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The Porch Press, a Community Service

By Henry Bryant
When The Porch Press began 33 years ago, there had been community newspapers in the three neighborhoods of Neighborhood Planning Unit-W (NPU-W) for a while. The Park Bench had served Grant Park, The Sand Paper had served the SAND neighborhoods, and The Fishwrapper had served East Atlanta as the area started to be seen as ripe for redevelopment in the late ‘70s. There had even been newspapers before that going back to the 1950s. The Porch Press, as it was devised by volunteers from the East Atlanta Community Association (EACA), the Grant Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA), and South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development (SAND), thought that by combining efforts they could create a monthly publication that would serve all of NPU-W and help improve the quality of life in these neighborhoods.
The new neighborhood newspaper, supported by neighborhood businesses and the neighborhood organizations, met with immediate success. That success has always depended on that support and the efforts of an all-volunteer staff. Without the money from advertising, the paper could not be printed or mailed. Without the volunteers, there would be no articles and the paper would not get assembled.
As the neighborhood real estate market began to boom and more new businesses moved to the area, Porch Press advertising also boomed. Early on, the paper established a policy of setting aside money so that the paper could withstand a drought of advertising funding. Along the way, the paper became a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation. The Porch Press Board decided that after printing, mailing, and other expenses were met, we needed to not only be nicer to our volunteers, but that we needed to give back to our neighborhood. For years, the newspaper became philanthropic, supporting various tours, races, festivals, and other events with money. At the same time, we gifted the tickets to our volunteers to thank them for their support. Even as our finances have shrunk, The Porch Press has still been able to support the Neighborhood associations with some pro bono advertising, and the newspaper has never charged for printing press releases about the neighborhood activities.
The newspaper’s corporation is still a nonprofit, and the staff is still made up of people who donate their time each month to give back to their community. The mission of the paper is still to publish news for and about the neighborhoods and people of NPU-W, thus helping to improve the quality of life for the citizens who live there. If you are reading this the board and staff of The Porch Press thank you for your support. We are pleased to support the community that we share.

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