Local Media Foundation will launch the 2021 Local News Fund in October 2021 for independent or family-owned news organizations looking to raise money for local journalism projects via tax-deductible donations from the public. 

Program overview

The 2021 Local News Fund is a program administered by Local Media Foundation (LMF), a 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with Local Media Association. In this program, LMF will work with independent and family-owned local news organizations on campaigns to solicit tax-deductible donations from their communities. Each news organization will identify one or more critical local issues and, using proceeds from the Local News Fund campaign, execute a journalism project or increased coverage on those issues.

We will use the donation platform Givebutter, with which we had great success in last year’s COVID-19 Local News Fund campaign. Using this platform, LMF and more than 200 news organizations raised $1.74 million in donations via that campaign to support local coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic represents a unique moment in time for fundraising, we know there is a continued interest in public funding for journalism projects. 

Who can participate

This program is open to any local news organization in the United states that is: 

  • Independent and/or family-owned 
  • A bona fide local news organization, or group of them, in each location for which we set up a Fund campaign. This means: 
    • You must be engaged in regular, original news reporting.
    • You must not be predominantly focused on advocacy or opinion content (regardless of point of view) or any other form of non-news content.

Organizations do not have to be a Local Media Association member to participate. 

How funds raised may be used

Donations for the 2021 Local News Fund are made to Local Media Foundation, not directly to participating news organizations, even though each participant’s campaign will include its brands and descriptions along with the LMF brand. Because LMF is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust, contributions made to support our programs are tax deductible for the donors to the full extent of the law.

Local News Fund proceeds cannot be used for anything other than the stated and approved purpose. Funds can’t be used to subsidize continuing operations; current payrolls; any journalism efforts an organization would provide anyway; political opinions or support for candidates for public office.

Project Focus

For this campaign, each participating organization will select a coverage topic and project focus to which funds raised will be applied. Potential topics and projects include:

  • Climate (ex. local issues, misinformation)
  • COVID-19 (ex. vaccine information, economic recovery)
  • Investigative reporting
  • Social justice (ex. race, criminal justice, mental health services, housing segregation, homelessness, poverty, immigration) 

Case studies

We encourage you to read a few case studies from LMA’s first cohort of the Lab for Journalism Funding:  

Learn more

To learn more, please read the FAQ document and plan to attend an upcoming information session. Register for Information Sessions here

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 1 pm CT/2 pm ET
Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 3 pm CT/4 pm ET

Apply

Submit your application today. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Questions?

Please contact Lindsey Estes, director of strategic initiatives and member services, at lindsey.estes@localmedia.org.