Key Peninsula News received approval of its application for 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service in January. The tax designation enables the 50-year-old publication to step out from under the fiscal umbrella of the Key Peninsula Civic Center Association and operate under a newly organized Washington nonprofit corporation aptly called “Key Peninsula News.”
The newspaper began as the KP Civic Center newsletter in 1973 and ran for nearly three decades with a mostly unpaid volunteer staff. Dwindling revenues and concerns about editorial quality briefly shuttered the newspaper in August 2002.
A KPCCA reconstitution committee was formed to resolve the newspaper’s problems. The committee established what it called a publishing board in order to ensure a certain degree of autonomy so the newspaper could function within the civic center management structure. After hiring a professional new editor, publication resumed in February 2003.
Sara Thompson, president of the publishing board since 2018, said KP News has evolved over time and its scope has expanded. “It was not clear whether being under the umbrella of the civic center made sense anymore.”
The publishing board designated a task force in the summer of 2021 to explore the pros and cons of KP News becoming an independent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
The task force, led by Clark Van Bogart, presented its findings to the publishing board last fall and determined that applying for independent status was the best direction to take.
Acting KPCCA Board President Bruce Macdonald (and member of the newly formed board of directors of Key Peninsula News) said everyone involved from the civic center takes great pride in having launched the original newsletter. He said some people thought the newspaper might one day become profitable enough to add money to the civic center coffers, but that never materialized.
“Back then we were proud just to break even with it,” Macdonald said. “But with all the logistics and the newspaper’s growing success, the time has come for it to be its own entity.
“We’re not happy to see them go, but we’re very happy to see them grow.”
Executive Editor Lisa Bryan said the newspaper has benefitted from joining other state and national professional news associations such as the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the Institute for Nonprofit News, in addition to receiving matching donations through NewsMatch, a collaborative organization supporting independent, public service journalism.
“Our goal is to bring more funding to the newspaper, to increase our eligibility for the various grants and opportunities for matching funds that help build the sustainability needed for us to continue our mission to deliver quality journalism about issues affecting the community,” she said. “In the past we’ve lost out on grants and had donors who wanted to contribute through their employer matching fund programs, but were unable to because we were not an independent nonprofit. Independence is the only way for us to continue to grow.”
Thompson said everyone can rest assured that the Key Peninsula News will continue, as it has each month, delivering quality journalism free to everyone with a mailing address on the KP as well as being available at newsstands in select retail locations throughout the area.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS