News Projects Sanctuary Sustainer

Join the Sanctuary Sustainer Movement!

If you aren’t already a Sanctuary Sustainer, can you take a moment today to join the growing community movement to help the Sanctuary achieve financial independence?

Together, we commit to visions for a sustainable future!

You can sustain what most touches your heart:
  • Freedom Square Sustainer: Help bring the Sanctuary’s arts and cultural activities into the streets by supporting our outdoor music, food and community resource events!
  • NATURE Lab Sustainer: Help us build the new Urban Environmental Education Center with a community science lab and continue to build the free after-school STEM programming we do!
  • Radio Sustainer: Support local news with Hudson Mohawk Magazine and independent grassroots radio across the Capital District via the Hudson Mohawk Radio Network on WOOC 105.3FM, WOOS 98.9, WOOA 106.9 and WOOG 92.7
  • Uptown Summer & Youth Empowerment Sustainer: Help share tools and resources with local young people, building pride, critical thinking, capacity, and resumes!
  • Collard City Growers: Support this food justice project where we connect arts and culture to growing a wealth of annuals and perennials including vegetables, medicinal herbs, natural dye plants, grains, and fruit trees.
  • Kitchen Sanctuary: Help us draw the connections between healthy whole foods and delicious multi-cultural meals, fueling volunteers and neighbors.
  • Planting a Seed Sustainer: make a suggestion! 
  • Memorial Sustainer: Celebrating Claudia Israel; plus propose honoring a loved one with a Memorial Sustainer fund. 

Please sign up for a monthly contribution of any amount!



It’s a new year, but it’s the same story! At the Sanctuary, we have been remarkably successful securing grant funding for specific projects. Support for our day to day operations, and to match grants, is much harder to come by. We rely on the generosity of you, our community, for that foundational support.

At this moment, we have two new grants for which we need your help to match are really exciting!

  1. Spirit of the Suffragettes is an eight-week public event series celebrating the history of these radical historical activists through an updated and more racially/economically inclusive lens. This summer we’re bringing all-star female and gender non-conforming musicians (predominantly women of color) to our outdoor venue Freedom Square, along with a resource fair highlighting the organizations that support women and families in our neighborhood every day. This is something we’ve wanted to do since we transformed a vacant lot into the Freedom Square art stage and food forest back in 2013. We can’t wait!
  2. Chill Sanctuary brings climate control to The Sanctuary for Independent Media! Somehow we’ve made it through nearly 14 summers in our beautiful re-purposed church–but with windows too fragile to open and no air conditioning, it’s been tough. The our growing youth program, Uptown Summer, really demands a healthier environment. So, over the next two years we’ll restore the stained glass windows in our main presenting space and add air conditioning to make our century-old headquarters healthier and more usable as summers continue to grow hotter. The window repairs will save energy and increase comfort year round.

It’s all so tantalizingly close! These matching grants are designed to encourage private support. So now we need to hear from you!

It’s marvelous that there’s funding available for these vital projects–and we are so grateful to have been selected for this support. Your support will help match the grant funding and bring Spirit of the Suffragettes and Chill Sanctuary to life.

The Sanctuary has been working hard to expand programming and increase our impact. In just one year we’ve helped develop three new progressive radio stations, we’ve planted the seeds for an environmental education center (with a DIY biology lab!) on our block, we’ve started hosting weekly after-school science workshops, and this summer we will be exponentially expanding our community events in Freedom Square!

There’s no magic formula here. It’s people power that makes all this possible. Your skills, your artistic talent, your expertise, your elbow grease, your food contributions, your event attendance, and yes, your vital dollars fuel all of the Sanctuary’s diverse programming. We couldn’t do this without you and who would want to?

Thank you for all that you do to keep this dynamic platform for community empowerment growing!

Please consider formalizing your support by becoming a Sanctuary Sustainer right this moment:



News Sanctuary Sustainer

$20,000 hole in our budget…

Let me explain what happened. For almost a decade, we’ve been receiving general operating support from the Electronic Media and Film program at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA EMF). Their funding has been critical, particularly since operating support is very difficult to find in a grant world focused on funding one-shot projects. That kind of funding usually comes from individuals, like you.

