Describe your nonprofit’s mission.
Charlottesville Tomorrow is a nonprofit news organization whose mission is to inform and engage the public by providing clear, non-partisan information and research on land use, transportation, community design and public education issues with the confidence an informed public will make decisions that will protect and build upon the distinctive character of the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.
What need in our community brought about the creation of your nonprofit?
During 2003 and 2004, our co-founders Michael Bills and Rick Middleton each had a vision for a new approach to protect and to build upon the distinctive character of the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.
Michael realized that the increased reliance on the internet was becoming a serious threat to local newspapers as the main source for community news and information. This realization, however, also provided the opportunity for a local organization to leverage online resources to inform the public about key quality-of-life issues in a way that would motivate them to take action.
Rick’s involvement with the myriad of issues arising from Charlottesville’s popularity and growth, made clear to him how many facts were missing from the discussion of these complex issues. He saw that his organization and many others had valuable information to contribute to these debates, but lacked a suitable local forum.
Michael and Rick started talking about how best to provide information about the key land use decisions facing Charlottesville-Albemarle. Both recognized that there were already plenty of advocates on all sides of most issues. What was missing was reliable, robust information, and an understandable way for busy people to engage in the decisions being made.
The board’s first organizational meeting took place on July 1, 2005 where Michael Bills was elected chairman and Brian Wheeler was hired as the first executive director. The distinguished group of founding directors included Michael, Rick, Renee Grisham, A.D. Hart, Steve McLean, Paula Newcomb, Terry Sieg, Mac Thompson, Cathy Train and Tony Vanderwarker.
Charlottesville Tomorrow’s 2017 Board of Directors and Staff
How has your nonprofit made a difference in our community?
Since our founding in 2005, we’ve earned a reputation as a respected voice in the community. Our goal, from the start, has been to encourage, inspire, and facilitate our readers’ engagement in the important issues in our community. Our style of non-partisan, nonprofit news encourages the public to draw its own conclusions, with the hope that together we find solutions that will benefit the community as a whole.
Charlottesville Tomorrow’s work is guided by the following core values:
- Our information and approach is non-partisan and objective.
We respect the unique character of the Charlottesville-Albemarle community and recognize that it shapes our quality of life today and tomorrow.
We trust an engaged citizenry to make informed decisions that will benefit the community as a whole.
We believe the democratic process works best in an atmosphere of open government and transparency.
We value and work to foster cooperation and mutual understanding between Charlottesville, Albemarle, and the University of Virginia.
How can community members help you achieve your mission?
Charlottesville Tomorrow is a nonprofit organization supported by private donations. All gifts are welcome and appreciated and every dollar is used wisely to support our mission to inform and engage the public.
Community members can also share our stories and be an active voice by engaging with fellow citizens about the issues we cover.
Besides your organization’s mission, how do you give back to our community?
Since 2005, Charlottesville Tomorrow has hired nearly 40 paid interns to be trained as staff reporters. Previous interns have gone on to graduate from over a dozen universities (including, Yale, Brown, George Mason, Virginia Tech, William & Mary, and the University of Virginia). Our current intern Julie Zink is a fourth year student at UVA majoring in English and Media Studies.
Tell us a story about your work.
In 2012, Charlottesville Tomorrow became the first online member of the Virginia Press Association. Since then, Charlottesville Tomorrow has been recognized with over 80 awards for journalism. In April of 2017, we received 21 awards, including Best News Website in the Online Division for the third year in a row.
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