If there’s one thing Ben Goldhirsh’s magazine doesn’t strive to be like, it’s mainstream press. Says Goldhirsh, “I could care less about what big media says.”
Rather, Goldhirsh bills Good magazine as “an entertaining magazine about things that matter.” The founder celebrated Good’s first year on Sept. 7 at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Goldhirsh launched Good magazine in Los Angeles, Calif. in 2004. He started the magazine with a group of friends - mostly people in their 20s - who wanted to create something relevant to their lives. Their initial goal was: “Let’s make this for us,” he said.
Good is a socially-conscious magazine aimed largely at 20-somethings who like their activism to be stylish. The magazine’s articles, rarely longer than one or two pages each, tackle issues from environmental sustainability to the origins of the metric system to graphic design. Each issue concludes with a “Good Project” that invites readers to send in original projects, like care packages or mix tapes, which Good posts on its Web site.
In keeping with Good’s other motto - “Media for people who give a damn” - the magazine donates all of the money it makes from subscriptions to one of 12 charities of the subscriber’s choice, including the World Wildlife Fund and UNICEF. The magazine has given away $434,600 from 21,730 subscribers, according to its Web site.
Last Friday’s anniversary party brought together a portion of those subscribers, with approximately 1,200 guests at the Hirshhorn. Several deejays, including Eric Hilton of D.C.‘s Thievery Corporation, performed in the museum’s plaza and galleries.
The Hirshhorn event is one of three anniversary parties Good will host this fall. Washington was an ideal location for the party because many of the nonprofit organizations Good supports have offices in D.C., according to Carol Cho, Good’s events director.
“It’s a city that cares about what’s going on,” Cho said.
The magazine also chose New York and Los Angeles as party destinations to reflect the geographic concentration of its readership, Cho said.
Hope Equity, an investing group that manages donations to organizations that fight hunger and poverty, will sponsor all the Good anniversary events this fall. Hope Equity’s Greg Spradlin said his organization and Good do business in similar ways.
“It’s a different way to do philanthropy,” he said. “You know where your money goes.”
In addition to Good magazine, Goldhirsh runs Reason Pictures, which shares similar values to the magazine. Reason Pictures’ films mix “commercial entertainment with relevant content,” according to the company’s Web site.
Goldhirsh’s experience studying film production at the University of Southern California was preparation for his work at Reason Pictures, but he said his upbringing prepared him more for Good.
“Publishing is in my blood,” he said.
Goldhirsh’s father, Bernie Goldhirsh, produced several magazines, including “Sail” and the business industry insider publication, Inc.In spite of the younger Goldhirsh’s financial independence (Bernie Goldhirsh sold Inc. in 2000 before his death for approximately $200 million, The New York Times reported.), he said Good’s future still hangs in the balance.
“This year is about locking it up,” he said.
Eagle Staff Writer Josh Kramer contributed to this article.