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On Thursday, millions of Minnesotans will give during the Give to the Max campaign, and this year, TheColu.mn is asking for your support. In October, TheColu.mn became a project under the fiscal sponsorship of Springboard for the Arts.

We started TheColu.mn in 2009 because we saw a need to continue covering stories that impact the LGBT community. But, like many media organizations, we have found that a for-profit business model does not meet the needs of the community. Writing for the attention of advertisers is not in the best interest of community journalism. Our success will be assessed by the communities we serve.

Our writers have made a huge impact on the public debate in Minnesota and nationally. Just a few exemples include: Michele Bachmann hiding in the bushes. Stories of the struggles of LGBT students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. Exposing the high school ministry of Bradlee Dean and You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. Bringing to light rampant discrimination against LGBT people in the jury selection process. The trial of Cece McDonald. Exposing the corporate funders of the Boy Scouts of America.

As we embark on a new path, TheColu.mn is producing Face Off HIV, a project that is bringing the rich and diverse stories of Minnesotans living with HIV and AIDS to a multimedia format including a documentary film and a coffee table book with a goal of ending stigma.

TheColu.mn is also producing a book documenting the history of the marriage equality debate in Minnesota from 1969 to the present.

So, we are transitioning to a nonprofit media organization. Our new mission has four goals: preserving and elevating the rich and unique history, arts, and culture of LGBT Minnesotans; confronting agents of intolerance who spread lies and misinformation about our community; holding government, businesses, and our own community institutions accountable to full equality for the entire spectrum that makes up our community; and promoting, and providing a platform for, LGBT and allied creatives.

The first goal will be accomplished by obtaining and publishing the old archives for Eleventh Avenue South and the Minnesota Independent, two online presences which have recorded much of Minnesota’s LGBT history in the last 10 years. In addition, the first goal will be accomplished by recording the myriad of artistic and cultural events that shape our community with an eye for issues and events that don’t get the media attention they deserve.

The second goal will be accomplished by monitoring anti-LGBT hate groups in Minnesota, and exposing their words and deeds. In addition, we will monitor Minnesota’s media organizations to ensure that the LGBT community and our issues are fairly represented. And we will follow the money to see who is bankrolling organizations that promote inequality.

The third goal will be accomplished by solid, objective, and thoroughly researched reporting on issues affecting our community. We will work to identify inequalities in the law, and expose politicians who seek to block equality. We will work to expose businesses who refuse to hire, provide services, and contribute funds to anti-equality efforts.

From drag and comedy to fine arts, slam poetry, music, theatre, and film, the LGBT community has been — and continues to be — leaders in the arts community. The fourth goal will be accomplished by covering events and installations by artists and creatives, providing coverage to new art movements, and offering artists and other creatives space on the web to feature their content.

We can’t do all this alone. We need your help to make these goals a reality. Whether its through a small donation, through volunteering, sending us news tips, purchasing ad space, or spreading the word about us, you will be helping to preserve our past and to create a future where Minnesota is the best place on Earth for LGBT to live their lives.

Pledge to Give to the Max on Nov. 18. Visit TheColu.mn’s page to make a donation.

The Column is a community-supported non-profit news, arts, and media organization. We depend on community support to continue the work of solid LGBT-centric journalism. If you like this article, consider visiting Give MN to make a contribution today.

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