Defend Wisconsin News Round Up

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

We Did It! Fundraiser for Stephanie Leigh reached it's goal of $1,000!!

As Scott Walker continues to insult the integrity of Wisconsinites by insisting that efforts to recall him are somehow funded by outside interest groups, the reality is that we are doing this on our own time and dime.  People collecting petition signatures, are doing it after work, on our days off, while grocery shopping, and while visiting friends and relatives.  Most of us, if not all, who are running various protest pages and websites, are doing this with no monetary compensation whatsoever, and on that level, Stephanie Leigh's work stands on its own, because she shares an enormous amount of information, which means that she dedicates hundreds and hundreds of hours to sharing with you and me something that she believes we should know.  That fact alone deserves a substantial recognition.

But Stephanie's work goes beyond the amount of information she shares with her fans.  Through her distinct editorial voice, Stephanie garnered support of over 60,000 "likes" through all the pages that she helps administer.  Considering that Scott Walker Facebook page claims to have over 71,000 fans, Stephanie is well on her way to having more "likes" than Scott Walker.  Even in the surreal world of Facebook, having that many fans takes a lot of effort and work, and I should know: I have been running Defend Wisconsin News Round Up since mid-February and I am proud to boast a tenth of the fans that Stephanie does.  And so I take off my hat to Stephanie Leigh for the success that she has enjoyed through her immeasurable efforts and commitment.      

As I watched Stephanie's pages over the past 11 months, I wondered if she is financially able to make things work.  Again, this kind of work is immensely rewarding but it just doesn't pay very much, if at all.  I contacted Stephanie and learned that indeed, things are not going as well as she would've hoped.  Stephanie lost her job a few months back, unemployment was taking its sweet time and she could not count on her family to provide her with support.

Over the years I have listened to my share of NPR fundraisers and even contributed once or twice, and it struck me that what Stephanie is doing is similar to the National Public Radio, in the sense that she is providing something that was of much value to her readers, at no charge whatsoever.  Every day, her pages give its fans hours of reading material, some of it funny some of it serious, but all of it educational, and all of it creating smarter readers and better voters.

Me, I'm a problem solver.  Through my involvement in politics, I have given fundraising a lot of thought.  While I'm opposed to the absolutely insane amount of money that is flooding and endangering our political process, I believe that those candidates who are fully self-funded are really showing that they have no real grassroots support.  If people believe in you, they will contribute.  Not millions of dollars but a few dollars here and there, and with Facebook and other social media outlets allowing for the message to be spread far and wide, those who are interested in being involved, can do so.

Therefore, it made perfect sense to me to set up a fundraiser for Stephanie.  I know that I'm a fan of her work, and I figured that if there are others who claim to like her, (over 10,000 by the latest count) then we should be able to raise a few dollars to help Stephanie defray whatever living expenses she has, and to allow her to do that which she does best - provide us, her readers - with relevant information about important issues.

Lo and behold, in just a few short days, we were able to raise over a $1,000 and the money is on its way to Stephanie.  Thanks to all of you who contributed - nearly 50 - and thanks to all those who shared the updates about the fundraising effort.  I said it before and I'll say it again: it is only by working together that we succeed, and to get Scott Walker recalled, it will take all of us, working together, just like we did to help Stephanie, to make our great state right again!

Yuri Rashkin
Defend Wisconsin News Round Up