In last week’s Chestnut Hill Local, I wrote about the financial state of the paper. This year, unlike previous years, you will be able to help The Local address some immediate needs when you give to the CHCA Annual Appeal.
In last week’s Chestnut Hill Local, I wrote about the financial state of the Local and explained, hopefully in that sweet spot of specificity, to give you a clear picture of how we operate without going overboard and losing you in a sea of digits and commas.
This year, unlike previous years, you will be able to help The Local address some immediate needs when you give to the CHCA Annual Appeal. As always, your tax-deductible donation to the Appeal will also support the CHCA’s mission to “enrich the quality of life for the people who live, work and visit Chestnut Hill.” That mission manifests itself in two key ways: The CHCA’s role as the Registered Community Organization (RCO) in Chestnut Hill, and the CHCA’s role in organizing and carrying out many of the ongoing events and projects that give the neighborhood much of its charm, character, and quality of life factors.
Donations to the CHCA during their Annual Appeal are directed towards such programs and activities as Pastorius Park Concerts, Friday Night Movies under the Stars, the annual Holiday Parade, green spaces and plantings throughout the neighborhood, the dissemination of information on recycling practices and energy conservation, providing leadership on land use planning and zoning issues, and creating exciting new events for all ages and interests in every season of the year.
In the past, no proceeds from the CHCA’s Annual Appeal were directed to The Local. Although the CHCA is the owner of this newspaper, other than some shared expenses, the two organizations operate separately. There are separate boards of directors for each organization and separate management structures. The Local is run as a for-profit organization. The CHCA is a 501(c)3 non-profit. To make a tax-deductible donation to The Local, it must be made through the CHCA, or some other non-profit with an arrangement to act as the financial sponsor for a Chestnut Hill Local campaign.
Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the Chestnut Hill Community Association. When the CHCA was formed, Harry Truman was President of the United States, Queen Elizabeth II’s father George VI was still on the throne of England and a gallon of gas cost 26 cents. There are very few Hillers who can remember a time before the CHCA; likewise, The Local which was first published in 1958. These two organizations have been enduring and influential parts of the character and history of Chestnut Hill for generations. With your help, they will remain so for generations to come.
The fundraising goal for this year’s Appeal is $200,000, which reflects the added needs of The Local as well as the CHCA’s rising costs of doing business. The first $150,000 will be split between the two organizations, with two-thirds going to the CHCA and one-third going to The Local. Every dollar raised after the initial $150,000 will be split evenly.
We are fortunate to live, work, and play (or some combination of those verbs) in Chestnut Hill. But as I say with a flourish to my wife each morning when she questions why it takes so long for me to get ready, “This doesn’t just happen!” Chestnut Hill doesn’t ‘just happen’. There are a lot of people in a lot of organizations – which we all confuse with other organizations – working hard behind the scenes to make Chestnut Hill such a stellar neighborhood.
The CHCA is one of those organizations, as is The Local.
During the early days of the COVID-19 shutdowns, we gave free advertising to area restaurants who were pivoting to provide takeout options to stay in business and keep their staff employed. Later we offered free ads to all local businesses. We offer free classified ads to organizations looking for volunteers, and we publish a pink edition every year to raise awareness of breast cancer.
All of that is on top of investing a lot of time, energy and expense on making sure that this community is better informed about local events than any other neighborhood in Philadelphia.
Despite large increases in costs for newsprint, healthcare and various other expenses, over the past couple of years we have not raised advertising rates for our customers. We have not raised rates in many years, in fact we have lowered rates dramatically for local businesses who commit to more frequency.
Why not raise rates, when everyone else has and we rely almost solely on local advertising dollars to survive? The answer is simple. If we were to raise rates, we would not be raising them on nameless, faceless media buyers in New York or Minnesota. We would be raising them on neighbors who are feeling the same crunch we are.
If you have given to the Appeal in the past, please consider a larger donation this year to help both the Chestnut Hill Community Association and the Chestnut Hill Local continue their good work for the neighborhood. And if you have never given to the Appeal in the past, this would be a great time to start.
You can make a tax-deductible contribution online at chestnuthill.org/donate or on chestnuthilllocal.com by clicking the “Donate” button on the homepage. You can also write a check made out to the CHCA and mail it, or walk it into their office at 8434 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118.
We thank you for your consideration, and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!