In combination with our Snapshot of Global Journalism Funding report—which presents a targeted snapshot of the state of global journalism funding today and is based on a survey of media funders and conversations with funders and journalists—Dot Connector Studio, on behalf of Media Impact Funders, conducted additional research on how 25 of the top journalism funders are funding journalism around the world. We investigated the landscape of global media and journalism funding by exploring trends in recent top funder giving, and how funding is distributed in key geographical areas.

This preliminary data shows us that journalism funding is a growing field, with prospects for further growth. Large journalism funders continue to concentrate efforts in North America, but funding in Europe and Africa remains a small but consistent percentage. In general, journalism funding is a small percentage of foundations’ overall giving, but media more generally makes up a larger slice. As definitions around “journalism” and “media” evolve and our world becomes increasingly digital, it’s likely that these percentages will shift.

A note on terminology: For the purposes of this report, we use the taxonomy in Media Impact Funders’ grants data map, Foundation Maps for Media Funding, to define “journalism” and “media.” There are variations in how individual foundations define media and journalism internally, and therefore there may be inconsistencies in how foundations self-report their media and journalism grants.

  • “Journalism” includes all journalism, news and information grants (citizen journalism, advocacy journalism, constituency journalism, investigative journalism and journalism education).
  • “Media” is a broader term that includes journalism but also includes media access and policy, media applications and tools, communications infrastructure, and media content and platforms that are outside the scope of journalism, such as narrative films, educational games, etc.


We used Foundation Maps for Media Funding and 990 Finder tool as primary sources, while acknowledging the limitations of the data available. For the top 25 journalism funders for which 2022 financial documents were available, we analyzed results from 2018-2022. Please note that these numbers are subject to change: Foundation Maps for Media Funding is updated constantly and data pulled on March 4, 2024, may have since changed.

Data limitation considerations include:

  • Non-U.S. funders may not be sharing their data with Candid;
  • Foundations are responsible for accurate data, and coding of information using existing taxonomy and categories can be a subjective and imperfect process;
  • Double-counting of transactions, including re-granting;
  • Removal or or anonymization of sensitive data; and
  • Taxonomy constraints and blurry definitions in the context of evolving media funding landscapes.

Funders were not included in the analysis if 2022 data was not available, and individual donors were removed to focus on philanthropic institutions. We focused solely on “cash grants” as recommended by Candid and used the “journalism, news and information” filter to view journalism funding. Total funding and overall media funding were also gathered for comparison.

This smaller data set does not represent philanthropic journalism trends as a whole but represents a snapshot of top funding and helps to understand how funding has evolved among these specific organizations.

Funders in this dataset include:

  1. The Ford Foundation
  2. The Pew Charitable Trusts
  3. Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  4. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  5. John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation
  6. Foundation to Promote Open Society
  7. John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Inc.
  8. Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  9. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  10. Democracy Fund
  11. The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
  12. Craig Newmark Foundation
  13. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  14. Laura and John Arnold Foundation
  15. Open Society Institute
  16. Walton Family Foundation
  17. Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  18. Northlight Foundation
  19. The Rockefeller Foundation
  20. Omidyar Network Fund
  21. The Kohlberg Foundation
  22. Lilly Endowment
  23. Skyline Foundation
  24. The Heising-Simons Foundation
  25. The Annenberg Foundation

Overall funding

Top journalism funders gave over $1 billion to journalism grantees from 2018-2022. Among these 25 funders, funding spiked in 2020, and remains higher than 2019 levels.

Collectively, the 25 funders in our dataset gave $1.1 billion dollars to journalism grantees from 2018-2022, and $5.4 billion to media grantees in total. Journalism funds among this group were $198.1 million in 2018, and dipped to $171.2 million in 2019. In 2020, there was an increase of 36 percent to $232.6 million. Journalism funding dropped slightly in 2021 and 2022 but remains higher than 2019 levels, sitting at $225.4 million in 2022.

*Data collected on March 4, 2024

Overall, funders in this dataset appear to be giving fewer, larger grants. However, due to fluctuations in grant cycles and multiyear grants, not all funders in the dataset are represented every year.

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
# OF GRANTS 581 654 520 520  441
$ AMOUNT $198.1 million $171.2 million $232.6 million $228.3 million $225.4 million
RECIPIENTS 294 332 332 293 305

Journalism funding compared to total funding

 We found a vast range in the giving dedicated to journalism and media for these top funders. In 2022, we found that top foundations dedicated an average of 7.3 percent of their total giving to journalism projects, and 14.3 percent of giving to media projects more generally.

However, it is difficult to generalize given the variations in size and portfolios among funders. Depending on the mission of the foundation, journalism may be the entire scope, or just a small part. Additionally, foundations may be operating with different definitions of “journalism,” which affects how projects are coded within the Foundation Maps for Media Funding.

