"Thanks for the new issue of First of the Month. I wonder why it’s taken me so long to find this publication…I like the feeling, when reading First, that I’m in a roomful of intelligent, quarrelsome, open-minded, open-hearted humanists. Of course, it’s helpful to be able now and then to step outside for a smoke while I figure out where I myself happen to stand on Charlie Hebdo, race/class, Black Lives Matter, Obama, etc., etc.”
Banks is one of many distinguished readers/respondents who have come in and out of that room since 1998. (First is probably the only magazine that's been cheered by Sonny Rollins and Robert Silvers. For more on First's history, check the site's About section and/or Supporters.)
First began as an occasional print publication before morphing into an online journal. It has become a true monthly because longtime editor, Benj DeMott, has been able to devote most of his time to First. With help from writers and donors, he'll maintain that monthly posting schedule, which is amplifying the resonance of First's voices. DeMott et al. have other plans to expand First's role in the national conversation — plans that may require further investments as the magazine's 20th anniversary approaches — but home is where we start. We'll begin by using donations to cover expenses of our editor's home office. Once we're sure we can keep the roof over DeMott's head, we will look to establish a budget that will enable us to extend First's reach through social media, pay writers' fees, etc.
Please consider making a pledge of $5 or $10 a month. (Remember all donations to First of the Month are tax-deductible.) We'd be grateful, of course, for any donation you can spare. Permit us to add we hope there may be First readers with deeper pockets who might be able to provide more than $60 or $120 a year. Since 1998, for example, one donor has made an annual gift of $1,000 to First. Perhaps there are others who could afford to donate $50 a month. We'll provide one of the annual First of the Year volumes published by Transaction to anyone who contributes that amount.
Back in the day, DeMott quoted The Clash — "The Future Is Unwritten" — in his first Call for First writers and donors. If you like how we prove that every month, please help underwrite our ongoing project.