NEW YORK — The 2007 People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo Fund drive is moving ahead steadily, fueled by the enthusiasm and contributions of grassroots supporters.

While the $180,000 reached in 2006 was considered a great success, this year there is a strong determination to do even better. In fact, some state Friends of the PWW organizations that did poorly in 2006 have made significant turnarounds.

“The readers in New Jersey are determined that they are going to hold up their end of the fight to make sure that the newspaper comes out every week,” Lee Dlugin, chair of the New Jersey Friends of the PWW, said. “Therefore they made extra sacrifices.”

A year ago, New Jersey raised only a little more than half of its goal, a fact that disappointed Dlugin.

“In order to guarantee that the paper comes out each and every week,” she said, “we have to raise the goal.”

She has good reason to be happier this year: Already, counting the money turned in and the pledges, New Jersey has completed its $6,000 goal. But, Dlugin said, that’s not enough: The New Jersey Friends are still planning more events, more outreach to readers. They are currently planning an event with PWW Associate Editor Sue Webb, where she would talk on her recent trip to Israel and the West Bank.

By completing their goal, New Jersey has joined a great group of early overachievers, which also includes Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Colorado.

D.C. is another rags-to-riches story. While in 2006 the group struggled to meet its goal, only to fall somewhat short, this year they actually started the drive with 90 percent in hand.

They were able to achieve this due to months of building the PWW in their community. Their activity culminated in the first annual PWW Paul Robeson Award ceremony, where honors were awarded to Luci Murphy, a well-loved D.C. artist and activist. The festivities drew a full house. Like New Jersey, D.C. friends are continuing to send money to their favorite paper, and have discussed holding another, albeit smaller, event before the end of the drive.

Then there is Wisconsin, where the dedicated efforts of a longtime PWW builder, John Gilman, raised the money from readers and fans all over the state.

In St. Louis, where the local Friends committee has, over the past few years, raised its goal from $1,000 to $5,000, 60 people were brought together for a media forum, the proceeds of which went to the PWW. With a theme, in keeping with the message of the PWW, that democracy can’t flourish without a democratic media not beholden to corporate interests, the event raised $3,000. (See upcoming issue for story on forum.)

Across the country, there are other examples of people going above and beyond for the paper. In a large number of states, big events are being planned, such as annual banquets and forums, which are sure to raise money, as well as help guide the movements for peace, democracy and equality.

Donations can be sent to 235 W. 23 St., New York, NY 10011; or made over the phone (646) 437-5363 or online at .

Dan Margolis (dmargolis is business manager of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo.