The Campaign for Independence
To commemorate the first 50 years of The Harvard Independent and prepare for the next 50, we’re embarking on the biggest, most ambitious, and most important fundraising campaign in the Indy’s history. By the time of Harvard’s Commencement in June, 2020—the end of the newspaper’s 50th full year of operation—we aim to add $1 million to the Independent’s existing endowment, ensuring that the organization will have a permanent home and the resources to train many new generations of student journalists.
Whether you spent your Indy years hanging out upstairs at the Union, the Canaday Hall basement, or the Student Organization Center, Hilles (SOCH), you know that the newspaper has always been a community and a culture as much as a publishing operation. Many of us learned the tricks of the journalism, photography, design, or business trades from our student peers at the Indy—and formed the most vivid and lasting friendships of our lives. Since members of the Classes of 1970 and 1971 founded the newspaper in 1969, 48 cohorts of Indy staffers have used their work at the paper to discover who they are, and have gone on to make their marks in the broader world.
To make sure that this “Indy experience” is available to future generations of students, the paper’s alumni must step up and contribute once again. For all the details about The Campaign for Independence, underway now through mid-2020, click here to download our PDF brochure (which was expertly designed by Sally Rinehart ’09).
harvard is downsizing the indy out of existence
Throughout its history, the Independent has depended upon Harvard for office space. That arrangement is now coming to an end as the university implements significant changes to the way it allocates space on campus.
In the spring of 2018, the office of the Dean of Students evicted the Independent from the second-floor SOCH office that had been the paper’s home for 10 years (its fourth since 1969). Officials explained that the eviction was part of a larger plan to eliminate all private office space for student organizations on university property, on the premise that today’s students prefer to collaborate in open commmunity spaces. The Indy’s Graduate Board lobbied to reverse that decision, and subsequently the Dean’s Office reassigned the newspaper to two tiny offices on separate floors of the SOCH, but warned that these spaces were temporary, and could be taken away as soon as the 2019-2020 school year.
The SOCH office was never ideal—being so far from the Yard made recruiting new compers vastly more difficult. But without a place to gather and continue its culture, the Indy now faces an enormous challenge which could affect the organization’s long-term viability.
a home of its own
It’s time for the Independent to grow up, move out, and take control of its own destiny. Unfortunately, the days when local newspapers could use advertising dollars to pay the rent are a distant memory. The main goal of the Campaign for Independence is to assemble an endowment large enough to allow the Harvard Independent, Inc.—the 501(c)(3) controlled by the Indy’s Graduate Board—to rent off-campus office space for the newspaper, at a location close to Harvard Yard and the River Houses.
Thanks to the past generosity of alumni, the Independent’s current endowment—which funds all of the newpaper’s operations—stands at around $200,000. If we can add another $1 million to that amount, the interest on the endowment would cover a commercial lease in or around Harvard Square, finally liberating the Indy from Harvard and putting the newspaper on a more equal footing with the Crimson (which acquired its Plympton Street building in 1915).
We’ve already made a promising start: pledges since Fall 2018 from members of the Campaign for Independence Committee and other alumni have put us past the $125,000 mark. Now it’s your turn to help! Download our brochure and click the button below to donate.
join the campaign
Once again, the future of the Independent is in the hands of its alumni.
Our 35th Anniversary fund drive in 2004 was a huge success, raising nearly $200,000. That crucial infusion arrived at just the right moment to allow the Indy to weather the collapse of the local advertising market.
But if the Indy’s revenues are far smaller today than in past decades, so, fortunately, are its costs. Technological advances mean that students can produce the paper on their own laptops. Printing is the last major expense.
However, the existing endowment won’t cover the cost of new office space. We know that the Indy’s thousands of alumni have achieved prominence and success in journalism and a wide range of other professions, including law, medicine, investment banking, and consulting. And we know that many worthy causes seek your support. But here’s one—finding a new, permanent home for the Independent—where your contribution will make a real and significant difference, by helping to secure a place for alternative campus journalism at Harvard for the next fifty years.
We welcome checks, donations of publicly traded stock, or online donations via credit card or PayPal (via the button below). For all the details about making a tax-deductible donation to the Harvard Independent, Inc., please visit our How to Participate page.
Thank you for your support!
Ways to Give
The Harvard Independent, Inc. is a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation qualified as a §501(c)(3) charitable institution with the federal identification number 04-2456752. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent provided under the Internal Revenue Code.
You can contribute to the Independent in many ways:
Make an online donation
Click the “Donate Now” button above or click here to go to our checkout page, using your credit card or PayPal or Venmo account.
Send us a check
Checks should be made payable to “The Harvard Independent, Inc.” and should be mailed to:
1770 Massachusetts Avenue, #198
Cambridge, MA 02140
Donate publicly-traded stock
Donating appreciated securities can have tax advantages. For further information on giving publicly tradable stock, email us at email@example.com.
For more information
Contact the Campaign for Independence Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the 50th Anniversary Reunion Committee at email@example.com
The Campaign for Independence Committee Members
The Campaign for Independence is an all-volunteer effort. We’re currently working to recruit more Class Captains to help coordinate outreach to individual alumni. If you’d like to help, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org