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With four days left to the December 31 deadline, the tally for the AVV NewsMatch grant campaign now stands at $4,440, only $560 away from the goal to reach $5,000 in reader donations. Designated by the Colorado Media project as #newsCOneeds, Ark Valley Voice is proud to have been selected by the Colorado Media Project as one of only 18 newsrooms across the state of Colorado designated to receive a prestigious NewsMatch grant from the Gates Family Foundation.

The NewsMatch challenge began December 3; challenging the Ark Valley Voice local community and our readers across the globe to contribute $5,000 in donations by December 31. When we reach that donation goal, it will be matched by a $5,000 Gates Family Foundation match.

As of Saturday morning, December 28, we are at 88 percent of our goal; $4,440 of donations from wonderful people who believe in our mission as much as we do. That leaves four more days to reach the all-important $5,000 mark.

According to the Colorado Media project this is #newsCOneeds, not just because of our role as a free press, providing unbiased, fact-based journalism in a democratic society.

Their endorsement of our work recognizes our local public service role providing independent, locally-produced news for the Upper Arkansas Valley.

According to the Colorado Media Project, the NewsMatch project is intended to inspire individuals to participate in supporting homegrown news sources.

“Free and independent local news is a public good that is vital to democracy, and all Coloradans have a vested interest in supporting the evolution of local public service journalism,” said Gates Family Foundation Vice President for Strategic Communications and Informed Communities Melissa Davis, of their support of the NewsMatch and Ark Valley Voice. “The Gates Family Foundation is proud to partner again with NewsMatch … to help inspire more individuals to support homegrown, Colorado news.”

Personal and corporate donations of any amount up to $1,000 to Ark Valley Voice will be matched – effectively doubling your gift. Just as important, the grant rules allow monthly donations to be multiplied by a 12x ratio. So a $6 monthly donation (equally a $72 annual donation) will be multiplied twelve times by the match, becoming a $144 total donation. That’s about equal to a monthly cup of gourmet coffee.

Some of the dozen or so Ark Valley Voice crew gathered on F St. below Tenderfoot Mountain as the NewsMatch challenge got underway.

Here’s what this means for our small, feisty, and dedicated newsroom. It means three months of operating expenses to help maintain our level of operation. All of it will go to the salaries of our staff, who work full time, part time and as stringers covering their specific areas of expertise in Chaffee County,  western Fremont county, and into Lake County, as well as bringing you the local impact of national and international stories.

Ark Valley Voice operates on a shoestring. Our reporters cover their own expenses and we work on our own computers. As we jaunt back and forth across the county covering news and events from Granite and Twin Lakes, up into Lake County, through Buena Vista, and on down to Salida, past Howard and beyond, none of us even ask for travel funds.

We work out of donated office space. We don’t make our (former) corporate salaries and no where near the median county income. We do what we do because we believe in our mission, that “Truth Should Have a Voice”. We believe that the role of journalism and the media is more important at this moment than at any time since the Revolutionary War. Every single person associated with Ark Valley Voice is committed to this truth: that the role of a free press is imperative to our democracy.

So as the NewsMatch grant deadline nears for Ark Valley Voice — which provides its services free to the community – we hope our community of readers will help us meet this fundraising goal and qualify for this grant. Your help means that we can proceed into 2020 with a renewed operating base and an unwavering commitment to the mission that “Truth Has A Voice.”

There are two ways to donate. Either click here, to be directed to our secure PayPal site that can accept credit cards, or send a check to Ark Valley Voice, 101 F St. Suite B-1, Salida, CO 81201.

To all of our wonderful readers considering supporting our mission — thank you.