DRCNetDrug Reform Coordination Network

1/14/97

The Sky is Falling

Dear Friends,

I'm writing to you today because the sky is falling, and unlike the fictional "Chicken Little," I'm not imagining it.

DRCNet is facing a true funding crisis, and without your help, we will be facing an unworkable situation at a time when reformers need to be going into high gear. As of the beginning of this week, DRCNet's Assistant Director, Adam J. Smith, has been working unpaid, and in a month to a month and a half, we won't have *any* payroll. DRCNet will go from a two person, full time operation to a part-time, volunteer program, and will have trouble paying its bills besides. While we have some very promising leads on grants and major gifts, and are optimistic that we will indeed raise t he money needed to continue, we have nothing definite lined up, and there' s no way to tell for sure if and when the money will actually come in.

The problem is that over the past half year, we have had substantial, unanticipated expenses (including computer repairs), while at the same time donations from members has fallen short of what was anticipated by about $2,000. The result is the severe funding crunch we have now.

The second reason we have such an urgent need is that with the new Congress in session, we are expecting that our work will include an elevated level of legislative activity. Medical marijuana, drug sentencing, and needle exchange are all expected to be hot issues this year, and who knows what else. Whether our not we receive any major gift s, we need to build up a war chest of non-deductible donations in order to b e able to work on legislation. The issue here is that most of our funding comes from 501(c)3 institutions, and we cannot use that money to work on legislation. Our entire lobbying budget has to come from members like you. Your non-deductible donations have to pay for the time we spend putting together legislative action alerts, the money we spend mailing and faxing our bulletins to our members who don't have e-mail, and part of our newsletter printing and postage costs for legislative bulletins and related material. The organizations that fund us are required by law to keep their lobbying within tight limits, and that includes the work we do with the money they give us. If we don't have enough non-deductible contributions from members on which to draw at any given time, then we will not be able to put out any legislative alerts at that time, no matter how urgent an item may be. While most of our work, including most of our action bulletins, is not lobbying, we are anticipating more lobbying in 1997 than we have had for awhile, and wish to be prepared, in order to be able to get you the information that is needed for the fight.

I am asking you to help us keep the sky from falling. If you care about drug policy reform, if you think we are doing a good job and are providing a needed service, and if you are in a position to help even a little bit, please take a few minutes to send us a check or credit card donation. If every e-mail subscriber contributed even the $10 "virtual member" fee, it would add up to nearly $12,000. The $25 full membership fee, if you haven't already paid it, will get you our high quality newsletter, The Activist Guide, mailed to your home. Many members have sent us $50, $100 , $250 or even more, and this has helped us enormously; please consider becoming a "special friend" of the organization.

If you wish to contribute by check, please make it payable to "DRCNet" and send it to us at 4455 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite B-500, Washington, DC 20008. If you wish to contribute by credit card, you can use our online registration form at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html on our web site. We have equipped the form with encryption at all stages of transmission, so that your credit card information will be protected from fraud. (Make sure to click on the "SECURE TRANSMITTAL FORM" link before filling out the form.) If you prefer, you can send the information by mail, or call us at (202) 362-0030, or fax it to (202) 362-0032.

We are committed to making our information available online to all who want it, whether they contribute or not. But without you as partners, the information flow will be stopped in its tracks. If you have just signed on to DRCNet and are not familiar with our work, please send us an e-mail at drcnet@drcnet.org, and we will gladly forward you copies of our more recent bulletins. You can also see much of our work at http://www.drcnet.org on the web. Thank you in advance for your help.

Sincerely,

David Borden
Director,
Drug Reform Coordination Network

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