With deepest gratitude

by Caitlin Hendel

President / CEO

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Recently, I had to make the decision to upgrade NCR's web hosting service. NCR's website, NCRonline.org, had started to use most of the capacity we had purchased a few years ago, and we are planning revisions to the website in the months ahead, so this move made sense.

However, the upgrade will add $7,161 to our annual bill -- about a 16 percent increase -- and I had to do a lot of thinking, consulting and researching before agreeing to bump up our budget for this very important line item. And there's a chance we'll have to double that increase soon for security purposes.

Since taking over as the CEO of NCR almost three years ago, I have discovered that running a small company is a lot like owning a house. Just when you think you have things sorted out, the basement floods or the refrigerator stops working, or, in the case of NCR, the website starts to exceed capacity or mold is discovered in the walls of this very old building. Most of the decisions I make have dollar signs attached, and I welcome those days when a dilemma occurs that is not cost-related.

This is where many of you come in. This is the issue of National Catholic Reporter in which we list the names of people who contributed to this organization in our most recent fiscal year. That list is available here, and it names almost 3,700 friends of NCR, including 500 or so who have given for 10 years or more! Last fiscal year, which ended June 30, you provided us with $1.15 million in gifts. Some were for general operating purposes and some were for a particular need or program, such as the "Field Hospital" feature series that Peter Feuerherd and Dan Morris-Young write on parish life.

In the recent case of the bigger bill for our website, we were able to use money donated by one reader specifically to allow NCR to focus on the digital presentation of what we do. While I would prefer to use that money for something a little flashier, maintaining a strong foundation for the website is essential for us to develop the site in a way that reflects current trends and times.

Donations last year made up about a third of our revenue, a share that has been expanding the past few years as funds from subscriptions and advertising have continued to shrink. NCR is relying more and more on the support of our friends, and, recognizing that fact, the board of directors earlier this year created an endowment fund with a twofold purpose: to give NCR a sustainable source of revenue for the years to come and to honor the work of my predecessor and friend Tom Fox. If you would like to help build the Tom Fox Fund for Independent Catholic Journalism, please email Nancy Browne, NCR's chief advancement officer, at nbrowne@ncronline.org or call her at 800-444-8910.

If you would like to make on online donation to NCR, please click here.

We hear over and over words of gratitude from you for what we've been doing at NCR for the past 52 years. Today, we turn that around and say thank you for the financial, emotional and spiritual support you give us day in and day out. We simply couldn't do it without you. Thank you!

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If you follow NCR online, you may have noticed a new blog we're calling La Iglesia Hispana. This series will focus on Hispanic Catholics, the church's emerging majority. These stories will run from time to time in the print edition of National Catholic Reporter, as well as on the website, so please look for them, share them with friends and let us know what you think!

A version of this story appeared in the Sept 9-22, 2016 print issue under the headline: With deepest gratitude.

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