we can illuminate readers about the challenges this city faces, lift up the beautiful stories happening across different neighborhoods, and help bring people together. 

All of the work that we do is and always has been free and available to everyone in our community, regardless of their ability to pay for it. That decision may have cost us some revenue, but we think it’s an essential piece of bringing all of us together.

We think that 1,000 members is an ambitious goal, but it’s one that’s totally possible. That’s less than 1% of the people that read us each year, and less than 1% of the people that live in the areas that we cover. While we know times are tough, 1,000 members feels like a bar that we can jump over, together. We can do this.

If you have ever considered helping us out, or considered what you would do if we were gone, now is that moment that we need you. If you want this thing to continue to exist, and if you value what we do, become a member of Minneapolis Voices today.