It’s The Dawning Of A New Age For The Establishment — Come Join Us!

We can’t wait to take this venture to the next level with you.

Once upon a time (Tuesday morning), I was on the Bay Area’s illustrious (read: exceedingly outdated) public transportation system, sweatily clinging to a dingy train handle en route to San Francisco, iPhone in hand, thinking about the revisions I wanted to make to this post — the one I’d written about all the exciting things The Establishment is currently up to. But then, as I so often do, I took a procrastination break to peruse Twitter.

And then things changed.

Suddenly, my previous post — where I’d utilized an elaborate tongue-in-cheek metaphor involving ducks, how they’re seemingly stagnant despite ferociously peddling underwater, and how the Est. team, too, is fighting and triumphing over sneaky underwater currents — felt impotent, insignificant, silly, off-color.

Suddenly, although we’ve been battling the GOP and its various, insidious attacks on human life and dignity since…well, our inception, but more pointedly since November, the sick soullessness of the senate’s vote to move forward in taking away millions of Americans’ health insurance drove home a more piercing and pertinent purpose—which has only intensified as the administration launches horrific assaults on the LGBTQ community.

I didn’t, and don’t, intend for this to be a post about me (although, forsooth, nausea and deep, overwhelming fear spread like an Outbreak-esque plague throughout my body as I scrolled through my timeline); I seek only to relay my intense re-recognition of the importance of human-to-human connection, the immense power of individuals expressing the care they feel toward one another, how binding together and looking out for one another — even when the Republicans, and indeed, world writ large, seek to sow seeds of discordance — is the only means of confronting the craven, cruel spirit of our current government.

I seek only to relay my intense re-recognition of the importance of human-to-human connection.

My point is that this world has long filled me with fear and despair and a shaking rage — but no more thoroughly than since November. Which is to say: I am, and have been, scared utterly shitless.

As a middle-class, white, cis woman, I occupy a uniquely privileged sphere; there are crushing fears and anxieties and losses I’ll never be able to imagine as a result. But no matter what you’re feeling or facing, if you’re suffering or scared or sad or stressed, I want you to know that I’m in your corner, that I see you, that I hear you.

And I want our inexhaustible and heroic supporters to know that The Establishment is continuing to work tirelessly to fend for our collective future — and, for the last two months, with renewed resources and hope.

What We’ve Been Up To…

As a result of our audience’s unimaginably generous support, The Establishment team was — graciously, ecstatically — able to accept a position in the Matter accelerator. We dove headfirst into the program at the beginning of June, and have been doggedly learning and fighting and growing every day in order to secure a sustainable path forward.

But what, exactly, does this all mean for you, dear readers? Well, quite a few things…

1. Matter. is offering us the space, knowledge, resources, and community to build the biggest and brightest future possible for The Establishment.

Not only are we participating in hands-on learning with 11 other incredible media startups — whose commitment to building a more informed, connected, and empathetic society is as inspiring as it is humbling — but we’re gaining guidance, support, and mentorship from fellow startup founders and industry titans alike.

2. We’re also, temporarily, on a reduced publishing schedule.

If you’ve noticed that we’re publishing fewer original stories per week — first, thanks for knowing us so well! And, second, in the spirit of the radical transparency we’ve attempted to model since our first day, we don’t want to sugarcoat our situation: as we compile both community and outside insights, build a formidable partnership network, expand our membership offerings, and more broadly experiment with various business models, we’ve had to take a step back from our brisk publishing pace.

This is, it should be noted, challenging for us, as amplifying voices marginalized by the mainstream media has always been our primary, guiding passion. But! Our aim is to nail down an authentic, ethical, and fruitful business model such that in a few short months we can turbocharge our editorial efforts — that is, to outpace our previous stream of brilliant, essential insights from our unrivaled coalition of creators. And in the meantime, we’re still delivering 20–25 pieces of new, original content goodness each month, along with sharing some of our favorites from the past.

Our aim is to nail down an authentic, ethical, and fruitful business model such that in a few short months we can turbocharge our editorial efforts.

3. We’re relaunching our membership community!

We’ve heard your concerns about our current membership model and have sought out a more seamless solution for those of you without Medium accounts who are looking for bonus Establishment content, breaking news on our latest events and initiatives, and to be more engaged with our community. Details for signing up and the juicy offerings—including our full archive of locked content—below…!

4. We’ve got other cool, new stuff coming down the pipelines!

Over the weekend, Ijeoma hosted The Establishment’s inaugural online seminar—a veritably kickass class on how to write the personal and political—and there’s more seminar-y magic on the way.

And if you’re a Bay Area denizen, we’ll finally get a chance to get together at an Establishment arts variety show and panel discussion on gender and technology on September 7th! It’s all happening in San Francisco at the super cool StoreFrontLab,a small space for big ideas, a vessel for dialogue and public engagement.” There will be art, amazing writers, films, cocktails, and even some boogying in an atrium.

We’ve also launched a Writer of the Week series, so you can get to know our inimitable cast of creators better—stay tuned for that every Monday! And if you’re interested in supporting us as we wend our way through the wild and woolly world of (benevolent) media empire-building, we’d be grateful for anything you can contribute:

5. We’re in the midst of iterating and experimenting—and open to exploring any/all brand partnerships opportunities!

…Or ways we can revamp or expand our newsletter and Sponsor-A-Story initiatives:

6. And, lastly—but by no means least-ly—we want to hear from you!

What are we doing right? What do you want more of? What can we improve upon? How can we bolster our membership offerings? Are you interested in a platform to communicate with fellow Establishment readers, writers, and editors? Do you want more online seminars? Events? Swag offerings? Sea turtle gifs? If you’re open to participating in a quick phone interview, we’d love to hear from you to set up a time.

Simply email getestablished[at]theestablishment[dot]co and include “User Research” in the subject line! (Other surveys, too, will be coming down the pipes soon!) Our awe-inspiring audience and community has never led us astray before and we couldn’t imagine continuing to build this company without you.

In short: We’re finally in the long-yearned-for position to be intentional in creating the new model for media and society we’ve been striving to realize — and we want to build it with your insights. Without your financial support, shares, likes, suggestions, stories, videos, gifs, writing, and words of encouragement, we’d be nowhere. The Establishment community embodies the ideals that guide our decisions, ideas, and very founding mission. It’s because of you that we’re inspired to get out of bed every devastating day of this administration and push back on the horror; you’re what preserves our belief that there can be a different and infinitely better way ahead for us all in this deeply flawed world.

Our awe-inspiring audience and community has never led us astray before and we couldn’t imagine continue to build this company without you.

Thank you for reading, becoming a member, rounding out your closet with Establishment apparel, donating, sharing, sponsoring stories and supporting our creators directly, retweeting, and talking about what you’ve read—we can’t wait to take this venture to the next level with you.

Like what you read? Give Kelley Calkins a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.

The author has chosen not to show responses on this story. You can still respond by clicking the response bubble.