Our primary goal is to increase the resources for local news
We invest in the business capacity of digital newsrooms so they can grow sustainably, and we provide personalized coaching and access to training on best practices.
We are working to catalyze the nonprofit local news field by building a diverse portfolio both in terms of stage and model. We invest growth capital in existing organizations, seed new organizations in partnership with local philanthropy, and incubate talent-led startups. We expect all of our grantees to meet the following core criteria:
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
We believe that every community deserves access to high-quality local news. We especially encourage inquiries from organizations that are led by and serve traditionally underrepresented communities. We know there are great entrepreneurs and organizations who won’t fit everything described in our grantmaking rubric or who provide important public service to their communities that we have not considered. We welcome a conversation about your organization and how it is serving local information needs.
What to expect
Working with a venture philanthropy can be a new experience for some. Our model is built to provide bespoke support based on grantees’ biggest strategic challenges alongside our investment in organizational revenue and operations capacity. Read more about our support here.
What we look for
In addition to the core criteria listed above, which must apply to all our grantees, we consider strength in core organizational areas as outlined in this rubric. We do not expect organizations to be strong across all pillars but we do expect our grantees to have a compelling track record, and demonstrate the commitment and capabilities to strengthen in each area.
How we decide
Most of our grants are made through a competitive grantmaking process. We periodically make calls for letters of inquiry (LOIs), often with a specific investment thesis motivating the call. Our internal grants committee reviews all LOIs and selects a handful of organizations to move to the proposal phase, which includes a written proposal, financial and operational due-diligence, and a series of workshops with the organization’s leadership and board of directors. Our aim during the proposal process is to articulate a 3-5 year growth plan and then structure an investment that will enable the organization to reach its goals. Final proposals are approved by our board of directors.
Get in touch
If you think we should know about the work of your existing, nonprofit news organization, please reach out via our general inquiry form below (and if you are exploring launching a new nonprofit local news organization see information about our incubator initiative below). Our team can’t respond to every inquiry we receive, but we promise we are reading them!
For individuals and small teams
The American Journalism Project, with support from the Google News Initiative, is launching a local news incubator. The program is intended to support entrepreneurs who want to explore launching a new nonprofit local news organization to serve their communities.
Individuals and small teams with ideas for new local news organizations can apply for this 18-month incubator, which will provide both startup capital and expert counsel. For this cohort, we will select up to four individuals or pairs. Founders will receive $400,000 to pursue their startup full time and spend 18 months researching, developing an editorial strategy to fill the local news and information needs they identify in a given market, fundraising, coalition-building and preparing to launch an organization.
Photo courtesy of our grantee partner Mississippi Today.