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How The Tyee Pays Its Bills

The Tyee is funded in part by readers, who we call Tyee Builders. Builders pledge a monthly financial contribution to help us strengthen and grow.

Think of it as a voluntary subscription -- with extra benefits for you as well as for The Tyee and our national conversation.

Joining Tyee Builders is a fresh opportunity to grow sustainable independent media. This opportunity excites a lot of leading Canadians. Naomi Klein, Douglas Coupland, Willie Mitchell, Joe Keithley and Stevie Cameron are a few of the dozens of notable folks who have signed on to support The Tyee.

Read on to learn more about how the Tyee pays its bills, and why, should you become a Tyee Builder, your financial contribution will have a significant impact.

Investors: Over half of the Tyee’s revenues are from two ongoing investors. They are Working Enterprises, a Vancouver-based labour-affiliated investment group that has as part of its mission funding socially-responsible organizations, and Eric Peterson and Christina Munck, whose B.C.-based Tula Foundation funds a wide range of progressive programs including those of the Hakai Institute on the B.C. Central Coast.

The Tyee is not yet profitable. The investors have agreed that should The Tyee become profitable they would first reinvest those profits into the publication, and should profits become significant they would donate those to the non-profit sector. The Tyee’s investors do not seek to sell the publication. They are open to approaches from other interested investors.

Advertising: A growing percentage of our revenues come from advertising, paying for about 20 per cent of Tyee’s operating expenses currently. The Tyee values its relationship with advertisers; however we don’t anticipate becoming near totally reliant on advertising revenues as is corporate media.

Partnerships and Collaborations: The Tyee funds some of its public interest reporting projects by seeking partnerships and collaborations with like-minded organizations. For example, Monte Paulsen’s 2009 Webster-nominated series on affordable housing was supported by three Canadian foundations interested in social justice issues. The percentage of overall revenue this represents has varied from year to year, ranging from zero to 12 per cent.

Special Initiatives: The Tyee raises some money through initiatives including our Tyee Master Classes. The percentage of overall revenue this represents has been minimal until this year, when we expect it to reach 5 per cent.

On a few occasions The Tyee has requested that readers contribute to a Tyee Election Fund used to pay for extra reporting related to the provincial election. In each of those years the money raised added about 4 per cent to overall Tyee revenues.

The big difference Builders can make.

What difference will new contributions from Builders make? Quite a significant one, for this reason: The revenue picture described above assures that the day to day operations of the Tyee are taken care of. Rent, computers, phones -- our modest but efficient journalistic infrastructure -- is in place and paid for, so Builder funds can go straight into more and better journalism.

The Tyee already attracts nearly one million page views on an average month – and our readership continues to grow. What new, high impact reporting and commentary can we provide to that influential audience? Builders will help us answer that question. If you join their ranks by committing at least five (and up to 100) dollars a month, you will be given the opportunity to enter into a continuing conversation with The Tyee, telling us what issues you care about most and want to see covered.

Five dollars a month is the cost of a coffee or two (depending on how fancy you like it). Ten dollars a month is a small pizza. Fifteen dollars a month is almost 40 per cent less than what the Vancouver Sun is charging for a subscription.

A note about reader supported ‘Tyee Fellowships’. Periodically the Tyee conducts a fundraising drive asking readers to support Tyee Investigative and Solutions-oriented Reporting Fellowships. The money raised from these drives is not Tyee revenue as that money goes to the winners of the Fellowships to carry out journalism projects in the public interest which they have proposed. The Tyee is pleased to publish such projects, but they do not add to our bottom line. Tyee Fellowships are awarded by an independent blue ribbon panel of journalism experts, not Tyee editors. Tyee Fellowship funds are held in a donor advised fund at Tides Canada Foundation; donors receive a charitable tax receipt for their contributions. The Tyee contributes to Tyee Fellowship Projects by fundraising for the fund, convening the panel and editing the pieces produced for publication.

A note about The Tyee Solutions Society. In late 2009, The Tyee Solutions Society (TSS) was formed. TSS is a non-profit organization that is entirely distinct from The Tyee. TSS exists solely to produce news reporting in the public interest. Reporting produced by TSS is available to be published in various publications, The Tyee being just one. Reporting from TSS projects has been published or broadcast, for example, by the CBC, Torstar newspapers, and the Los Angeles Times. The Tyee Solutions Society formulates journalism projects in the public interest and seeks funding from grant-makers for those projects, while reserving editorial independence in the carrying out of those projects. For more about The Tyee Solutions Society, go here.

The Tyee does not count funding for TSS, a wholly separate organization, as part of Tyee revenues.