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To the communities of West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country,

We come to you today with an ask. An ask we never imagined having to make. But here we are, in an unprecedented time of fear, uncertainty and unknown.

Everyone is facing uncertain times, but as a locally owned and operated media outlet, we feel an obligation to pivot, show up and lead.

To do so we must fight, work together and pledge to keep #KelownaStrong.

#KelownaStrong unites a community affected by the perils of this pandemic. In this initiative, we will do everything we can to keep you connected, but how we operate has changed too.

As a small business, our goal has always been to give you the stuff that matters, for free. It’s something we’ve been able to accomplish because of your loyal support - your attention allows us to tell stories of local businesses and that revenue is how we continue as your portal to the community.

Until now.

It costs thousands of dollars a day to run a newsroom. Due to the current pandemic, the majority of our ad campaigns have paused, events have been cancelled and we’ve been forced to lay-off staff members as many businesses have.

But we are still showing up every day and reporting on the stuff that matters because our community matters. We’re proud to say we are one of the only locally owned media platforms in the market, competing each and every day with the big corporations.

And yes, we are owned by NowMedia Group, who are in the same difficult position as a small business that provides marketing, event, productions and print strategies for local companies who have also understandably paused at this time.

Because of the amazing community support, we’ve been able to grow into one of the largest newsrooms in the valley with one of the largest voices and reach. So, we thank you for making that happen.

These are definitely difficult and uncertain times for most, but we know how particularly impossible this is for small businesses. While we continue to follow the latest recommendations, it is natural for us to freeze, stop everything and even hoard.

But it’s never been more important to keep moving forward.

Which brings us to our ask.

We are asking for your support of local journalism. If you like what we do and believe it has value that adds to our community, we would appreciate your consideration.

We understand that not everyone is able to support at this time, and if you’d like to be a part of something great please continue to follow KelownaNow on any channel that you choose as we are all in this together.

We truly believe that KelownaNow is different from other media. We try every day to make a positive difference and we believe we do.

Here is how we are committing to pivoting, showing up and leading our community:

- We launched a #KelownaStrong campaign on KelownaNow that focuses on giving the community feel good stories and how we can help the business community. To read more stories, visit https://www.kelownanow.com/watercooler/news/news/kelownastrong/.

- We, NowMedia Group, are hosting digital town halls where the business community can come together on a conference call and see how we can help each other. If you would like more information on joining the conversation, click here.

- If you have a message to get out to the community we welcome you to hop on a podcast with our COO/CFO Jim Csek and discuss Your Path Forward. You can contact him directly here.

- We will be launching an online shopping portal where businesses can sell Gift Certificates and goods so we can keep the money flowing into our city. We will be asking the community to support local businesses in any way they can - every little bit helps. For more information, contact alexa@nowmediagroup.ca.

- If you know of local businesses that need our help getting the word out but can't afford to pay, email us and we will do our part keeping #KelownaStrong. We are in this together.

We truly thank you for your consideration and we would also appreciate your feedback.

We would not be asking for support for local journalism if it were not for this crisis and if we did not believe in KelownaNow’s important contribution as a hyper-local media outlet.

KelownaNow is a locally owned and operated media outlet in the Central Okanagan, so we understand what it means to support local. We hope that you will support local too.