Tuesday, October 21, 2008

StreetWise to Launch as a Magazine Nov. 5

StreetWise will begin a new life as a full-color glossy magazine on November 5. StreetWise—and the 200-plus vendors selling it—have become a fixture in Chicago, and StreetWise, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, is keeping ahead of the curve in a time of growing economic challenge. The new format and new content directly addresses the need to help the growing number of homeless people in Chicago and the suburbs.

"Our theme for the launch is ‘A Better StreetWise, A Better Life,’" said StreetWise’s executive director, Michael Speer. "It’s a great move forward for us and we have great hopes for the new format. During the past 16 years we’ve helped thousands of people who otherwise would have had no means to earn a living. The new StreetWise will be even better than before and we expect it will become a must-read for many Chicagoans." The goal is to increase readership, revenue, donations and involvement at a crucial time when economic distress and homelessness are on the rise.

Many Chicagoans don’t realize that StreetWise vendors are entrepreneurs who buy the publication at a wholesale price and sell it at the retail price on the streets. As a full-color glossy, StreetWise must raise the price to $2 per issue (it has stayed at one dollar for sixteen years) and the vendors, who will pay a higher wholesale price for the magazine, will nonetheless have the opportunity to earn more per issue. The new $2 price will help StreetWise provide new programs for its vendors and move the organization toward self-sufficiency. At the same time, StreetWise will launch it's new website.

Join us at the launch magazine launch celebration, Wednesday, Nov. 5

Streetwise will commemorate its new life as a magazine with a "A Better StreetWise, A Better Life" celebration and fundraiser to be held 6 p.m.-11 p.m., Wednesday, November 5 at the popular jazz club CloseUp2, located at 416 S. Clark Street.

"Everyone is behind StreetWise," said Frank Goss, general manager of the club. "We are pleased to be a part of the new StreetWise and we’re informing our lengthy mailing list about the event." Chicago’s own rising star, contemporary jazz saxophonist Ray Silkman and his band will be the featured performers, with sets at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Other noted contemporary jazz artists include Kurman's Lee Alec Barrie, will appear on stage as well. The minimum donation is $25 at the door with a cash bar and complimentary buffet.

Space is limited, guests are encouraged to RSVP to StreetWise by November 1 by calling Ben Cook at StreetWise, (312) 829-2526, or sending an email to bcook@streetwise.org. If you'd like, you can purchase tickets in advance, online through Paypal by going here.

To view the StreetWise press kit, go here.

About Kurman's Involvement

Kurman Communications, Inc. has been instrumental in helping -- from conception to implementation. Both Lee and I were enlisted two years ago to analyze the existing product, make recommendations and help plan for a successful transition. We've had a lot of help -- from the McCormick-Tribune Foundation, to an editorial advisory board, from Columbia College marketing students to hundred's of readers who offered their input.

For those of you who may not know, Lee, who now sits on the StreetWise board along with other commited Chicagoans, spent 12 years in the New York magazine business helping titles like Good Housekeeping, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Golf Digest and many others in transforming their editorial workflow and production to digital for prestigious companies including the New York Times Magazine Group, Hearst Magazines, and Times Mirror Magazine, as well as Miller Publishing and CMP Publications.
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