The issue of YES! you're holding in your hands is our 21st (19 numbered plus 2 beta issues)—and we are indeed feeling grown up. After moving from “barely hanging on by our fingernails” to “small but promising,” we're now at the “Hey, we're having a real impact!” stage. You, our readers, are the biggest reason.
First you've helped us expand our circulation. Sally Wilson, our circulation manager, tells me that over the last year alone you gave more than 2,000 gift subscriptions. And many of you have encouraged friends and relatives to subscribe for themselves. Our total circulation—which includes subscribers, promotional copies, and newsstand and back issue sales—is now 30,000; about 14,000 of those copies go to subscribers. That's nearly triple the number of subscribers we had three years ago.
Reaching a million
I recently calculated the number of times someone sees one or more of our articles. I was amazed that for this past year alone, it was over a million. One reason we reach so many people is that you, our readers, use the magazine so actively. You photocopy
articles for friends and local officials; you reprint stories in your organization's newsletters; you use the magazine in your study groups; you copy articles from our website and email them to others; and the teachers among you are increasingly using YES! in your classes. Some of you have convinced other publications to review YES! The prestigious Library Journal, in its September, 2000 issue, recommended that libraries subscribe to YES!, saying “This is an important journal for those interested in a progressive future” (now, let's see, who would that leave out?). Tell that to your local librarian!
To support your creative uses of YES!, our webmistress, Audrey Watson, (with help from some terrific volunteers) has put most articles from our back issues on our website. All that rich material is now attracting over 600 visitors to our site every day. Audrey also has made the site searchable. Click on “search” and then type in “Globalization,” “Crime,” “Sustainable Agriculture,” “Thomas Berry,” “Winona LaDuke”—whatever you're looking for—and you'll find the relevant articles. You can also order back issues, give a gift subscription, or renew your subscription via the Web—just click on “subscribe.”
Last October, our managing editor, Carol Estes, began writing a discussion guide for each new issue of YES! You can get the guides, designed for community groups and classrooms, on our website (under “discuss”) or you can write us for a hard copy. Last October also marked the publication of our first book, Saying Yes! Conversations on a World that Works for All. The book contains Sarah van Gelder's interviews with nine practical visionaries—I've noticed many of you are giving the book as a gift.
We're also reaching hundreds of thousands of people through other publications such as the Utne Reader, which regularly reprints our articles. Major websites, such as Alternet.org, are now posting many of our articles.
We could not have grown like this without your financial support. Your subscriptions and generous donations make up two-thirds of our budget, keeping us afloat. oundation grants provide the remaining third. Right now we're celebrating two major grants—one from the Ford Foundation to help us expand our reach and develop new programs and another from the Fetzer Institute to support our State of the Possible retreats.
Weaving the web
The State of the Possible retreats are one important way we are connecting social change leaders across the boundaries of issues, movements, and races. Over the last two years we've held four retreats, and we're planning six more during the next three years. These gatherings, which participants find incredibly inspiring, are having a tremendous impact in laying the foundation of trust so crucial to the transformational change called for by our times. You can read about our most recent retreat here and here.
I'm delighted to report that Sarah is currently taking a three-month sabbatical. She's had principal responsibility for each of the 21 issues of YES! and prior to that she worked on nine issues of In Context. That's 30 magazines without a single break! Sarah will use her “time off” to draft a book on transformational change based on all she's learned from crafting all those magazines.
The next issue of YES! (on engaged spirituality) is in the capable hands of Carol Estes. Carol, whose beautifully written articles are among our most popular, has just been named managing editor. Sheldon Ito, who has been our editorial intern, will be assistant editor for that issue.
Trost has become our new Development and Conference Coordinator. Donna
will email you notice of events in your area that may be of interest,
including those where a PFN staff or board member is speaking. If you'd
like to receive such notices, be sure to send your name, mailing
address, and email address to Donna (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our newest
staff member is office manager Kathleen Peel, a recent graduate from
Whitman College. Kathleen lives right next door to our office, so she's
got the easiest
commute of all.
You can see we're evolving significantly in the ways we're communicating and networking to help bring about a world that works for all. I thank you for making possible all these many milestones.
Fran Korten is Executive Director of the Positive Futures Network.