News from the Field

New Wyncote Foundation report shows how place-based foundations are supporting media

As MIF’s staff packs up for next week’s Knight Media Forum, we’re pleased to share an on-point new report just out from the Wyncote Foundation: Investing in Local Journalism, Public Media, and Storytelling: Examples from Place-Based Foundations.

Written by Wyncote consultant Sarah Lutman, the report profiles nine local foundations that have given grants to a range of media projects, with the goals of reinforcing their own program priorities, illuminating community in new ways, and lifting up the stories and voices of people not usually featured in commercial coverage.

The report is designed to inspire and inform other place-based funders, and includes related resources and tools. With some leads from the Foundation Maps for Media Funding—a data visualization tool created by the Foundation Center in partnership with MIF—Lutman uncovered funders across the country that are taking creative approaches to supporting media, including the the Blandin, Dodge, Greater New Orleans, James F. and Marion L. Miller, LOR, Rasmuson, Revson, and Z. Smith Reynolds foundations.

Highlighted funding strategies range from ensuring broadband access for rural communities in Minnesota; to bolstering the news and cultural ecosystems in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Oregon; to engaging outlets and audiences around thorny issues in Alaska and the Intermountain West.

Lutman also unpacks the funding strategy of Wyncote’s own Vice Chair David Haas (also an MIF board member). Based in Philadelphia, the foundation “takes an ecosystem approach, combining a strong commitment to accountability journalism with support for a range of community information needs and resources, creative storytelling, and independent media. Alongside anchor institutions such as libraries, parks, colleges and universities, cultural organizations, and the local press, Wyncote sees media as a crucial component of the public sphere. Haas comes to Wyncote’s philanthropic work from his background as a photographer, media maker, and arts administrator.”

Packed with insights and instructive links to funded projects, this report dovetails with our own recently released booklet, Journalism and Media Grantmaking: Five Things You Need to Know, Five Ways to Get Started, also produced with support from the Wyncote Foundation. We hope that both of these resources will prove useful to the many local funders and grantees who will attend the Knight Media Forum to help improve their own practice.