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Our Local Nonprofits Are Struggling to Survive

Editorial | January 23rd, 2021

By John Strand jas@hpr1.com

21 January 2021

Like most of you, we are relieved to be past 2020. What a crazy year! Yet, the reality is we all have our hands full going forward and some in our community are struggling to survive.

Just like us here at HPR. First we shut down for nearly seven months when the pandemic hit and then we reinvented our business model to continue into 2021, our 27th year. HPR will continue as a monthly and will hit the streets the third Thursday each month.

You’ll see some changes but heck, this is where we are all at. Sabrina Hornung’s editorial focus is different now with a one-month reading cycle. Our content is more thematic and featurish and there is no calendar of events anymore.

No doubt, the impact of COVID-19 on our HPR community is severe. The High Plains Reader has been immersed in food, culture, art and entertainment. Moment present, that’s changing daily. This issue’s focus, for example, is on the state of our local nonprofits. It’s important we are aware of the challenges faced by those organizations that oftentimes are the very backbone of localized public charity and service.

And then, no sooner than us agreeing to focus on nonprofits, a tragic announcement came from one of our preeminent nonprofits: Lutheran Social Services was closing its doors and laying off several hundred people.

LSS had reached across the state. It was over 100 years old. This news rocked our nonprofit community. Their programs for at-risk families and especially refugees is essential for thousands of people living here and across North Dakota.

Our hopes are that the demise of LSS is not the canary in the coal mine. We hope and pray others do not meet the same fate.

Please take note of our nonprofits and be aware of their circumstances, challenges and status in these troubled times. Some are hanging on by a mere thread. Some are pressured more than ever before. They all need all of us to survive.

A big event every year is the Feb. 11 Giving Hearts Day. Let’s make that day extraordinary this year. Let’s show our nonprofits we get it, we’re there for them, we have their backs. Our guess is that much like HPR, many of them are reinventing their business model substantially. The pandemic forced dramatic change and some of that change will be good, some debilitating and disruptive.

The main thing is we see past the bumps in the road and remind ourselves of the bigger picture. We are all together in this situation. We are all impacted. We are all facing challenges we didn’t expect and that in many ways test our very fabric.

But we are here and we have work to do.

HPR will be available in our highest volume outlets such as Hornbacher’s in the coming months. And while our print issue will be the third Thursday each month, you can still of course see weekly new content such as the Gadfly and Greg Carlson online at hpr1.com.

Additionally, we’d like to welcome Alicia Underlee Nelson back to the HPR sales department. After over 15 years with us, Jay Miller accepted a new position with Minnesota Public Radio. We wish Jay the best and thank him for all these years working with us. And we are thrilled to work with Alicia again who, ironically, when with us before, actually passed the baton to Jay Miller who’d be replacing her.

What goes around comes around and that’s good. Thanks, Jay, for all these years, and thanks Alicia for rejoining our HPR family. We are blessed.

Lastly, it goes without saying but given these trying days for newspapers as well as everyone else trying to make ends meet, PLEASE support our advertisers. These businesses provide you this newspaper. They fund it. And they do it in hopes you will give them your support. Spend your money with them. Send others their way. Tell them thanks for facilitating the High Plains Reader all these years, and now in particular.

Happy New Year! Let’s all hope a year from now we have truly turned a corner and are aiming in better directions than ever before in our history, tried and tested but with gratitude in our hearts. 

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