Anna Wintour was in the room. I hadn’t spotted her, but if I squinted just so at the table of National Geographic editors, I could almost imagine the Vogue editor’s iconic bob. National Geographic? A young Darby would have been beside herself. As I silently apologized to the undisputed king of bathroom reads, I realized the New Yorker’s David Remnick was in the middle of a moving speech.

The National Magazine Awards was full of the biggest names in media. Sheesh. How the heck did I get in there?

It’s been a wild year for Grist. We didn’t just attend the NMA. Our very own Nathanael Johnson won the prestigious SEAL Environmental Journalism Award, putting him in the company of reporters at the New York Times and Washington Post. Our video producer, Jesse Nichols, was honored with a Folio Rising Star Award. Our team won Eddies and Webbys and a host of other nominations that might sound like gibberish to someone outside of media, but are a big deal in our field.

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But back to my earlier question: Why was I, along with the award-spackled Eve Andrews, in that room? Well, we were nominated for a public service award for Ask Umbra’s 21-Day Apathy Detox Guide.

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We had worked around the clock to report and publish three weeks’ worth of articles and videos on how to better your community.

But that’s not the whole story. Going in, we knew the guide was ambitious. We couldn’t really afford the time and space to do something that big. We turned to our audience in order to fund the project.

So, how the heck? You, dear reader. Thank you so much. You gave our newsroom the support it needed to produce this NMA-nominated project.

We want to keep going. Give today so we can continue being the little (sometimes easily distracted) Grist who punches above her weight.

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Darby Minow Smith