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A project to expand our community news platform to include public education coverage in Charlottesville-Albemarle.
172 backers pledged $17,565 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$17,565

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The project
Charlottesville Tomorrow will take its successful approach to in-depth community news and start covering K-12 public education in Charlottesville-Albemarle.

During June 2013 to May 2014, we will produce 2-5 education news stories a week, build a community calendar for education-related events, and create a new weekly email news service focused on education.  Think of all the things Charlottesville Tomorrow does today, applied to local public education. 

Our focus on the classroom will include a “Meet your Educator” series, we’ll explore our specialty centers (STEM, performing arts, etc.), we’ll have data-driven stories on student achievement and in-depth stories comparing our two school divisions.  At the school board level, we’ll keep you informed about the candidates running for office and their choices on school policy, budget, curriculum, and staffing.

Our community has not had a dedicated education reporter since 2005. Local schools are a major quality of life issue and the biggest portion of local government budgets. We all want to ensure those tax dollars are being invested wisely and getting results.

Successfully preparing our children for their future requires a public engaged in the local education agenda. Economic vitality and successful local businesses require strong public schools. UVa needs strong public schools to recruit faculty.

A December 2009 study by the Brookings Institution makes the business case.

“[T]here is no substitute for day-to-day reporting on the schools. Reporters who parachute in to cover a particular school crisis are no substitute for journalists who immerse themselves both in the broader issues surrounding educational improvement and in the on-the-ground experiences of particular teachers and students and schools. We believe that partnerships between not-for-profit organizations and profit-making newspapers should be encouraged.”

Shortly before this study was issued by Brookings, Charlottesville Tomorrow launched just such a news partnership with The Daily Progress. Today 60 percent of the daily newspaper’s content on growth and development matters is written by Charlottesville Tomorrow.

With your support of this campaign, we can expand those media partnerships and the coverage of local education. We are pleased to announce that both our community’s weekly newspapers, C-Ville and The Hook, plan to publish the education news created by this project. It’s an exciting development that will ensure Charlottesville Tomorrow’s trusted reporting gets even greater exposure in our community.

Our experience
Charlottesville Tomorrow is a non-profit community news organization dedicated to increasing government transparency and accountability by providing clear, non-partisan information, with the confidence that an informed public will make decisions that will improve our community.

Known for its focus on land use, transportation and community design issues since 2005, Charlottesville Tomorrow is ready to expand its work to cover public education, a critical quality of life issue in our community.

Our executive director, Brian Wheeler, served on the Albemarle County School Board and was its chairman for two years.  He is an award-winning journalist who has closely followed local education issues for more than 15 years and who has reported on local government for Charlottesville Tomorrow since 2005. 

Tim Shea has been reporting for Charlottesville Tomorrow since September and his work has already received an award from the Virginia Press Association.  He’s ready to make our local schools his daily beat.

You can help us match a major grant!

Charlottesville Tomorrow has received several major gifts to get this project going.  One of the grants is for $12,500 and has a 1:1 matching requirement.  The first funds raised will match this grant and thus double your investment. 

Your tax deductible contributions will allow us to start publishing education news this June.

We also want to thank the following supporters for their lead gifts to launch this project:

Claude Moore Charitable Trust; League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area; Dick & Barbara Fontaine; VMDO Architects; Elizabeth Breeden; Stephen Shepard; and Lisa & Bob Moorefield.

Risks and challenges

Charlottesville Tomorrow is well positioned to effectively conduct this project. The challenge is building awareness, adding subscribers to our education email news and supporting this coverage on an ongoing basis.

This is a pilot project, and Charlottesville Tomorrow’s first expansion into the coverage of other community issues, we plan to be good students and listeners to our community’s needs.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    We’ll thank you all over the place! In our weekly email newsletter, on our Facebook page, and in our Twitter feed.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    We will mail you our bumper sticker! Whether you slap it on your car, your bike, or your laptop, the message “Shop Local, Eat Local, READ Local” says that you support community news!

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    Ships to Only United States
    21 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    We will mail you a Charlottesville Tomorrow T-Shirt and our bumper sticker that both say you support community news!

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    23 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    We’ll treat you to a lunch at two of our bi-annual “state of local education” roundtables. Not only will you get our in-depth news reporting, but you'll get to participate in these informative exchanges that will shape your thinking, and ours as we cover this beat. Plus a T-shirt and bumper sticker too!

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    15 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    You'll get tickets to two special Charlottesville Tomorrow donor recognition events (e.g. a Heritage Repertory Theater performance; a Virginia Film Festival reception). Plus an invite to our education roundtables, a T-shirt and bumper sticker too!

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    14 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Share the love. You'll get the opportunity to promote the nonprofit of your choice in an advertisement appearing with our education news stories for a year. Plus you get all the other goodies mentioned above!

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    2 backers
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Funding period

- (18 days)