It’s one of the most fabulous times of the year! MFP’s spring fundraising campaign launched this past weekend with the theme, “Solutions for Mississippi.”
Since we opened our doors in March 2020, earlier than we’d planned, our team focused on solutions-based storytelling. My co-founder Donna Ladd and our senior reporter Ashton Pittman launched just as COVID-19 hit Mississippi because they believed Mississippians needed accurate and complete information about the pandemic. That commitment hasn’t stopped. It has expanded with a larger team and broader coverage, all because of readers and donors like you.
These are just a few of the ways we grew because of your generous gifts and support:
- We added three full-time team editorial team members. Reporter Kayode Crown, digital editor Dustin Cardon and deputy editor Nate Schumann are helping us report and edit even more journalism and take pressure off the rest of the staff. If I told you everything these three get done in eight hours, we’d be here all day.
- Our reporters can travel more now, which means more Mississippians get the truth-telling they deserve. It also means early-morning messages from reporters to the entire team as Kayode or Ashton or Aliyah or Nick excitedly dash out of the door headed to another city or county to chase an urgent story.
- Your funds helped us finalize and transition to 501(c)(3) status. Woohoo, we are an officially registered non-profit: the Mississippi Journalism and Education Group!
- We are expanding our Black Women, COVID-19 and Systemic Barriers project to more counties soon after stellar storytelling by Noxubee native and educator Torsheta Jackson kicked it off late last year. Torsheta = amazing. That is all. (And she just dropped a new solutions story related to food insecurity in Noxubee County!)
- We held over a dozen virtual solutions circles where Mississippians from all walks of life talked about issues impacting their communities, focusing on causes and solutions.
Hint: if you ask people what they need, they’ll tell you.
A wise woman once said that if you have more, you do more. We’ve got BIG goals for the next 12 months, and it’s vital we have the resources to make them happen. Mississippi is rich in stories, and the MFP needs even more people to tell those stories and resources to host live solution circles across Mississippi, top to bottom, east to west. Education is one of Mississippi’s biggest challenges. We need education reporters quickly for our soon-to-launch Education Equity Solution Lab for storytelling beyond surface metrics in counties across Mississippi far from the halls of power.
I’m not a writer—they let me write these notes to give me some cred. But word on the street is our writers are turning in stories too fast for the editors to keep up. We need another editor quickly. Don’t you want to see what’s in the hopper?
I can’t stress this enough. No gift is too small. Also, no gift is too big, so don’t let that stop you. Seriously, we make every dollar count. Please give what you can to kick off this critical campaign. I appreciate you in advance for whatever you do to help us keep on keeping on.
This MFP Voices essay does not necessarily represent the views of the Mississippi Free Press, its staff or board members. To submit an essay for the MFP Voices section, send up to 1,200 words and factcheck information to [email protected] We welcome a wide variety of viewpoints.