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Membership drive underway; more events are coming up

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The Notebook’s 2014 membership campaign is now in full swing, and this year the nonprofit is counting on signing up more members than ever.

As the newspaper enters its 20th year of publishing, it is increasingly dependent on reader support to fund its work – and especially grateful to its long-time members, several dozen of whom have been giving consistently since 1994.

Last year, the Notebook reached its highest membership tally to date, with 563 dues-paying members. As of mid-January, the Notebook had 120 members for 2014.

The nonprofit hopes to continue building its members at every level of giving, including a new category called the “Publisher’s Circle.” Recently Paul Socolar, editor and director of the Notebook, assumed the title of “editor and publisher” to better reflect his expanded responsibilities in the context of the Notebook’s establishment as an independent organization. To acknowledge the organization’s growth, the nonprofit created a new category, for those who generously donate $1,000 or more.

Members shape the products and services that the Notebook offers, so the Notebook encourages you to become a member today. You can join for $40 or more by filling out the membership form on page 27 of this edition.

Membership does have its privileges. A basic membership includes such benefits as a subscription to the Notebook by first-class mail and invitations to special events. A $75 associate or organizational membership includes discounts to the Notebook’s annual June celebration.

One component of the membership drive is a series of house parties. The Notebook began holding house parties at the homes of supporters in spring 2012 to increase its membership, build connections among readers, and introduce itself to those not already familiar with it. Since then, there have been five house parties, and another round has begun. These events have raised more than $17,000 and recruited many new friends and supporters.

More house parties are planned throughout the coming year. If you are interested in co-hosting one or would like to attend, contact Notebook development director Tim Cravens at

Celebrating 20 years

This year represents a remarkable milestone for the Notebook, as it marks 20 years of publishing. The main event will be the annual Turning the Page for Change celebration, which is just a few months away. Staff members are already planning the big day, which will include student journalism awards, musicians, exciting door prizes, and networking and conversation with some of the city’s most committed and knowledgeable voices in public education.

The event will be Tuesday, June 10, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., at University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St.

The Notebook will be celebrating the impact it has had in covering Philadelphia’s public schools over the last two decades, while looking forward to many more years of empowering parents, students, educators, and others to improve education in the city.

The Notebook is seeking organizations and businesses to sponsor the event and individuals to serve on the host committee. For donation details – to become a sponsor or host – or if you would like to volunteer to help plan the celebration, contact Tim Cravens, development director, at

Our open house

The Notebook staff was happy to show off its new digs at Seventh and Ranstead Streets in an open house held Dec. 5. More than 50 Notebook members came out to see the freshly decorated office, enjoy refreshments, and engage in conversation with staff, board members, and one another about the issues facing our public schools.

Attendees could watch the school closings documentary, Goodbye to City Schools, by Notebook summer intern Amy Yeboah. Some guests also enjoyed a tour of the Notebook’s downstairs neighbor, PhillyCAM, Philadelphia’s public access television organization, led by executive director Gretjen Clausing.

The Notebook has additional desk space available for rent to other public interest media professionals. If you are a freelance writer or a small organization that can benefit from the synergies of co-locating in a nonprofit media space and would like to sublet space in the Notebook office, email Neeta Patel, associate director for operations, at

New interns

Each semester the Notebook brings on editorial interns to help produce content for the website and the print editions. For the winter/spring cycle of internships, the Notebook welcomes two Temple University students, Daniel Hampton and Jeseamy Muentes, and Haverford student Aurora Jensen.

Hampton, a senior journalism major, is co-founder of Nine Dots Media, a social media management company. He is also vice president of operations at, a family business that sets up robocalls and polls for politicians, political organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and schools.

Muentes, also a journalism student, has sharpened her writing skills at Temple News, where she contributed to the paper’s multimedia section. She also worked with the university’s OwlSports Update, where she contributed to the biweekly TV show, and, serving as a website editor.

Jensen joins the Notebook as a student in Haverford College’s Urban Politics class, which incorporates a fieldwork component. A California native, she is pursuing an interdisciplinary major – Growth and Structure of Cities. Her course of study brings together aspects of regional and urban planning, architecture, environmentalism, urban life, and society. Last fall, she studied sustainable design in Copenhagen.

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