October 2022—
8:30 am—3:00 pm

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

This is a funder-only gathering.

We’ve come a long way since 2002, when a handful of journalism funders got together to compare notes about the most pressing issues facing journalism and how funders could address them. We hope you’ll join us on Oct. 18-19 to celebrate and reflect on the last 20 years of journalism funders in community, and to co-design the future of journalism. Save the date by registering now, and we’ll be in touch soon with more details on the agenda, speakers, hotel accommodations, and more.

We look forward to seeing you all in person. Here’s what you need to know:WHAT IS J-FUNDERS?This annual gathering, which began 20 years ago, provides an important opportunity to strengthen connections among journalism funders and to provide opportunities for funders to discuss their work and share ideas with one another. WHY SHOULD I ATTEND?We know that funders rely in part on the expertise of other funders. This meeting will help you make connections to peers who are eager to share best practices and lessons learned. By taking a broad view across the field of media funding to include many different types of platforms, issues and philanthropic goals, we are uniquely able to bring funders together around specific topics, connect funders and media makers who might not otherwise cross paths, and in the process, expand the field of journalism funding.WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA?This year’s agenda will feature discussions on new initiatives in the field, innovative funding models, efforts to build and sustain media equity, and more.

Here’s how the two-day conference is shaping up:

  • A special musical opening with pianist Michelle Cann, a champion of the music of classical composer Florence Price.
  • Nancy Gibbs, Director of the Shorenstein Center and Edward R. Murrow Professor of the Practice of Press, Politics, and Public Policy, will serve as our emcee for the first part of the day on Oct. 18 moderating discussions on the origin story of journalism funders in community and lessons learned along the way; an overview on the latest comprehensive research on the state of local news; and how the challenges facing the decline of local news are being addressed by investments in public media, venture philanthropy and more.
  • Irving Washington, outgoing CEO of ONA and member of the Board of Directors at the American Journalism Project, will share his perspective on efforts by philanthropy to build and sustain local news over the years.
  • Concurrent sessions on lessons learned from 20 years of journalism grantmaking, science and health misinformation, and more.
  • An update on the latest news from Steve Waldman about the Rebuild News Coalition, which advocates for public policies that sustain local news systems in communities.
  • Discussions about the shifting power balance in media philanthropy between funders and grantees and connections between journalism and democracy, moderated by Errin Haines, editor-at-large at The 19th.
  • Flash talks about a few consequential news verticals, including abortion, gun violence, and criminal justice, and how and why funders would support deep news verticals to maximize impact.
  • The Baltimore Banner, the online news startup financed by Stewart W. Bainum Jr., is taking on the challenge of filling information gaps in Baltimore, where the paper of record there—The Baltimore Sun—is now owned by hedge fund firm Alden Global Capitol. Banner Publisher and CEO Imtiaz Patel will talk about approaches to ensuring the startup’s sustainability beyond Bainum’s initial investment, and strategies to produce inclusive coverage, including a public media partnership with WYPR.
  • After two days of talks, discussions and plenaries, where do we go from here? Jim Brady, who joined Knight Foundation as Vice President of Journalism in 2021, will moderate our last session of the program, engaging funders in a discussion about using what we learned to formulate next steps.

Stay tuned as we confirm more speakers and content. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?Members (in person): $250 Non-members (in person): $300
Members (virtual): $125
Non-members (virtual): $150

WHAT IS THE JOURNALISM FUNDERS NETWORK?MIF’s Journalism Funders Network is a strong and active network of MIF and comprises a diverse constellation of philanthropic organizations. Through convenings, original research reports and field-building activities, we aim to strengthen connections among journalism funders and offer them opportunities to discuss their work among peers. Learn more.CAN YOU HELP SPONSOR THE JOURNALISM FUNDERS GATHERING?Generous sponsorship comes from the Lumina Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation. Additional support comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Rita Allen Foundation. If you are interested in providing sponsorship, email Courtney Eshleman, MIF’s director of development & member engagement, at courtney@mediafunders.org.

(Please note: Proof of vaccination is required to attend J-Funders. Even though COVID-19 restrictions are easing around the country, we are still monitoring health guidelines. If we decide to cancel the in-person meeting entirely, we’ll all convene remotely as we have been.)