Link 155 at SODO Station
Photo by SounderBruce on Flickr

For over 8 years, Seattle Transit Blog has been an independent, award-winning resource for helping tens of thousands of people in our region understand and take action on local transportation issues.

In addition to providing a top-notch community for enthusiasts, we’ve helped push real policy changes around the region, including ST2, expanding ORCA access, transit-oriented re-zoning, and operational improvements to bus service. Now it’s time to take our work to the next level. Today we’re announcing a fundraising drive to hire a paid part-time reporter to augment our all-volunteer staff, and we need your help.

Between now and the end of 2016, our region will face a series of critical choices – how to expand bus service, where to build light rail, and what role the city should play in funding capital and operations. There will be public votes on Move Seattle Forward, a housing levy and, as of this week, Sound Transit expansion.

We want to give our readers a view into the coming months and years like only STB can. We want to help you make informed decisions about where to live, what to ride, and how to participate in the public debate. You’ll be on the front lines with us as we look at infrastructure projects, talk to elected officials, weigh the pros and cons of new transit service, and think about how our growing region should move over the next 20 years.

Our reporter will:

  • Cover public hearings and events that we all can’t get to, keeping you up to date with what’s happening and how to take action.
  • Provide in-depth coverage of the maze of new transit spending coming up, from Move Seattle to Sound Transit 3 to expanded Seattle bus service.
  • Interview top officials to get more of your questions and ideas in front of key decision makers
  • Cover the transformational changes coming to the suburbs along with light rail, from Federal Way to Lynnwood to Bellevue

Our current volunteer staff isn’t going away. This new reporter will amp up our current efforts. It’s STB, but more.

Please consider giving to our campaign using the donate button below. All donors will receive a monthly insider newsletter, letting you know what we’re working on and what’s coming in the future.

It’s an exciting time to be thinking and talking about Seattle’s transit future, and we hope you’ll support us for the ride.





Answers to some questions you might have…

Are donations tax-deductible?
No, as a 501(c)4 we are not permitted to offer a tax deduction. Being a 501(c)4 permits us to endorse candidates for office. Please let us know if this is a barrier to your contributing.  We’d love to continue to influence the political process, but we want to make sure we’re serving our readers first and foremost.

Will you keep hitting us up for money in the future?
It depends on how this goes! We’re looking for sustainable ways to fund quality journalism on local transit. Reader contributions are one avenue of many. Contact us if you have other ideas.

What if I don’t want to donate online?
We’re happy to take a check.  Contact us and we’ll get you a mailing address.

49 Replies to “Announcing Our First Fundraising Drive”

  1. I’m a grad student, so I don’t have money to give, but I’d love to contribute. I use GIS in my daily work – hit me up if you guys need some maps made.

    1. Good question, Adam! We’re hoping to raise at least $10,000 in this first effort to get the position funded part-time through the end of the year. If we beat that goal, we’ll be able to staff up faster and/or continue to fund the position into 2016.

      1. Have you considered having one of those progress graphics to let us know how far you are from the goal?

  2. Have you considered using Patreon?

    If enough folks would consider a low monthly fee of their own choosing, the issue could be resolved without additonal asks.

    1. Thanks Charles, we did consider it but ultimately opted to go with a more affordable solution. However, that reminds me – you can set up your PayPal donation for a recurring amount, and by all means everyone should do that! :)

      1. I went ahead and made a one time donation. I don’t feel comfortable making a reoccurring donation using paypal since I don’t have an account with them (and don’t plan on having one).

        Since I already have an amazon account, something like amazon payments might be worth considering.

      2. Which would STB prefer? I donate monthly to seattlebikeblog, and I’m happy to do the same for STB. However, if you’d prefer a one-time donation, I can do that instead.

      3. @Andres – Ongoing donations are the gift that keeps on giving! By all means, please set up something recurring.

    2. You can actually set up your own bank / credit union account to do an auto-bill-pay on, say, a monthly basis, and avoid giving the various fundraising tool owners a cut of your donation.

      Monthly pledges certainly help us budget.

  3. Fantastic. My finances are twitchy at the moment so my contribution will have to be paltry, but it’s a great idea, and I’m delighted to make a contribution to support it.

  4. STB ED Board: A few questions come to mind.
    1. As a 501c4 is this a pre-cursor to supporting upcoming elections? (allowed under IRS rules)
    2. Will there be any limits on corporate or government contributions to limit undue influence?
    3. Seattle Subway beat you to the punch a couple of days ago. Is this coordinated?
    4. Does the STB Board have it’s own ‘Long Range Plan” where this is being directed to?
    5. Are donations still NOT tax deductible?
    Thanks for the answers to make informed donations.

