I was worried. Now, I’m filled with gratitude.
Your support fuels our work and the people who are behind it. Thank you so much!“I’m worried.” That was the subject line of an email I sent to the entire OpenMedia community a month ago. OpenMedia had been falling behind on our fundraising targets for the past few months, and as the team’s development lead, I was getting stressed out planning how we were going to catch up. But only a day after sending that email, our team couldn’t believe the generous support pouring in from people all over the world who genuinely care about keeping our work to fight for digital rights going strong. Saying thank you never feels like enough to show you how much of a difference you make — but I'm here to try. After a month-long crowdfunding campaign, I’m so thrilled to tell you we met our target! We also received very generous gifts from Private Internet Access, Teksavvy, and Distributel which were enough to triple the support from thousands of grassroots donors. More than 50 percent of OpenMedia’s funding comes from small grassroots donations. Having thousands of people chip in on a regular basis makes us stronger — every donation adds up, and the widespread diversity of supporters means we're not counting on any single major donor to to sustain critical work. It also means the voices we represent are truly the backbone of what we do and we have the flexibility to jump on breaking issues that matter to you. OpenMedia is an advocacy organization. We spend a lot of time carefully researching political policies that would harm the open Internet and figuring out the most effective ways to intervene. That always involves creatively engaging and empowering enough people to trump the influence of spy agencies and corporate behemoths. How we do that involves a lot of behind the scenes hard work from some really amazing people. I’d like to introduce a few of them here. Meet Katy Anderson, OpenMedia’s Access Campaigner. Katy has been instrumental in OpenMedia’s to fight to win back Net Neutrality. And although we aren’t there yet, thanks to Katy’s campaigning and your voices, we have been able to keep the pressure on Congressional representatives since the open web was turned upside down by the FCC in December. After numerous billboards; two nationwide protests; multiple petitions; millions of phone calls to representatives; and a tool that sent letters to the editor of every newspaper across multiple jurisdictions, Congress has voted to restore Net Neutrality through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Since then we’ve only seen support increase. We already have 172 of the 218 representatives we need, signed on in the House. We still have a long way to go and the stakes couldn’t be higher, but what we’ve accomplished together is no small feat, not to mention the widespread skepticism that we’ve proven wrong along the road. Meet Victoria Henry, OpenMedia’s Privacy Campaigner. Thanks to your support, Victoria has sparked an international backlash to the Trump administration’s recent attack on global free expression — a move for a mandatory five year social media history on all visa applications to the US. Regardless of whether you plan to travel there, this impacts us all. The effect of self-censoring from this law would undoubtedly be enormous, placing scrutiny and the threat of denial of entry to a superpower country on millions of people from around the world who could otherwise voice their political concerns and ideas freely online. Victoria has also been busy working to stop intrusive digital strip searches conducted increasingly by border agents. Last year she helped thousands of US citizens advocate for a law that would require all government agencies including border guards, to obtain a warrant before breaking into your laptops and phones. Although we can’t claim victory yet, these efforts helped snuff out toxic recommendations that were gaining steam in Washington to make digital strip searches routine for every traveller at border control. Meet Dave, OpenMedia’s Campaigns Director. Dave helps strategize and oversee all of the work described above. He’s also been actively fighting back against European copyright proposals to force websites to pay a tax to link to news content and use censorship machines to block uploaded content. The link tax would affect not just Europe, but every website based in or used in Europe — which means potentially every website in the world. OpenMedia has been fighting back against these proposals for three years and we were devastated when the EU legal affairs committee voted for both the Link Tax and censorship machines on June 20th. But thanks to your support, we were able to keep pressure on parliament strong resulting the copyright provisions being rejected by EU parliament through a close vote: 318 – 278. This has been a long battle, and the fight isn’t over yet. Your support will help us keep pushing back until the copyright directive returns for another vote, which looks like it will take place in autumn. And finally, meet me, Alana Schultz, OpenMedia’s Director of Development. No headshot here because you can see me up top featured in my short thank you video 😊 I spend nearly every hour of my workweek figuring out how to fund all of my colleagues’ steadfast efforts to fight for an Internet that’s open, accessible and surveillance free. Knowing that we have a community of people like you who understand the value of this work and are willing to support it, is what makes my job so rewarding. We get a lot of emails in our general inbox asking what grassroots donations help us accomplish. Although you can see our campaigns and advocacy tools online, a lot of the long hours that go into this work are invisible to the everyday supporter. I hope I’ve been able to give you a taste of what and who your generosity is propelling every day. We can’t thank you for it enough!