Journalism funding in North America

 Among our dataset, grants were concentrated heavily in the United States. Funding outside of the U.S. remains a small percentage, with approximately 3 percent of funding from 2018-2022 going to Africa and 5.5 percent going to Europe among this dataset.

Top recipients are generally located in the U.S., including the Pew Research Center, National Public Radio, American Journalism Project Inc, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and WGBH Educational Foundation. The Stichting European Journalism Centre, located in the Netherlands, is the only non-U.S.-based recipient in the top 25 among this dataset.

Journalism funding in Africa

 Among this dataset, only about 3 percent of total funding from 2018 to 2022 went to recipients in Africa.

Year Journalism funding in Africa Total journalism funding % of total journalism funding
2018 $4.4 million $198.1 million 2.2%
2019 $11.2 million $171.2 million 6.5%
2020 $5.8 million $232.6 million 2.5%
2021 $5.9 million $228.3 million 2.6%
2022 $6.4 million $225.4 million 2.8%
Total $33.7 million $1.1 billion 3.1%

*data collected on March 4, 2024

 These 72 total grants went to 47 recipients. Top recipients include Bhekisisa Development Media (South Africa): $4 Million; United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Ethiopia): $2.3 Million; Bayero University (Nigeria): $2.2 Million; and Tiger Eye Social Foundation (Ghana): $1.9 Million.

Most journalism funding in Africa from 2018-2022 went to recipients in Nigeria, which received 44% of all African journalism funding during this time period.

Journalism funding in Europe

 Over the period 2018-2022, 5.5 percent of funding in this dataset went to European recipients.


Year Journalism funding in Europe Total journalism funding % of total journalism funding
2018 $7 million $198.1 million 3.5%
2019 $16.1 million $171.2 million 9.4%
2020 $15.9 million $232.6 million 6.8%
2021 $13.3 million $228.3 million 5.8%
2022 $8.6 million $225.4 million 3.8%
Total $60.9 million $1.1 billion 5.5%

These 116 total grants went to 69 European recipients. Top recipients include: Stichting European Journalism Centre (Netherlands): $10.6 Million; Telegraph Media Group Limited (UK): $2.4 Million; Open Cities Lab Npc (Netherlands): $4.3 Million; Guardian News and Media, Limited (UK): $3.9 Million; Ediciones El Pais (Spain): $2.8 Million; and Global Change Data Lab (UK): $2.6 Million.

Journalism funding in Asia

 Over the period 2018-2022, only .5 percent of funding in this dataset went to Asia recipients in Asia.

Year Journalism funding in Asia Total journalism funding % of total funding
2018 $1.4 million $198.1 million 0.7%
2019 $1.9 million $171.2 million 1.1%
2020 $2.4 million $232.6 million 1.0%
2021 $617,000 $228.3 million 0.27%
2022 $50,000 $225.4 million 0.02%
Total $6.4 million $1.1 billion 0.5%

 These 40 grants went to 33 recipients in Asia. Information on funding in Asia is limited, with only one recipient listed in 2022: Publishing House Vlast received $50,000 from Foundation to Promote Open Society to “support content production and training of the journalists network across Kazakhstan.”

This analysis did not include other geographic regions due to limitations in data and scope.


We can see from this data that funders in the space are activated, and funds are flowing to journalism recipients. However, it’s difficult to draw firm conclusions from a limited dataset that is primarily focused on funders in the United States. In order to capture a more robust global view, funders need to continue to report and share information, as well as think strategically about how to improve data collection and sharing outside of the U.S.


Katie Donnelly and Jenna Rines are research consultants at Dot Connector Studio, a Philadelphia-based research and strategy firm focused on future-making. Dot Connector Studio works seamlessly with clients across the philanthropy, media, arts and culture, and futurism sectors to make sense of a rapidly changing world and chart a path toward futures that center justice and belonging.

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Media Impact Funders

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Media Impact Funders traces its roots back to the Council on Foundations, a longtime philanthropy-serving organization. Formerly Grantmakers in Film, Video & Television, MIF began on a volunteer basis in 1984 as an affinity group for funders interested in the power of film to highlight social issues. Reflecting changes in technology and media behavior over the past decade, it was renamed Grantmakers in Film & Electronic Media (GFEM) and formally incorporated in 2008 to advance the field of media arts and public interest media funding. It had 45 members and was headed by former MacArthur Foundation Program Officer Alyce Myatt. GFEM was renamed Media Impact Funders in 2012 and has since expanded its strategy to include a broad range media funding interests such as journalism, immersive technologies, media policy and more. Since that time, MIF has grown to more than 80 organizational members representing some of the largest foundations, and holds more than 40 in-person and online events yearly.