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What can you grow in a philanthropy desert?

The same thing we grew in a news desert?

LANSING, Ill. (August 21, 2023) – I’ve been told that Lansing is a philanthropy desert. Our small, middle-income town isn’t home to a lot of deep pockets. And there are no Lansing-based foundations such as those in Chicago and northwest Indiana.

I have been told that Lansing is a philanthropy desert. But I also remember that years ago Lansing was a news desert too. We didn’t have our own newspaper. And we were overlooked by other media. So no one was telling the stories of our community.

That all changed because people cared enough to make a difference.


Not the whole story

I have been told that Lansing is a philanthropy desert, but I know that’s not the whole story. Maybe we don’t have deep pools of giving yet, but I’ve seen some sprinkles and some showers, so I’m hopeful about what can grow here.

Your philanthropy — at any level — is exactly the cool glass of water we need to keep our news oasis from reverting back to desert. Will you take a moment now and give?

More reporting, more supporting

It’s true that no one is gifting us tens of thousands of dollars at a time. Yet hundreds of readers like you are doing what they can. It’s because of those $10, $25, and $100 gifts that steadily drip in each month that this little newspaper has been able to serve our community’s thirst for information for the past six years.

But we need more. We need more supporters because we need more reporters.

  • Last week Josh spent three hours at a difficult township meeting and an unusual press conference. Then he spent another few hours writing about it.
  • I attended last week’s Village Board meeting but couldn’t make it to the Lansing Garden Club.
  • Paul filed reports on QuikScripts Pharmacy, Delta Freight, and Silver Line Windows, but there are other business stories he hasn’t been able to get to yet.
  • Mike provided an update on the construction at TF South but couldn’t cover District 215’s Institute Day.
  • Reena did a great job for us this summer, but now she’s going back to school.

All these local stories from these local reporters contribute to our sense of community here. That’s why we report them. And that’s why you love The Lansing Journal — because you know that no one else is providing this coverage.

And the requests for more coverage keep coming in! We don’t want to say no to anyone. But we can’t do more reporting if we don’t get more supporting.

If you are not giving to this newspaper already, will you start today?

If you are giving occasionally, could you give again? Or become a monthly supporter?

Your philanthropy at any level is the cool glass of water that means the difference between blooming or drying up. Will you take a moment now and give (monthly if possible)?

Hometown help

Now, I do plan to keep looking for those deep pools of money from regional and national foundations. I will keep researching and applying for the grants we need. I believe there must be people “out there” who want to support the good work we are doing.

But I also believe the heart of our support will continue to come from readers like you who believe in our mission, who value the information we provide, who appreciate our very local focus.

So I will also keep asking for philanthropy right here at home. I will keep asking for more support because so many of you have told me how much you love The Lansing Journal. I’ll keep asking for support because I know what it takes to keep this newspaper going.

So — If you have not given yet, will you give today?

If you are giving occasionally, could you become a monthly supporter? (We desperately need that kind of sustainability.)

Melanie Jongsma, Publisher
The Lansing Journal

P.S. We used to be a news desert. That changed because local people came together to make a difference. Now we’ve been called a philanthropy desert. But I’ve seen generosity flow here when people become aware of a need. That’s why I’m publishing this editorial. I’m looking for streams in the desert. I’m looking for philanthropy right here at home. Will you support your hometown newspaper?

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


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