After all these years, a few weeks ago we learned that our annual NYSCA EMF funding was cut from $20,000 to… zero. (Thankfully support is continuing from the Music Presenting program for Freedom Sounds, our series of jazz and world music concerts.)

What happened?

We didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, word is we’re a victim of our own success. And that success cost us $20,000.

We’ve been working hard to expand our programming. Building on our deep roots in the media arts, we’ve developed radio stations focused on educating and empowering our community. And we’ve grown into the bioart realm. Our NATURE Lab project, which embraces a multidisciplinary arts approach to understanding and protecting the environment, has taken off.

We’re in the process of building an urban environmental education center to complement our work in media. We’ve raised almost $500,000 to convert the last abandoned building on our block into an amazing lab and classroom resource dedicated to art and environmental justice work.

But we can’t use that money to support our day-to-day operation, and because we’re no longer primarily a media arts organization, we lost our eligibility for general operating support from the Electronic Media and Film program at NYSCA. There went $20,000.

We’re counting on individual donors, like you, to help make up the difference!

Please take a moment to make an online contribution here or send a check (made out to ‘Media Alliance’) to P.O. Box 35, Troy, NY 12181.

We’ve known for years that we need to diversify our sources of revenue. Overdependence on large grants exposes organizations to great risks. That’s why we started our Sanctuary Sustainer program, a campaign to empower our supporters to make recurring contributions of any amount to help guarantee the independence and sustainability of The Sanctuary for Independent Media. As candidates for political office have found, a financial base comprised of numerous small donations by many people rather than from a few major donors is a prescription for independence.

That’s why we’re asking you to contribute to this year-end appeal.

It’s been an incredible year. With your support we have:

  • Helped build infrastructure for three new progressive broadcast radio stations to cover the Capital Region (WOOS Schenectady, WOOA Albany, WOOG Troy)
  • Beat our $100,000 fundraising goal to build the new NATURE Lab Environmental Education Center by four times!
  • Celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Hudson Mohawk Magazine, our volunteer-driven daily news and public affairs program on WOOC 105.3 FM and online at
  • Launched Jazz Sanctuary, a nightly program dedicated to providing local support for what many consider America’s only true art form, on WOOC 105.3 FM and online at
  • Continued building Sanctuary TV, an online video channel with 14,000+ subscribers and 7.5+ million views
  • Expanded our Uptown Summer program for low-wealth youths in Rensselaer County
  • Worked with interns from colleges around the Capital Region and as far away as Buffalo, Cleveland and Montreal, introducing them to community arts for social change
  • Presented the first annual Ruderal Ecologies Conference, using art, urban ecology, and social justice activities to focus on living in urban environments shaped by stress

Despite all of these achievements, the reality remains that we need you to support our programming.

We’ve successfully attracted one-shot and capital funding for our projects but the funds needed for day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year operations are incredibly difficult to find. We depend on many small donations from folks like you to survive.

You only have to look to Washington to see the challenges we face. The arts are under attack. Science is under attack. And media is under attack. We are an organization that promotes art and science as ways of understanding the world around us, and media as a way to communicate that understanding. It’s a battle as old as the Scopes trial, and–as an organization using media to promote art and science–we’re in the midst of the struggle.

We need your support!

Whatever you can do to help would be much appreciated. Sign up as a Sanctuary Sustainer for a recurring donation, or a one-time contribution of any amount!

Thank you!


Steve Pierce
Executive Director

P.S. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of your support. Many people, contributing whatever they can afford, are the key to the sustainability of The Sanctuary for Independent Media! Please take a moment to make an online contribution by clicking here or send a check (made out to ‘Media Alliance’) to P.O. Box 35, Troy, NY 12181.

Sanctuary Sustainer

Thanks for supporting the Sanctuary’s Campaign for Independence!

For three weeks, from July 4 through July 25, we asked our supporters to sign up to donate whatever they can afford each month. Our goal was 50 new Sustainers, and we reached that goal! But we’re not done… the struggle continues. Ten dollars a month would be great, but whatever it is–from $1 to $100 per month or more–your regular contribution helps relieve us from our reliance on foundation and government grants and set us free. We can’t do this without you.

Please become a Sanctuary Sustainer:

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