Dear Modern Times Supporter,
In these strange and challenging times for the Bay Area progressive community and indeed worldwide, we write in need of your financial support. Will you help Modern Times stay open? If not, we will be forced to close our doors.
As you may remember, in late 2013 we launched a funding campaign: With your generous support, we raised over $20,000 for operating expenses, though it was a fraction of our $100,000 goal. Our 2014 fundraiser with Rebecca Solnit and friends, in addition to sales and your donations netted about $7000 and got us over some humps, but it didn’t add up to enough to sustain us indefinitely. Regrettably, we now find ourselves at the brink of closure.
Modern Times has been a fixture on the bookstore scene here for over 43 years: It is a political and progressive resource and cultural institution. While the prospect of having to say goodbye to the neighborhood and to all of you pains us, we simply cannot survive by selling books at a fixed mark-up and offering a full calendar of free community events. Presently, we’re looking at alternative business models and ways to serve the community going forward, but we cannot yet see our way clear. In the last decade, changes in San Francisco and to the book business, our move from Valencia Street to the lesser-trafficked lower 24th Street, and increases in rent have forced the bookstore to operate at a loss. As it continues to accrue debt, nothing short of an immediate cash infusion or a miracle will enable the store to stock its usual vibrant selection of books, to pay its workers, and to keep open the doors. A decision about the store’s future will be made by staff, but we want you to be in the loop with us.
Immediately, we are seeking $100 members, $500 sustaining members and any number of higher level donors to Modern Times. We will continue to seek grants and loans to upgrade our space, create a deeper stock of our specialty subjects—from labor, world economies, gender studies, Spanish language titles, urban and environmental subjects, and kids books outside the mainstream—continue to offer more events by award-winning, politically-motivated, and cutting edge authors and performers like Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Alejandro Murguia, David Talbot, Genny Lim, Cambio Quilombarte, Janice Mirikitani, Meg Day, Nora Barrows-Friedman, Carmen de Monteflores, Aimee Suzara, Marjorie Cohn, Kim Shuck, Brent Calderwood, Christina B. Hanhardt, and Chris Carlsson (and those were in 2014 alone!), nurture up and coming authors, and present the community events you’ve come to rely on, from the State of the City Forum and Spanish Book Club to Queer Open Mic Night.
If Modern Times closes, not only is a bookstore lost, but a part of the community goes with it; a piece of San Francisco’s progressive heritage will be forever gone. Please help us fulfill our desire to stay the course so we may continue to serve you. Help us return Modern Times to a sustainable and viable resource for the progressive community of the 21st Century, a time when we will surely be needed as much as we’ve ever been.
With thanks and admiration for your continued support,
Modern Times Bookstore Collective
Please consider an immediate tax-deductible donation to our newly formed
501c3 organization with a check payable to Modern Times Bookstore Foundation. For further inquiries regarding business partnership, investment opportunities or other donor/business, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Effective immediately, we ask you to support our in-store events with a donation of $5 or more. We will also be charging a usage fee to community groups and other entities who wish to use our events space for workshops or community purposes. Please contact the events department at email@example.com for further information on reserving the space.
Monthly sustainer donations are a great way to ensure a regular boost that we can count on. Each month, the amount you choose will be automatically deducted from your account via Paypal.