      1. Yes, actually. For the Move Seattle Levy outreach, the city paid for advertisements in various local blogs; including West Seattle Blog, Capitol Hill Blog, and many others. See page 22 of
        http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/levy2015_05_5_DraftOutreachSummary.pdf (from http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ltms_materials.htm).

        Now obviously, paying for an advertisement is different from just donating money, but there’s certainly precedent for the city giving money directly to local blogs.

      2. To state the blindingly obvious, purchasing advertising for a particular campaign and making a donation are not in the same category of conduct for a government.

    1. Prior to donating, I too would like the relationship between STB and Seattle Subway made more transparent. As a reader, it appears that STB is their media arm and objective coverage of Seattle Subway material at times appears questionable.

      1. Hi Mike,

        Sure thing. STB has no official connection to Seattle Subway. I know it can be confusing since they’ve done several guest posts on our site in recent months with all the ST3 activity going on.

        STB accepts guest posts from time to time from many individuals and organizations including Seattle Subway. We’ve run guest posts from elected officials, advocacy organizations, or basically anyone else with something interesting to say on land use and/or transit.

        Thanks for the feedback.

    2. Hi Mic,

      Thanks for the questions. I’ll do my best to answer them…

      1. There are several ballot initiatives coming up in the next year and beyond, so yes, we’re going to on cover issues related to these elections along with the other topics listed above.

      2. This fundraising drive is targeted specifically at readers like yourself. Our #1 goal is to be an independent voice. Though we have opinions, we are a journalistic enterprise first and foremost. I think I can speak for the board when I say that if we find ourselves “unduly influenced” by a donor we have failed in that role.

      3. We’re not in contact with the Seattle Subway folks. I honestly didn’t know they were doing a fundraising drive until you mentioned it. Turns out SS doesn’t actually have a fundraising effort in progress. My bad for not double-checking.

      4. We’d like to get to the point where we can have a paid, full-time staff. We have several financial models for how to get there, but the journalism landscape is changing rapidly and it’s hard to know what mix of fundraising, advertising, or other revenue streams will be effective several years from now. We know we can deliver actual reporting over the next 6-12 months out of this fundraising drive, so we’re gonna try it and see how it goes.

      For the past several years we’ve had a paid summer intern program that has been building up to this, so we have some experience with hiring and managing reporters. This effort builds upon that.

      5. That’s correct, donations are not tax deductible.

      1. Thanks Frank for that information – donation is forthcoming.
        Of course the biggest concern for me is that ST or PB or any number of deep pockets have a way of making it know they don’t like how the ‘fair and unbiased’ reporting of issues has been going. You walk a fine line, and I can only trust your cat-like balance keeps the blog upright.

      2. Me bad. My inbox got this message on 6/20 and I just filed it away as another request for money, not legislative support. Sorry for that statement and to Seattle Subway for skimming.
        .
        We need your help!
        Sound Transit 3 in 2016
        Hi,
        A transportation bill has passed the state senate that includes the full $15 billion in funding authority requested by Sound Transit. Though the bill is imperfect, it is our only realistic hope for a 2016 ballot measure to expand rail to Ballard, West Seattle, and destinations across the region.
        This is what we’ve been working on for years – It’s not time to get bogged down in ideological arguments – It’s time to move our region forward.
        Next up is a house vote that could happen as soon as this morning. It will be much closer than the senate vote. We need your help.

  5. If I donated would the reporter have to cover stuff I like, or, as I fear, would you be using my own money against me, much as our current Government is doing?

    1. The reporter would have editorial license of course, but one of STB’s goals for this position is increased suburban coverage, especially as major ST3 decisions are made.

      1. This blog was better before it was bought out by big Bailo. Now it’s all suburbs and hydrogen.

  6. Not necessarily constructive criticism:

    While I respect and mostly agree with your analysis and positions, I don’t much like you.

    50% less condescension would garner 50% more donations.

    Footnote: I have trouble distinguishing between editorial responses and frequent posters, so my critique may be off the mark. But that will also happen with more casual readers. I read most everything you write in page 1.

    Hopefully this honesty will help you raise money long-term as you do excellent work.

    1. While biliruben’s comment seems a little harsh the point is valid. I’ve been reading STB for many, many years. As a conservative (who strongly supports transit) I’ve definitely seen an increase of condescending remarks and blatant jabs that feel directly pointed at me.

