This is a difficult letter to write. We hope you will read to the end as we lay out a serious issue facing our organization.
As you know, Purple Line NOW has been around for over 16 years in its current form, and many years before that under a different name and structure. In that time, our large board and team have worked hard with so many of you to be the persistent voice promoting the project when times were tough and when the prospect of bringing the Purple Line to our region was on the back-burner for decision-makers in our counties and our state. Purple Line NOW was there, knocking on doors of elected officials, hosting press conferences, testifying at hearings, and holding monthly meetings of transit advocates, elected officials, developers, and residents alike.
You may remember, several years ago, when the chips were down - we partnered with other transit and transportation-oriented organizations to take Annapolis by storm to push the project forward. We reached out to the Governor, testified at the General Assembly and hosted a transit night to which all delegates and state senators were invited. Here we are, with our partners, on the steps of the State House showing, once again, what strong support there is for the Purple Line.
A year ago, when the lawsuit from residents in Chevy Chase stalled the project for months while we awaited judgment, Purple Line NOW hosted a press conference that attracted over 15 media outlets, Congressman Jamie Raskin, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, Montgomery County Council’s then President Roger Berliner, Prince George's County then Vice Chair Dannielle Glaros, and Dennis Desmond from LIUNA, who all spoke passionately to hundreds in the crowd to demand action to get the Purple Line moving again.
In 2018, we launched an information-packed bi-weekly newsletter to keep the community abreast of construction issues, to provide context and to explain why certain construction-oriented activities are occurring in the neighborhoods along the Purple Line corridor, and most importantly, to provide a way to connect concerned residents and businesses to the people who can help answer their questions. We have had a positive and energetic reaction to the newsletter - and we take seriously our commitment to help provide answers to questions that arise because of construction and other Purple Line-related issues.
Two years ago, we launched the popular Envisioning the Purple Line series which brings together transit professionals like the Secretary of Transportation, the CEO of the concessionaire who is building the project, and other folks in-the-know like business development professionals, county council members, and MTA leadership - to provide educational fora for the communities along the Purple Line route. These events are well-attended and covered by regional press.
All of this goes to say: Purple Line NOW has continued to evolve through the years as the project fought for funding, argued for a quick dispatch of a languishing lawsuit, and adopted a renewed focus as we broke ground and construction began.
Today, however, we are at a significant crossroads.
We must have a successful donation campaign this month to meet our budget through the fall when we hope to offer another forum in late October. We know you get a lot of requests for donations to causes you care about and we are grateful for your past generosity. We are careful custodians of your funding - our work gets done with the help of an all-volunteer board and team and a quarter-time executive director.
Please contribute today, all levels of donations are welcome. As a contributor, with your permission, we will publicize your name, or your business name, for one year following your donation. We are growing our email list every day - and we will list our sponsors on our newsletter - we want everyone to know about your generosity! Here are some facts and figures that may help as you consider our emergency request:
Without your support, we will not be able to continue offering the services in the way we have been to date. Keeping our website running, hosting fora for communities in both Prince George's and Montgomery counties, and connecting community issues to the people who can solve them takes financial resources we must raise with a quick and effective fundraising effort.
Thank you for reading and considering our request to donate today.
Ralph Bennett, President
Greg Sanders, Vice President
Tina Slater, Treasurer
Nancy Soreng, Secretary
P.S. Purple Line NOW does not receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), or business - nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We operate solely on donations from individuals and businesses who care about the Purple Line and whose generosity allows us to continue our work.