The big news at DRCNet HQ is that effective Tuesday, September 3rd, our staff has increased in size from one to two. Adam Smith, a graduate of Boston University School of Law (no relation to the famous economist), has moved here from New York and began work today. Adam will be focusing on fundraising, hiring and managing of interns, tracking of current events in the movement, and will be taking part in most of the organization's major functions, which include The Activist Guide newsletter, rapid-response-team action alerts (like the ones from this weekend and today on Dateline, MSNBC, and the harm reduction conference), research and writing for our web site, management and participation in the online discussion groups, media relations, and networking with other organizations. Adam's hiring was made possible by a major gift from an individual benefactor.
Though we have more resources to work with than ever before, our need for member support is just as great. Our one-year grant from the Drug Policy Foundation, running from last July through the end of next June, covers about 3/4 of our budget, not counting the second staff position. We need to raise about $1,000 per month from member donations between now and then to carry out our basic functions and finish the grant period in fiscal health; and that doesn't count the additional grants and major gifts we'll need to secure in order to keep Adam working into 1997.
The stakes have never been higher. Drugs have become a major issue in the presidential campaign; reformers need to push their message in the media to provide a counterweight to the fictions coming from the major candidates. DRCNet is committed to using its resources to take part in this effort; but we need cash flow to be able to carry it out. And new reform groups are springing up all over the nation; we need funds to reach out to them and put them all on our mailing list, whether they are on the Internet or can pay membership dues or not. We are compiling a list of ~700 local and state groups with a stake in drug policy, and we are hoping to put them all on our mailing list gratis. Having a flow of rapid-response information going to all these groups has the potential to make grassroots drug policy reform efforts markedly more organized and effective. But it will difficult to sustain long-term unless our fundraising goals, including member contributions, are on target.
Many DRCNet e-mail subscribers have contributed generously; but most -- over 80 percent --have never given at all. We're glad to have you on DRCNet whether or not you contribute financially. But the services we're providing cost money and will suffer without support. If every member of the e-mail team became 'virtual members' and gave only $10 a year, we would have over $9,000 to spend on reform and would finish the year in a position of strength. If you value what we are doing, and if you can afford to make even a small gift but haven't yet done so, please take a few moments to write out a check and address an envelope. If you can't give right now but support our work, please drop us an e-mail note to let us know we're appreciated. Those giving $25 or more per year are eligible to receive The Activist Guide in print by US mail.
We've made it easier than ever for you to contribute: just visit our online registration form on the web at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html. There you can submit and print out a form to send in; or you can send us your credit card information, and your card numbers will be protected in transit with SSL encryption between your browser and the web server, and with PGP from the server to our office so that there will be next-to-no chance of interception and fraud. (Be sure to select the secured form option if sending credit card info. PGP users can get our public key from the web site and send us encrypted e-mail directly.)
Or, you can just send your check to: DRCNet, 4455 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite B-500, Washington, DC 20008. If you itemize your taxes and are looking for charitable deductions, you can get one by making your check out to the Drug Policy Foundation; please note in the memo that it is for the DPF/DRCNet collaboration. Otherwise, please make your check out to DRCNet. Donations made straight to DRCNet are not tax-deductible.
Another way you can help is by writing letters of support that we can show to potential funders. Whether you are a well-known professional with impressive looking letterhead, a dedicated grassroots activist, or just a concerned citizen, your letters will help us impress the decision makers and garner more funds to do more work.
The tide is getting ready to turn; but those who care have to push to make it happen. Please give what you can to help us make a difference. Thank you for your support.
Drug Reform Coordination Network
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