      I’m confident that there are far more conservatives that support high quality transit than the STB editorial board realizes. If the board would make the effort to include some of the language that appeals to conservatives and avoid some of the divisive remarks they may be able to win over more conservatives to their cause.

      I highly recommend reading the book “Moving Minds: Conservatives and Public Transportation” for insight. If you can’t be bothered I’ll summarize by saying to focus on the fiscal case on why **high quality** transit is a good investment and avoid counteracting that by poo pooing social conservatism in the same breath.

      I will definitely make a donation because I absolutely love the reporting and analysis – 90% of the time.

      1. The conservative position on public transit is often not rooted upon anything that’s scientifically accurate, so the truth may seem condescending to you. republicans are against transit almost universally. Transit is subsidized in almost every industrialized area of the world. Why would a conservative like that.

        There’s no need for “both sides” coverage when the other side is against the very thing for which the blog is named – transit.

        The economic case for transit is made time and time again here when they talk about ridership, subsidy per passenger, etc. Most people around here call the link extensions to Tacoma and Lynwood wasteful because serving these areas will require a high subsidy per passenger.

        You don’t like that transit is subsidized? Don’t drive on the roads either

      2. I’m borderline socialist, and the condescension is thick. If you shrug it off as simply political perspective, you are making a mistake.

      3. Some conservative individuals and think tanks have put forth arguments that transit is consistent with their values and a necessary goal for the future. Perhaps our resident conservatives could write a Page 2 article summarizing these. I’m not an expert on this but it relates to making the externalities of driving transparent, reorganizing the hidden subsidies to driving, maximizing the economy by having a mobility plan that everyone can participate in, recognizing that cars without transit can’t scale to large cities, etc. Some would even invoke climate goals, the way some evangelicals are revising their positions on the environment and pro-life (toward the entire ecosystem, toward families as well as the unborn).

        However, it hasn’t yet reached the status of a “position” by any large-scale conservative group. I would say their transit positions are more ad hoc than anything: mostly afterthoughts, and based on individual people’s ideologies, and local situations. Mostly it falls under the “I drive, everybody drives, we want good roads and low gas taxes” position. Some people want to defund the transit agencies, privatize them, and/or deunionize them, but this also seems to be more ad hoc than a concerted effort.

      4. “As a conservative (who strongly supports transit) I’ve definitely seen an increase of condescending remarks and blatant jabs that feel directly pointed at me.

        “I’m confident that there are far more conservatives that support high quality transit than the STB editorial board realizes. If the board would make the effort to include some of the language that appeals to conservatives and avoid some of the divisive remarks they may be able to win over more conservatives to their cause.”

        I feel it too from some of the anon commentors. I think frankly STB community needs to learn they need us to get our taxing authority, and us to lean on Republicans in swing districts to do the right thing.

        Oh and some Democratic/progressive so-called friends of transit really know how to stick it to transit really well.

      5. I agree with both Bil and Winchester. I lean libertarian, ride, support and advocate for transit, but the constant conservative bashing gets old and has lead me to read this blog less. As bil says I too have trouble distinguishing between editorial responses and frequent posters, so maybe my observation is overstated, but the rhetoric is thick here.

        Less of that could potentially bring more conservatives that are interested in transit to your blog. I wish you well with your fundraising.

    2. Sorry for being obtuse *brohug*

      The political reality in the puget sound is that very few conservatives care about transit. I think STB has nothing to apologize for.

  7. Your payment portal will not accept me, as I cannot select a Province (BC in my case)

    1. Hi Bruce,

      If you enter an amount first, then change the country to “Canada” you should be able to select a province. Email me frank @ stb if you continue to have issues and we’ll work something out.

  8. One of the things I like about the STB was the independently written articles by transit advocates. No commercial opinion, paid for articles, etc. One of the things I disliked about the STB was the independently written articles by transit advocates. This includes a shunning of the suburbs outside of Seattle and the eastside, especially those to the south to go as far at times as generally feeling that we should not get any equal service at all, and all the monies and service go to Seattle. I would hope this paid staff takes a more neutral view towards Seattle vs. the suburbs debate and covers it equally, as I personally think the suburbs support is needed to get ST III to pass.

    1. Thanks MrZ. One of the things we’re specifically trying to achieve with this new reporter position is more coverage of the suburbs.

  9. I just read that the budget isn’t actually done yet and the legislature will have to convene again next week to sort out issues related to classroom size and testing.

    Does this potentially threaten the ST $15 Billion authority?

  10. STB provides knowledgeable reporting based on FACTS. where else are you going to get this?

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