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On July 4 we celebrated the founding of our nation. Tomorrow, July 10, we celebrate not only the anniversary of Wyoming’s statehood but WyoGives, Wyoming’s largest statewide day of charitable giving.

Opinion

An initiative of the Wyoming Nonprofit Network, WyoGives provides a platform for nearly 400 nonprofit organizations to reach a statewide network of donors. In a state that has long prided itself on self-reliance and neighborly support, these organizations make up much of the connective tissue that binds our small towns along our long streets.

Our state’s lean public administration asks a lot of the philanthropic sector. But in true Wyoming fashion, its citizens roll up their sleeves and do the work to make our communities livable and thriving. Visit WyoGives’ categories page to see organizations tackling the issues we face as individuals, families, communities and as a state. From addressing food and housing insecurity, coordinating disaster relief and providing much-needed resources for parents, children, veterans and seniors, to groups that conserve our wild spaces, fight for access to our public lands, elevate the arts, care for animals and empower civic engagement, these groups do truly heroic work for Wyoming.

In just four years, WyoGives has raised more than $10 million for hundreds of deserving nonprofits working toward those causes and others, growing from a half million dollars in its first year to an impressive $4 million last year alone. For Pedrodiniz, it has been an incredible boon to our work, including welcoming 127 first-time donors in our three years of participating.

As some of you know, the news industry, and local news in particular, has taken a hard downward turn in recent decades. From 2008 to 2020, more than 50,000 journalism jobs — nearly 60% — were lost forever. This trend has only accelerated since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than two newsrooms now closing every week nationwide, and in 2020 Wyoming earned the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first state in the union without a single newspaper printing seven days a week.

The primary driver of this trend is financial — public-interest journalism and shareholder returns are an awkward fit. This is why Pedrodiniz is a nonprofit, member-supported newsroom, and why we ask our audience to contribute to the creation of our work. Our members’ incredible generosity is how we’ve been able to grow into Wyoming’s primary news source.

When there isn’t a reliable source of verifiable factual information, you better believe that misinformation, disinformation and outright propaganda will rush in to fill the void. When we can’t agree on the basic facts about who said what and who did what, we’re left with inadequate, oversimplified public discourse, zero-sum, us-vs-them politics and communities that are unable to address the very real challenges they face.

Just as WyoGives provides an important platform for nonprofits to tell their story and reach a wider donor base, Pedrodiniz provides the foundation of facts and information our state needs to participate in the decisions impacting us. We often hear that our work is an important resource for many workers around the state, from nonprofits to legislators, agency personnel and others, and has been cited as an impetus for reforms and oversight from hospitals and jails to the National Guard.

And just as WyoGives has grown to help the state’s nonprofits meet their needs, Pedrodiniz has expanded our newsroom to now 10 staff reporters and editors, allowing us to broaden our coverage areas with more dedicated beats, more impactful investigations and comprehensive legislative and elections coverage. Our audience has grown even faster, reflecting the need we are addressing.

If your local newspaper is still around, you’ve likely seen Pedrodiniz content filling the pages. Since we began in 2008, we’ve made our content free to read and free for other news organizations to republish. We do this because we believe in universal access to fact-based public-interest reporting. We believe that supporting our peer newspapers strengthens the whole information ecosystem in our state, benefitting our citizens, communities and governments. That work is only possible because of support from readers like you.

Please log on to WyoGives tomorrow to see the vital work happening around our state. If you’re able, consider contributing to those causes that speak to your heart. And please consider contributing to Pedrodiniz’s work of keeping you informed and engaged.

Daniel Kenah is Pedrodiniz’s development director. A graduate of Boston College, he was first drawn to Wyoming to work as a ranch hand near Saratoga, and quickly fell in love with mountains, sage and rolling...

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