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Since our inception, Ark Valley Voice (AVV) has had one simple mission; to give truth a voice. AVV  has just kicked off our month-long “Christmas in July” giving campaign with the goal of raising $10,000 to support our local journalists. Our July 1 kick-off gathering at Bensons Tavern and Beer Garden wrapped up just before Thursday’s thunderstorms hit; once against showing that timing is everything.

That day-one event raised $1,548, putting AVV 15 percent of the way to our July 30 goal. But we have a long way to go.

In the beginning, our funding came from a single generous individual who shared our mission. But as Ark Valley Voice has grown, it has sought advertising, won some small grants, and received donations from generous individuals who share a belief in our mission.

Our Christmas in July giving campaign kickoff was made possible, courtesy of some generous corporate donors. While Benson’s was our kickoff site, Elevation Brewing made a significant donation of beer for the event and for all that, we are grateful.

Early this year we received the NewsMatch grant that we qualified for last December, thanks to the donations of our wonderful readers. But as COVID-19 pandemic fears have lessened, advertising hasn’t come back, at least not yet, which is a financial challenge to our mission.

AVV has attracted a growing audience of more than 27,000 readers that reflects the demographics of our county, our state, and our nation. In fact, AVV readers skew much younger than traditional print audiences and match our state demographics. Two-thirds of our readers are reading us on their mobile phones. They appear to be inquiring and curious; asking us questions, wanting to know more, demanding transparency and truth from our leaders at every level of government.

We’re excited that a grassroots support is emerging — this represents not so much deep pockets, as everyday readers, digital-news supporters willing to chip in $5 or $10 a month to support publishing stories that would otherwise go untold. We hope you’ll join us and donate.

Credentials tell the story that AVV is meeting its mission to speak truth to power and to speak truth to those who would prefer fiction to fact.

AVV won two more Colorado Press Association (CPA) awards this year for our work reporting on the growing concerns about extremism in this county and our state. That brings our total CPA journalism honors to seven, in just the two years since we qualified to join the Colorado Press Association.

We’ve been invited to be a participating medium in the Colorado News Collaborative, contributing to two state-wide journalism projects:  both the COVID Diaries project, and the ON Edge mental health store effort. We’ve also been invited to be a contributing member of the Associated Press Storyshare project.

Humble and sincere thanks to our readers and our donors for believing in Ark Valley Voice — and most of all for believing in the mission to give truth a voice — for that is the protection of our democracy.