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Rapidian supporters fill Brewery Vivant for Night Out fundraiser

Supporters came out in large numbers to support The Rapidian on Sunday night as 20% of beverage sales were donated by Brewery Vivant and The Rapidian honored several reporters and contributors.
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That was a great night.

On January 13, Brewery Vivant hosted a Night Out for The Rapidian from 4-8 p.m. The night was a smashing success by many accounts as around 50 supporters attended and filled the long communal tables to order beer for The Rapidian.

Originally, Brewery Vivant was generous enough to donate 20% of their beverage sales in support of The Rapidian. However, they decided to be even more generous and donated 20% of their beverage sales for the entire day for a grand total of $245.

The Rapidian is very thankful for all of the support we received from Brewery Vivant, those who attended our Night Out and those who have donated their time and money. We really can’t say enough about all of our fantastic Rapidian community members.

The amount of support we received was overwhelming. The entire Rapidian and CMC staff were energized by the remarkable sense of community the event fostered.

Recently, Rapidian community members have been focusing much more on the community building aspect our platform affords. Yes, the Rapidian exists as a hyperlocal news source powered by the people of Grand Rapids, but in recent discussions, we forced ourselves to step back and ask: to what end?

After some insightful and fruitful discussion, our mission became quite clear: The Rapidian exists to build community engagement.

The Rapidian is an online news source, but in order to fulfill our mission, it has become clear that there is an important offline component that we must engage in order to truly build community.

Although I was not aware of it at the time, our first Night Out for The Rapidian of the year was also our first step toward fulfilling our mission.

Thinking back on that night, a lasting image for me is the long communal tables filled with Rapidian supporters. Most people had probably never met, yet the common bond of supporting the Rapidian brought them together to drink, eat, converse and laugh around those long communal dining table.

“Americans are more socially isolated today than we were barely two decades ago,” says Political Scientist and Professor of Public Policy Robert Putnam. He traces the fraying of “the fabric of American communities” to a decrease in, among other things, dinner parties, family suppers and picnics. Putnam’s views align with my own sentiments, and I have always viewed the act of dining with others as an act of community building in and of itself.

I should have known that it was the first step in our renewed journey of community building when I was shaking hands with our Photographer of the Quarter, Steven Depolo, for the first time. I had the strange sensation of knowing him through his work, but having yet to know him as a person or as a member of our community.

I should have known when Rapidian community members burst out in applause for the prolific work of Depolo and our hard-working interns, Laurel Green and Ryan Hagerman.

I should have known when I noticed that over half of Brewery Vivant was brimming with Rapidian community members, whose conversations and laughter filled the vaulted ceilings.

While I should have known on that night, I know now.

Perhaps the most defining moment was when Holly hopped up onto a bench, thrust her glass into the air and invited community members to raise their glasses for The Rapidian. The entire restaurant joined us.

And we were one step closer to building a strong community.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

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