The First Purple Line Ride

With the first Purple Line train due to leave the station in late 2022, we have some extraordinary news ---- a donor has come forward with a matching grant challenge and has offered a way to help us raise the funds necessary to get us over the finish line!!

This matching challenge is being done as a tribute to those who worked so hard in those early years to make this project a reality, some of whom are no longer with us and sadly won’t be able to take the first ride they dreamed of with us. Read on to see three whose hard work, perseverance, and elbow grease built the support and outreach to steer the way for the project becoming a reality.

Our donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, will match your donations up to $5,000!! Details of how this all works are at the end of the email, so please keep reading.

We are grateful to everyone who has taken a moment to remember Purple Line NOW in your holiday giving these past few weeks. (Please note: any donations that came in over the past month WILL count toward the matching grant challenge!) 

As we mentioned in our previous newsletter, we are at a difficult crossroads ---- our mission is clear, but we must find more funding to bridge us up to ribbon-cutting day.

Our benefactor wants to stress that donors are welcome to honor anyone who may have inspired them to activism, tributes to early volunteers, civil servants, and/or boosters who may have had to step back. They are all in our thoughts as we make this appeal to you.

And, there’s even more to this outreach of generosity!

This is not a one-time matching grant ---- our anonymous donor will match three-year pledges, as well as one-time donations. With your help, this will provide the financial support Purple Line NOW needs for advocacy work until the first ride when our group will disband, having achieved its goal!

If you let us know who you are thinking of as you donate, we’ll make sure to list them and a little bit about their service on our website. See the three below whose names are synonymous with the Purple Line, but we know there are so many more that deserve recognition and we hope you'll help us highlight them, too!

Harry Sanders conceived of the idea for a connecting spoke to WMATA’s metro that would serve the Maryland bi-county sector, providing much needed access to transit for residents and workers alike. Harry’s son, Greg Sanders, who is Purple Line NOW’s Vice President, grew up with parents who dedicated their volunteer hours to making the project a reality. In the photo above, Harry and his wife Barbara are at the New Carrollton Metro just after hearing that the Purple Line was named the local preferred option in 2009. Zoom in to see the signs they are holding in their arms! Harry’s approach to advocacy was to nudge, cajole, and educate in a gentle and helpful way. That philosophy lives with all of our Purple Line NOW volunteers to this day.

Barbara Steckel was President of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and actively lobbied the General Assembly on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Maryland on a variety of issues. She was an avid supporter of the Purple Line and tried to convince the County Council not to rebuild the old railroad bridge over Rock Creek Park or to improve the railroad grade that the county had purchased for what was then to be called the Georgetown Branch Trolley. She was worried that users of the improved trail would become so enamored with it that they would be angry when light rail construction began and would fight the project. 

Keith Haller, a longtime advocate of the line and former Purple Line NOW Board Member, provided critical analysis, access to elected officials who could help, and a walking encyclopedia of how the process would work and how we could best position ourselves to help educate and encourage the community to come around to the idea of this light rail project. Keith’s big ideas, as he used to call them in our meetings, helped us see the bigger picture and reach “onward and upward” ---- a favorite phrase of Mr. Haller’s that we heard often.

With those three in mind, and countless others, we ask you to make a donation to Purple Line NOW and if possible, consider extending that donation over three years. So, for example, you might make a $300 total pledge at $100 per year for the next three years. And, our matching donor will double that each year! We appreciate all levels of donations. Every dollar helps us get to opening day.

For those of you unfamiliar with matching challenges, here are the details:

Our donor has offered to match EVERY donation, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000 per year for three years. This is a way for you to DOUBLE your donation! See, we told you it was big news!

And, the donor has generously agreed to match any donations that came in from individuals in the past few weeks, as well. We are grateful.

Purple Line NOW needs, on average, about $20,000 a year to accomplish its work, producing a bi-weekly newsletter, hosting free educational events, team meetings, and helping the community get answers to its construction-related questions. We rarely hold special events to raise money as we have always been funded by the generosity of donors who step up when the need arises.

We have three years to go and hope you’ll join us on the final leg of our journey! All Aboard!

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