Times-Picayune employees, freelancers and contractors will be eligible for financial assistance from dashTHIRTYdash based on a tiered formula that will allocate payments based upon whether an applicant is a full-time or part-time employee or a contractor.
The formula was agreed upon by two separate groups that included Times-Picayune employees and alumni, community leaders with extensive fundraising and non-profit experience, and individuals representing organizations donating to the fund. The decision also was informed by an online survey including Times-Picayune employees and alumni and civic and community activists.
Like its unaffiliated predecessor, the “Friends of The Times-Picayune” post-Katrina employee relief fund, dashTHIRTYdash organizers decided not to allocate the money by judging an individual’s relative need based on his or her personal circumstances. Instead, dashTHIRTYdash will distribute contributions it collects uniformly, based solely on whether applicants are full-time or part-time employees, or freelancers or contractors.
“We didn’t want to be in the position of judging our former co-workers’ individual personal circumstances in deciding how much money they would receive,” dashTHIRTYdash representative Rebecca Theim said. “We understand from the organizers of Friends of The Times-Picayune that employees only tapped that fund if they truly needed it, and we are confident that dashTHIRTYdash will have the same experience.”
Although freelancers and contractors – including newspaper carriers, some of whom already have had their contracts terminated by the newspaper – are not technically employees of The Times-Picayune Publishing Corp. and may not lose their entire livelihood because of the changes, they nonetheless will be hurt by them
To try to account for those differences, dashTHIRTYdash will allocate and distribute contributions along the following formula:
- Full-time Times-Picayune employees: 1.0 point.
- Part-time employees, freelancers and contractors (including newspaper carriers): 0.5 point.
In other words, part-time employees, contractors and freelancers will receive one-half the distribution that full-time employees receive. This allocation tries to take into consideration that freelancers and contractors are ineligible for severance and state unemployment benefits as a result of The Times-Picayune no longer contracting with them, but that they and part-time employees often have other clients or employment.
The fund anticipates making at least two disbursements: one within two-to-three weeks of most employees’ Sept. 30 severance date, and another to distribute money received after the initial disbursement.
An application process will begin around Sept. 1. The identities of all recipients will be kept strictly confidential and the absolute minimum number of people necessary to process and mail checks will have access to applicants’ information. Employees or contractors interested in being notified when the application window opens may send an email to Rebecca Theim at rebecca at rebeccatheim dot com. Applicants are requested to include in that email their name, email address, phone number, department or position with the newspaper, and length of employment.
The fund has raised or received pledges totaling about $25,000 to-date. It is hosting a major fundraiser Saturday, Sept. 29, the final Saturday of daily publication of the newspaper. Details about that event are available by clicking here or on the fund’s website at www.dashTHIRTYdash.org.
Individuals, companies or organizations wishing to donate to dashTHIRTYdash may do so securely by credit card at https://donationpay.org/dashthirtydash. To donate by check, make checks payable to the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans – with “dash30dash” written in the memo line – and mail to CAC, c/o Glenn W. Gruber, Associate Director/CFO, 900 Camp St., New Orleans, LA 70130-3908. Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
dashTHIRTYdash is a fund to financially assist employees and contractors of The Times-Picayune slated to lose their jobs or a significant portion of their income Sept. 30 as the newspaper ends daily publication. The Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans is serving as the fund’s fiscal agent, which makes dashTHIRTYdash contributions tax-deductible. The fund also is benefiting from the professional expertise of CAC’s Accounting Services Program, which serves New Orleans-area non-profits.
The designation “-30-” historically was added by journalists to the end of their reports to indicate “end of story.” But on June 12, 2012, -30- took on a new meaning in New Orleans, as Times-Picayune staffers used it on Facebook and other social media to signal that they were among the staffers who will lose their jobs.
MORE INFORMATION: Rebecca Theim (Times-Picayune alumna, 1988-94), 702-622-8154 (cell), rebecca at rebeccatheim dot com