Save the Pine Bush Raises Money
If you asked me what my least favorite activity is, I would say "fund-raising". Its no fun. But, we have discovered that our work to preserve the Pine Bush costs money. And because a lot of people believe as we do, we have raised far more money than I ever expected. SPB has no full-time, salaried staff. We are all volunteers, and have been known to put thousands of our own dollars into the cause. In February, 1992, it became obvious that our volunteers were maxed out and could not do all of the tasks necessary to raise the money needed to keep up our fight. We hired a part-time (less than 20 hours/week) fundraiser to help us out. Since that time, our fundraiser has involved more than 90 volunteers in our efforts. This is a sample of our work and the comments that people write back to us. Ed.
Pine Bush Canvassers
by Lynne Jackson, Jul./Aug. 91
If you live in the Pine Bush, you may open your door one evening this summer to find the smiling face of a Save the Pine Bush volunteer. He or she will give you an update about development proposals and probably ask you to renew your membership.
Save the Pine Bush receives no government funds (after all, what government will give us money to sue the City of Albany?). We raise all of our money through our lasagna dinners, T-shirt sales, and memberships. We have no paid staff and are run completely by volunteers. All of our funds go to our lawsuits to prevent development of the Pine Bush.
We are faced with many new development proposals. When a canvasser comes to your door, think about renewing your membership at a higher level. We appreciate and need your support.
If you would like to become a canvasser or would like to help out in any way, please feel free to email Lynne Jackson.
Pine Bush Phone Bank
by Gregg Bell, Mar./Apr. 92
Save The Pine Bush has begun a new project and a new level of activity. Due to the need to raise $20,000 for our appeal of the landfill permit conditions which is the legal linchpin for all future Pine Bush development, SPB has begun a phone bank. From February 4 through March 3, we have operated our new phone bank on twelve nights.
With volunteer help, we have begun calling 1500 people who have never been members, or who have not sent in their dues for 1992. To date, 988 phone calls have been made. Pledges have totaled $4640 as of March 3, about half of this amount has been received. If you have not sent in your dues for the current year, there is a good chance that you will receive a call from us.
Besides the income, the operation of the phone bank has yielded a second benefit. We have tapped a wellspring of people willing to help who had previously not done any volunteer work for SPB. Most of the volunteers have been working on the phones, while some have done behind the scenes paper work, like looking up phone numbers and preparing forms. To date, 34 people have volunteered at least one evening for this operation. All of these volunteers deserve a lot of thanks from everyone concerned about saving the Pine Bush. In addition to those working on the phone bank, we have about another dozen people who have volunteered to help do the mailing of your newsletters and fund raising appeals, and to work on dinners. We wish to thank Citizen Action for their help in our phone bank. They have generously provided the phones and office space which have made this whole effort possible.
All volunteers deserve our thanks. The phone bank work is continuing. After that is done, we expect to begin a series of fund-raising mailings. While we have a lot of volunteers, we still need more. If you can help on phoning, mailings, dinners or other activities, please email Lynne Jackson.
With Your Help, Save the Pine Bush Did it!
by Lynne Jackson, Jul./Aug. 92
On May 15, Save the Pine Bush sent out a letter to all of our supporters asking for donations to defend our March victory from an appeal by the City of Albany. We had only 30 days to respond to the appeal and raise $5000 for legal fees.
Your generous donations did it. Responses came flooding back in the mail, and, in 29 days, $4814.60 was raised. School children sent their allowances, older people on fixed incomes sent in dollar bills, and many, many people sent donations of $10, $25, $50 and $100 or more. This tremendous response to our appeal shows that the people of the Capital District (and even some people who live out-of-state) believe the Pine Bush should be preserved, and are willing to give money to support this.
Our lawyer, Lew Oliver, was able to file our response to the City's appeal. The oral arguments were heard in court on June 14. Now, we must wait for the Judge's decision.
Sorry about any confusion
Unfortunately, this mailing caused some confusion for people living in the 12203 zip code. The 12203 zip code encompasses all of the City of Albany's Pine Bush residents, as well as people living in Pine Hills and parts of downtown. The post office accepted our bulk mailing on Tuesday morning, May 19. By Friday, we had 33 responses, including a letter from Seattle Washington. However, as our deadline approached, we noticed that no one from the 12203 zip code, where a large number of our supporters live, had responded.
This led us to believe that either people living in the 12203 zip code didn't believe in what we were doing that week (we thought that was most unlikely) or that they simply did not receive the letter (a much more likely scenario). Daily, we asked one of our "12203" Pine Bush supporters if she had received our letter, and she kept saying, "no."
We started calling the Post Office to find out what happened to our bag of 12203 mail (so many people on our mailing list live in the 12203 zip code that we put all of that zip code in one bag). Rezsin Adams called three times. Each time, the Post Office asked for Rezsin's home address and said they would look into it (we still don't know why they wanted Rezsin's address, but that's the Post Office).
We finally came to the conclusion that the Post Office had lost the bag of 12203 mail, and decided to send another letter. On June 4, we wrote another letter just for the 12203 zip code residents and were about to have a mimeograph stencil made, when the calls started. Two and a half weeks after we sent our appeal letter, people in the 12203 zip code finally received the letter, and now were calling asking if it was too late to help out by sending a donation.
We re-wrote our letter to people in the 12203 zip code, letting them know that it was not too late. But, some people wrote back that they did send us money and that they supported us, so why were we writing again?
So, we apologize for any confusion and thank all of you who so generously gave us money. We are sure that we received all of your donations (if your check is not cashed within four weeks of sending it to us, please call the treasurer, Lucy Clark at 382-0141, and we will check into it). Thank you so much! The Pine Trees and the Butterflies thank you!!!
Fundraising Campaign in High Gear
by Gregg Bell, Jul./Aug. 92
Since February, Save The Pine Bush has been engaged in its most extensive fundraising campaign ever. During the past five months we have raised funds from dinners, by door-to-door canvassing, by a special emergency appeal to those on our mailing list, by phoning, and by direct mail. I previously reported to you on the status of our phone campaign and the 45 volunteers who had worked on it. Now the direct mail campaign is operating in high gear, so we would like you to know about it.
In order to raise the large amounts of funds which we need to defend our March 5 legal victory, to enforce the landfill permit conditions, and to be prepared for the next outrageous illegal Pine Bush development which comes along, we have decided to move from occasional fundraising to continual fundraising. Now that our existing supporters have been asked for contributions and membership renewals for this year, we are again turning our attention to expanding our base of support. To do this, we are conducting a major direct mail campaign. We are sending a letter, brochure, and response card to virtually every household surrounding Pine Bush. To date, we have mailed 6,618 letters and we are mailing about 2,000 more per week!
In order to create such a volume of outreach mail, we have had a large number of people working on the campaign. Some have been working at weekly sessions at the Social Justice Center office and some have been working at home. We have also had help from the Wildwood School and the Potpourri Social Club.
All volunteers deserve our thanks. They are responsible for moving our cause ahead.
We still need more volunteers. If you are willing to commit some time to this vital fundraising effort, please email Lynne Jackson.
Our recent emergency appeal brought in more than a few hastily scribbled notes...and a few well-thought out letters. Some made us stop and think. We'd like to show a few.
"Just got back from vacation!"... and "Hope this helps", popped up a lot. A couple of folks, noting the lateness of the mail especially in the 12203 zip, wondered if there was a conspiracy afoot.
"Got your emergency appeal only today June 4th!! Do you suppose the City is tampering with the mails??! Ha! Good Luck!" -BH
Let's just say we haven't ruled out the possibility. More low key was this one-
"In today's mail was the plea for money for the Pine Bush-6 days later than May 29th. If others got their mail late too, SPB is in trouble. The post office is notorious for late delivery of mail, esp. non-profit org. mail. Our check is being enclosed in the hope it will do good." - S, M & TJ
This young lady, all of nine years old, made an astounding sacrifice-
"I am sorry but I can only send you a check of $XXX. That's my allowance money." Sincerely, MR
If every member of SPB would send us their weekly allowance, then we could tear down buildings and restore the Pine Bush all the way to Green Street. But only if that was an appropriate thing to do. The younger generation seems to understand the need to act on environmental crisises better than many adults, as this letter shows-
"I am a student leader of Shenendehowa High School's environmental group SCARCE (students concerned about 'our' crippled environment). Our treasury may be able to handle an additional donation. The problem is the school takes 2 weeks to get a check through. Give me a call if there's anything we can do to help you..."
Keep heart and good luck! -KD
The older folks have shown a lot of concern, too-
"I feel badly that you are probably using up all my dues in the fun-sounding mailings you send of your get-togethers! I am unable to come, ever, to the dinners, etc., and will gladly contribute yearly anyway to help your cause. I shall completely understand if you feel the mailings are digging too deeply into your capital, so badly needed." Sincerely, FH
Good lord, we couldn't lose you! And finally there is this (which came with a contribution)-
"I must ask you to take my name off your mailing list for the Pine Bush because I am not able to support your worthy cause. (I am a 70 yr. old senior citizen on a limited fixed income.) I would not send money through the mail, but I have faith that anyone connected with the Pine Bush is not like the United Way solicitors."
We fully guarantee that SPB is not buying Rezsin Adams a stretch limo. And we won't take you off our mailing list.
Dear Save the Pine Bush:
Enclosed is a check for $4.00 from N. N raised the $4 by selling a print of his at the Starving Artists Sale in February. Enclosed is a copy of the print. N is 9.
Thank you very much. And we wish you the greatest success in your future artistic endeavors!
Save the Pine Bush
Letters to the Pine Bush
Dear Save the Pine Bush,
I hope that our adversaries got the point from our last newsletter about children and high school students sending us donations. Our adversaries have already seen that the older members of Save the Pine Bush will not give up, will not burn out, and will not be defeated. Maybe the people who want to destroy the Pine Bush have been counting on the fact that we wont live forever. Well, we may die, but our cause will not. There will be a new generation for us to pass the torch to-a generation that will have the energy, enthusiasm, skills and generosity of spirit to keep the cause alive and pass it on to their children. In the meanwhile, we will see to it that the Pine Bush will be there for them when they grow up.
Letters to the Pine Bush
Dear Save the Pine Bush,
In reading the July/August SPB newsletter, I was impressed with the letters written by two nine-year olds. One, who sent her entire weeks allowance as a donation, and another who sold a print of his at an art sale to raise money for his donation.
I applaud the effort of these present and hopefully future environmentalists.
I am a new member of SPB, and in honor of these youngsters, I am sending an additional donation.
I hope that other members may be inspired by these young people's efforts to dig deeper and send a little extra also.
What can I say, but thank you so much!
Membership Reminder, Jul/Aug 96
Emergency Appeal, Jan 98