Coalition of funders supporting new model for American journalism through matching-fund campaign
Starting November 1, a coalition of national and regional funders is leveraging a $6.3 million investment in NewsMatch to attract donations to nonprofit news organizations across the United States, thereby building local support for the essential news and information that communities need.
Matching grants provide a powerful incentive to give; during the last two months of 2022, news organizations participating in NewsMatch brought in $43 million in local support from area businesses, civic-minded philanthropists, and individual donors — about 10 times the amount of matching funds provided by NewsMatch. Today, 353 nonprofit outlets across 46 states will kick off their annual NewsMatch campaigns, 16% more than last year.
What began in 2016 as a project solely supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation quickly expanded the following year with the support of Democracy Fund and the Inasmuch Foundation and has since grown to engage a core group of more than 16 funders dedicated to building a new model of public service journalism across the country. This year’s program funders include Heising-Simons Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, along with hundreds of local and issue-oriented funders that have stepped up to directly support news organizations during the year-end NewsMatch campaign.
Growing the INN Network
Over the past several years, NewsMatch has helped power the growth of the INN Network, an alliance of nonprofit newsrooms that includes more than 4,000 journalists — more than any commercial newspaper group. These mission-driven nonprofit news organizations often take the lead in holding government officials accountable, a vital role as the traditional newspaper industry continues to shrink. As the most recent Nonprofit News Awards showed, reporting by nonprofit newsrooms has led directly to changes in policy and practice at all levels of government – whether from investigating the high death rate at a county jail, tracing the source of cancer-causing chemicals in a state’s drinking water, or revealing lenience around accusations of sexual abuse in the U.S. Army.
“What’s at stake is American democracy,” said Sue Cross, Executive Director & CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), which manages NewsMatch. “More than 2,500 newspapers have closed in the past two decades, and mis- and disinformation has flooded many communities. Nonprofit news outlets are providing trusted information to help people build their communities and connect with each other, and hold the powerful to account.”
Nearly one in five newsrooms participating in NewsMatch 2023 has a primary mission to serve communities of color, and 22% indicate their organizations are led by individuals who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). A study of INN-member news organizations released last week found that the racial and ethnic makeup of nonprofit news staff largely reflects the U.S. population and is more diverse than the news industry overall. A subset of the INN Network focuses on issues affecting rural America, including tribal lands.
Many of the institutional funders supporting NewsMatch in 2023 also support Press Forward, a $500 million fund announced this year to support local news that is expected to start making investments in early 2024. Taken together, these initiatives illustrate how the philanthropic sector is recognizing the vital role of news in supporting civic engagement, reducing polarization and increasing community cohesion.
For national and regional funders, NewsMatch provides a simple, customizable way to support news organizations covering the communities and issues that matter most to them. Through The Miami Foundation, funders can choose to give to the matching-gift pool or set up dedicated funds for particular regions and topics. At the same time, with fundraising training and materials provided by News Revenue Hub and INN, the program helps newsrooms build the fundraising muscle that will ensure their sustainability.
Support the Alameda Post
“NewsMatch presents a unique opportunity for the Alameda Post to get in front of our community with an attractive proposition to fund our ongoing efforts,” stated Publisher Adam Gillitt. “Our readers have been generous to date with their support, but programs like NewsMatch encourage donors to give needed funds we would otherwise not be able to access. Last year, we met our $15k fundraising goal, and received that amount again plus more in matching funds. This year’s NewsMatch goal is slightly smaller, at $13K. We are optimistic that we will exceed that goal by the end of the year.”
For more background on NewsMatch, including a recent briefing on how the program works, visit INN’s Press Room.
NewsMatch is a fiscally sponsored project of The Miami Foundation, managed by the Institute for Nonprofit News with training support from News Revenue Hub. 2023 NewsMatch supporters and anticipated supporters include Democracy Fund, Heising-Simons Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation, Independence Public Media Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kaphan Foundation, Maida Lynn, The Schwab Charitable Fund, made possible by the generosity of the Present Progressive Fund, Vere Initiatives, Walton Family Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Wyncote Foundation. In-kind support is provided by The New York Times.
The original article was authored by the staff of the Institute for Nonprofit News and was first published on their site, inn.org. We have modified the article to include content relevant to our readers.
Editorials and Letters to the Editor
All opinions expressed on this page are the author's alone and do not reflect those of the Alameda Post, nor does our organization endorse any views the author may present. Our objective as an independent news source is to fully reflect our community's varied opinions without giving preference to a particular viewpoint.