Innovative case-studies in philanthropy for journalism

In 2018, Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center collaborated with the Media Impact Funders to examine four innovative case-studies highlighting the pathways foundations took to supporting newsrooms.

It’s important to note that many of the foundations in these case-studies went beyond their established mandates to fund newsrooms, journalists, and programs that complimented the niche issue they worked on. For example, after struggling to raise awareness about the realities of the Flint, MI water crisis, the ACLU of Michigan urged the Ford Foundation to bring on a reporter who could effectively investigate and publicize the story. In 2013, the Ford Foundation funded the hiring of local investigative reporter Curt Guyette, who ultimately exposed the systemic scandal and brought national attention to the injustices that the Flint community was facing. The impact of Guyette’s reporting transformed the water crisis from a local issue to a national one. This was the first time a foundation grant had ever been directed to the hiring of an investigative journalist based at a non-profit advocacy organization.

The main takeaway from these case-studies is this: think outside the box. Funding journalists, newsrooms, and media programs can be an innovative and effective way to address challenges that call for new perspectives and creative approaches. Read more here.

Contact Information

McClatchy Journalism Institute