Dear Reader —
In the spring of 2003, a small group of young thinkers celebrated the launch of a new magazine. The New Atlantis was one of a kind then, the only magazine dedicated both to defending science and technology as distinctive expressions of human creative power, and to warning that this power could be warped for degrading ends.
This year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of that founding, and we believe that The New Atlantis is still one of a kind today. Our new issue includes a small set of reflections on the meaning of our project then and now, including an essay that takes up a question I am often asked: “Who Is The New Atlantis For?”
I hope you will read and learn something from that essay, which offers a meditation on the conflict between “builders” and “conservers,” the traps that each can fall into, and how we have sought to get past them.
But the essay also suggests a more practical question, which I’m often asked explicitly: “Who funds you?” For some media projects, there is essentially a single answer to this question: an endowment, a public grant program, a backing organization, Bezosbux or Thielbux. One has the tacit sense that these projects will always be there, and that it’s up to someone else to keep them going.
But The New Atlantis does not fit neatly enough into the normal categories of the ideas and politics world for us to have a single funder. In recent years, 20 percent of our funding has come from subscriptions and earned revenue. The rest has come from private grantmakers, readers’ family foundations, and individuals. In a typical year, we receive 10 to 15 grants and 125 to 275 individual donations. Out of a large pool of readers — 700,000 to 1.1 million annually — these are the ones who every year have generously contributed to keep our work going.
“No Other Options,” “Reality: A Post-Mortem,” “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” our Covid coverage, “Do Elephants Have Souls?,” Merchants of Despair, “Ageless Bodies, Happy Souls,” our AI symposium — all of these achievements have happened only because that group of a dozen or so foundations and a few hundred donors every year made it happen.
As we begin our third decade, we have ambitious plans: expanding our staff so we can publish more, building the public profiles of our writers and editors, growing our subscription revenue, major improvements to our publishing infrastructure. Most importantly, we want to publish groundbreaking essays and articles unlike anything else you’ll find in science and tech writing.
But we need you to make it happen. If you believe that The New Atlantis does exceptional work, we are asking you to contribute to our 20th anniversary giving campaign. This year, our goal from individual readers and family foundations is $200,000, and we believe that we’ll need to grow our donor pool to 400 individual gifts to reach it. Gifts of every size matter.
Click here to donate. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. As ever, thank you for reading.
The New Atlantis Turns 20