June 2022—
9:00 am—6:00 pm

The National Geographic Society
Washington, D.C.

This is a funder-only gathering.

Storytelling can make injustice more visible and more visceral, and can create pathways for deeper understanding and empathy. It can also uplift communities and mobilize and empower them to take action. There are many new and innovative ways for funders, journalists and media makers to support, create and disseminate stories reflective of the communities most impacted by injustice. Join us for a day of inspiring media presentations and dialogue about the ways in which funders can support storytelling as a powerful lever in the fight for equal justice.

We are so excited to announce that our Media Impact Forum will take place on June 1, 2022, at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. (Keeping the health and safety of our network in mind, we’ll switch to a virtual format if necessary. But for right now, we’re thrilled to be hosting our annual flagship event at the offices of one of our most valued partners.)

Join us for this annual gathering that brings the latest news and trends in media philanthropy together for an inspiring day of funder discussions, media showcases, flash talks, and more. The Media Impact Forum offers funders the unique opportunity to connect and find common points of entry into the critically important work of supporting media in the public interest.

  • We’ll hear from former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen, who disclosed thousands of internal documents to lawmakers and regulators, sparking allegations that Facebook intentionally placed profit over the public good. Frances will be in dialogue with Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation President and CEO Sam Gill about philanthropy’s work to uplift the stories of marginalized communities facing constant barriers due to algorithms that push misinformation, disinformation and hate speech.
  • We’ll explore incredible work to reshape narratives around the origin story of Africans in the Americas with:
    • Kamau Sadiki—president of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and lead diving instructor for Diving with a Purpose—was a member of the team that identified the Clotilda, the last-known ship to bring slaves from Africa to the United States.
    • National Geographic Explorer and Storyteller Tara Roberts will share details about her work to document the efforts of those scuba divers.
    • As executive director of the Obsidian Collection—a resource hub for Black journalists and media organizations—Angela J. Ford will share her perspective on reshaping and defining narratives of the Black community.
  • We’ll hear from the film team behind the National Geographic film “The Territory”—funded by Luminate and Catapult Film Fund—a powerful example of engaging communities affected by climate change and stolen land in the media making process.
  • A spotlight on efforts by the Chicago Community Trust to support media and storytelling in their region. More community foundations are recognizing the importance of public-interest media as a critical ingredient in building and sustaining healthy communities. Daniel Ash, Associate Vice President of Community Impact, will talk about the Trust’s effort to support local journalism and storytelling platforms authentic to and anchored within Chicago’s Black and Latinx communities.
  • We’ll focus on research and impact throughout the day. We’ll hear from:
    • Johanna Blakley (Managing Director) and Erica Rosenthal (Director of Research) of the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center will share several journalism-based research projects, including an impact study of “The Social Dilemma” documentary, trends and challenges in science journalism, and best practices for maximizing its impact.
    • The team at the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida
    • Rachel White, Executive Vice President of Philanthropic and Strategic Partnerships at The Guardian, on a case study looking at the impact of public opinion on reporting.
  • Stay tuned as we confirm more speakers and content!

We’ve been hosting the Media Impact Forum since 2013 with the purpose of bringing funders together to network, deepen learning and spark collaboration. This is special because funders of journalism, documentary and other media seldom cross paths in their everyday work. The Forum provides a wonderful opportunity to come together for a day of inspiring media presentations and to stay up to date on current trends, issues and opportunities facing the field.

Funders will have the opportunity to:

  • Focus on the critical issues facing media philanthropy today
  • Dissect your media strategy with your peers
  • Hear inspiring stories of high-impact media, the strategies behind them and the funders who made them happen
  • Expand your network by networking with funders who represent national, place-based, and community foundations from across the country.

Members: $200
Non-members: $250

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and booster is required to attend. Masks may be required depending on the prevalence of COVID-19 at the time of the event.

The National Geographic Society is an accessible building. Please email info@mediafunders.org if there is a barrier for your participation or if you need to share additional access needs.

We are not securing a room block for this event, but there are plenty of hotel options nearby. We recommend:

Email Courtney Eshleman, Director of Development & Member Engagement, at courtney@mediafunders.org.

Thank you to the Park Foundation for being a sponsor of this event.


  • Kaitlin Yarnall, National Geographic Society
  • Angelica Das, Democracy Fund
  • Courtney Bengtson, Wichita Community Foundation
  • Shawn Mooring, Lenfest Institute for Journalism
  • Megan Gelstein, Catapult Film Fund
  • Sadia Zaman, Inspirit Foundation
  • David Nassar, John Templeton Foundation