Please view our 2011 Financial Report here.
History and Future of The Contributor
The Contributor was launched in November of 2007 as an independent publication, with a volunteer staff. Meetings comprised of outreach workers, homeless advocates, homeless and formerly homeless individuals were held to determine the content of The Contributor newspaper and what services the organization could provide. The name “The Contributor” was chosen because it highlighted the fact that the homeless and formerly homeless vendors were “contributing” members of society and that society, in turn, could contribute back to them. At its inception, The Contributor had no office space and no paid staff. Meetings were held at The Downtown Public Library and weekly meetings, held at The Downtown Presbyterian Church. All papers were distributed to vendors on a park bench by volunteer staff. In July of 2008, The Contributor received donated office space from The Downtown Presbyterian Church and began to maintain office hours four days a week. The first year was a moderate success with plenty of room to grow. Eight issues were printed, with the largest distribution being 977 papers at the 8th issue release.
In December of 2009, The Contributor began its first capital campaign which resulted in hiring the paper’s founder and longtime volunteer, executive director and designer, Tasha French.
The paper has grown exponentially ever since, particularly in 2010/2011 both in monthly circulation and vendor force size–from 12,000 issues distributed in January 2010 to now averaging 100,000 issues per month and from 65 active newspaper vendors per month to every month, 375+ individuals living beneath the poverty line work to create their own micro-business; as a result, 1/3 of our homeless vendors find housing.
The Contributor distributed 1.3 million papers in 2011 alone and put an estimated $2.6 million into the hands of homeless and formerly homeless Nashvillians. The Contributor is now the nation’s #1 leading street newspaper in circulation and serves as a model for other street newspapers throughout North America.
We have certainly come a long way since 2007 and it is because of the amazing direct support of our readership. The Contributor is now striving to take the Next Step throughout 2012.
The “Next Step” includes:
*Becoming a twice-a-month publication at the forefront of critical journalistic excellence covering issues related to poverty and homelessness—all from perspectives that simply cannot be found in other publications.
*Providing tools that make your vendors’ businesses more successful with financial literacy, legal assistance, and more.
*Hiring a Vendor Outreach Worker who will help facilitate direct support and connections to an array of social service programs that help vendors overcome barriers that contribute to homelessness.
Just as we have in the past, we are asking you, the reader, to invest in The Contributor‘s Next Step toward a greater level of service and impact in our vendors’ lives.
You can invest in The Contributor by sending a check to
The Contributor / P.O. Box 332023 / Nashville, Tennessee 37203
*Throughout 2012, include your vendor’s name with your donation and they will receive free papers on your behalf.
The Contributor, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization, EIN 37-1551739. All donations are tax-deductible.