$20,000 hole in our budget…

Let me explain what happened. For almost a decade, we’ve been receiving general operating support from the Electronic Media and Film program at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA EMF). Their funding has been critical, particularly since operating support is very difficult to find in a grant world focused on funding one-shot projects. That kind of funding usually comes from individuals, like you.

After all these years, a few weeks ago we learned that our annual NYSCA EMF funding was cut from $20,000 to… zero. (Thankfully support is continuing from the Music Presenting program for Freedom Sounds, our series of jazz and world music concerts.)

What happened?

We didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, word is we’re a victim of our own success. And that success cost us $20,000.

We’ve been working hard to expand our programming. Building on our deep roots in the media arts, we’ve developed radio stations focused on educating and empowering our community. And we’ve grown into the bioart realm. Our NATURE Lab project, which embraces a multidisciplinary arts approach to understanding and protecting the environment, has taken off.

We’re in the process of building an urban environmental education center to complement our work in media. We’ve raised almost $500,000 to convert the last abandoned building on our block into an amazing lab and classroom resource dedicated to art and environmental justice work.

But we can’t use that money to support our day-to-day operation, and because we’re no longer primarily a media arts organization, we lost our eligibility for general operating support from the Electronic Media and Film program at NYSCA. There went $20,000.

We’re counting on individual donors, like you, to help make up the difference!

Please take a moment to make an online contribution here or send a check (made out to ‘Media Alliance’) to P.O. Box 35, Troy, NY 12181.

We’ve known for years that we need to diversify our sources of revenue. Overdependence on large grants exposes organizations to great risks. That’s why we started our Sanctuary Sustainer program, a campaign to empower our supporters to make recurring contributions of any amount to help guarantee the independence and sustainability of The Sanctuary for Independent Media. As candidates for political office have found, a financial base comprised of numerous small donations by many people rather than from a few major donors is a prescription for independence.

That’s why we’re asking you to contribute to this year-end appeal.

It’s been an incredible year. With your support we have:

  • Helped build infrastructure for three new progressive broadcast radio stations to cover the Capital Region (WOOS Schenectady, WOOA Albany, WOOG Troy)
  • Beat our $100,000 fundraising goal to build the new NATURE Lab Environmental Education Center by four times!
  • Celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Hudson Mohawk Magazine, our volunteer-driven daily news and public affairs program on WOOC 105.3 FM and online at mediasanctuary.org
  • Launched Jazz Sanctuary, a nightly program dedicated to providing local support for what many consider America’s only true art form, on WOOC 105.3 FM and online at mediasanctuary.org
  • Continued building Sanctuary TV, an online video channel with 14,000+ subscribers and 7.5+ million views
  • Expanded our Uptown Summer program for low-wealth youths in Rensselaer County
  • Worked with interns from colleges around the Capital Region and as far away as Buffalo, Cleveland and Montreal, introducing them to community arts for social change
  • Presented the first annual Ruderal Ecologies Conference, using art, urban ecology, and social justice activities to focus on living in urban environments shaped by stress

Despite all of these achievements, the reality remains that we need you to support our programming.

We’ve successfully attracted one-shot and capital funding for our projects but the funds needed for day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year operations are incredibly difficult to find. We depend on many small donations from folks like you to survive.

You only have to look to Washington to see the challenges we face. The arts are under attack. Science is under attack. And media is under attack. We are an organization that promotes art and science as ways of understanding the world around us, and media as a way to communicate that understanding. It’s a battle as old as the Scopes trial, and–as an organization using media to promote art and science–we’re in the midst of the struggle.

We need your support!

Whatever you can do to help would be much appreciated. Sign up as a Sanctuary Sustainer for a recurring donation, or a one-time contribution of any amount!

Thank you!


Steve Pierce
Executive Director

P.S. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of your support. Many people, contributing whatever they can afford, are the key to the sustainability of The Sanctuary for Independent Media! Please take a moment to make an online contribution by clicking here or send a check (made out to ‘Media Alliance’) to P.O. Box 35, Troy, NY 12181.