Journalism Funded by Philanthropy

Journalism funded by philanthropy is one of our four strategic pillars. LMA’s Lab for Journalism Funding, launched in September 2020 with support from Google, guided participating publishers through a six-month curriculum developed by a team from The Seattle Times led by Joaquin Alvarado. Through July 2021, the 16 publishers had combined to raise more than $3.5 million, an average of more than $200,000 per publisher. The success of these publishers is strong evidence that philanthropy can be one pillar for sustainably funding local journalism focused on civic good.

Here are recent articles about our own efforts and other industry initiatives to develop philanthropic funding for journalism.

10 reasons to join the Lab for Journalism Funding

Local Media Association is expanding The Lab for Journalism Funding to welcome up to 20 newsrooms into the program, which offers individualized coaching, best practices, and the framework to grow philanthropic support for local news in communities of all sizes. Applications are due Aug. 8 to be considered for the second cohort of the lab, […]

Ford Foundation $1 million grant a win for NOLA, local journalism

Philanthropy is not charity. Funders do not give away money. They make strategic investments in communities to drive outcomes aligned with their civic goals. So it was big news when Ford Foundation announced last week it was investing $1 million in NOLA/com/The Advocate and Times-Picayune, through a local community foundation, to help the publisher expand […]

Center for Journalism Funding

LMA launches second cohort of Lab for Journalism Funding, adds Lenfest Institute as funding partner

Contact: Frank Mungeam, LMA chief innovation officer,; Lindsey Estes, LMA director of strategic initiatives and member services (July 16, 2021) — Local Media Association invites all local news outlets to join the second cohort of LMA’s Lab for Journalism Funding, to learn how to develop reporting projects that can be funded through philanthropy. Applications […]

Community impact report: Telling the story of the value of journalism

Journalists are experts in telling the stories of others. When it comes to telling the story of journalism and its value to the community, newsrooms might take a lesson from the nonprofit world. While journalists might naturally assume that people in their communities understand and recognize the value a local news outlet adds to civic […]


Size doesn’t matter for journalism funded by philanthropy

By Frank Mungeam • LMA chief innovation officer Myth: Only large publishers can realistically hope to fund critical local journalism through philanthropy. The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., proved what’s possible by successfully funding a dedicated reporter to cover the pandemic vaccination story in the Gulf Coast region. To be fair, Sun Herald editor and publisher […]

What 16 publishers learned pitching funders on journalism projects

By Frank Mungeam • LMA Chief Innovation Officer Want to know if you have a compelling case for the value of your journalism? Try persuading someone to pay for it. That premise inspired an unusual “graduation day” for the 16 publishers in Local Media Association’s Lab for Journalism Funding: Pitch a panel of national funders […]

Built to last: Record-Journal creates Latino Communities Reporting Lab funded with philanthropy

By Frank Mungeam • LMA Chief Innovation Officer In the landmark business book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, authors James Collins and Jerry Porras identify core characteristics of organizations built to succeed over the long haul. These companies embrace purpose, not just profits; they set “big hairy audacious goals” (BHAG); they are […]


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