The campaign to support Oregonian employees started with this tweet:
Extending my offer from Facebook to @Oregonian friends. If need be, please let me know what bar I should call to set up a tab.
— Ryan Frank (@rfrank_emerald) June 20, 2013
Now, we want your ideas about what to do with the money we’ve raised. (More on that later.)
At first, we collected individual donations through Twitter, Facebook and email to open a tab at Higgins, the office bar across the street from The Oregonian’s headquarters. But demand from donors grew so fast, we had to automate the process. We used PayPal and created a crude web page. The donations kept adding up. Some people, including Mayor Charlie Hales and staff from the Portland Business Journal, called or visited Higgins directly to add to the bar tab. Even a college student who had been mentored by Oregonian staff decided to donate a $150 staff award to the fund. Within 24 hours, we received $3,000 from supporters from across the country. The campaign was mentioned in The Oregonian’s story and on Romenesko. The posts prompted more contributions from Oregonian readers, the Sacramento Bee copy desk and many more.
As of today, the Oregonian Fund has raised about $6,700. We spent about $2,800 for two nights at Higgins. We had dozens of other donations to help cover the Higgins’ tab. But also we have some PayPal fees, and we want to account for late payments or non-payments. We’re estimating an available balance of about $4,000. (All figures are unofficial and need to be reconciled.)
Nearly a week after the campaign started, we have a question to answer: Now what?
The Oregonian Fund is transitioning into this new group, 1320 Broadway. I’ve continued to consult with current employees, laid off employees and retired or former employees for advice and ideas. And I’ll continue to seek feedback from all of you.
The first task for 1320 Broadway: What do we do with the fund balance? Second, do we continue seeking to raise money? And if so, for what?
I’d like your ideas. Please share them in the comments here. Or, share your idea privately at email@example.com. I’ll collect feedback through July 7 and will update this page on Monday, July 8.