Democracy Fund Invests $4 Million in Multi-Year Grants to Support Newsrooms that Center People of Color

November 15, 2023

Newsrooms that center people of color are at the forefront of reinventing journalism. Support for these newsrooms is a core piece of Democracy Fund’s Equitable Journalism strategy, which seeks to ensure that all communities see their needs, concerns, and dreams reflected in the public square.

We pair support for newsrooms with​ ​resources for the coalitions, networks, ecosystems, and organizations that are transforming what journalism looks like and how our nation supports it. We believe this networked and multi-layered approach will lead to a reimagined local news and information landscape and a more just public square.​

​Trailblazing leaders — within and outside newsrooms — who are deeply involved with the communities they serve are inventing new visionary models to realize these goals. They need long-term general operating funding to make their work possible.

The Newsroom Grantees 

In support of these leaders, Democracy Fund is investing $4 million in multi-year grants to support flexibility, capacity building, and general operating sustainability for eleven newsrooms that center communities of color.

The newsrooms were chosen for their community-first and community-centered reporting, collaborative spirit within the field, and leadership in the journalism transformation space.

“While the journalism industry has evolved, there is still much we need to accomplish. We’re honored to continue building upon our efforts and putting our learnings into action,” says ​​Lea Trusty, Senior Program Associate at Democracy Fund.

“These newsrooms inspire us and countless others with community-centered reporting and a focus on well-being for their organization and staff,” says Christine Schmidt, Senior Program Associate at Democracy Fund.

Newsrooms selected for three-year grants of $450,000 total per newsroom include:

  • Baltimore Beat, for their work as a Black-led and focused newsroom that intentionally, creatively, and innovatively serves a majority Black city.
  • City Bureau, for their work as a leading Chicago newsroom dedicated to modeling equitable journalism practices both locally and nationally through their Documenters network.
  • Conecta Arizona, for their work as a trusted information source for the Spanish-speaking, migrant, border community in Arizona and the Sonora border region.
  • Documented NY, ​for their work informing New York City’s immigration population on questions of migrant and labor rights, visas, and more.
  • El Tímpano, for their work as community builders, organizers, and information distributors to Spanish- and Mam-speaking immigrant communities in Oakland and the wider Bay Area of Northern California.
  • Outlier Media, for their work as a national model and organizer of equitable engagement while breaking down barriers to information sharing in Detroit and beyond.
  • Prism, for their work as a BIPOC-led newsroom reporting across several issue areas to disrupt harmful narratives and inform movements for justice.
  • Resolve Philly, for their work reshaping the culture of reporting in Philadelphia with a focus on transforming the way that traditionally marginalized communities are represented and treated in journalism.
  • Scalawag, for their work as a catalyst for change in solidarity with oppressed communities in the South.

Newsrooms selected from a special director’s fund for one-year grants of $150,000 per newsroom include:

  • TransLash Media, for their work as a Black, trans-led organization dedicated to telling trans stories to save trans lives while building power and centering the humanity of trans people.
  • Charlottesville Tomorrow, for their work as they continue developing an anti-racist and anti-authoritarian model of local news with a project to bring more inclusive stories to local media in Charlottesville.

We are honored to be a small part of the transformative work of these newsrooms and organizations. As we support their missions,​​ we will continue seeking opportunities to advance and invest in our vision of an inclusive, multi-racial democracy that is open, just, resilient, and trustworthy.

How Democracy Fund Drives Additional Support for Newsrooms Through Collaborative Funding

In addition to our direct newsroom investments, we partner with local leaders, journalists, community builders, and philanthropists to support equitable journalism around the country. Through these partnerships, we’ve developed and joined many pooled efforts to expand our impact and support for newsrooms beyond what we could alone. That has included multi-year grants to efforts like the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund, NewsMatch, American Journalism Project, The Pivot Fund, and URL Media. Our collaborative funding also continues in local ecosystems around the country, as well as to national organizations that catalyze local news transformation.

We aim to bring this spirit of collaboration and learning into any future Press Forward investments. These newsrooms and collaborative funding opportunities are closely aligned with one of Press Forward’s investment priorities to strengthen local newsrooms that have the trust of local communities. For clarity, all grants in this announcement are from our core budget and not from additional Press Forward funding.

An Update to Our Grant Requirements

Democracy Fund is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in journalism. In 2022, we began requiring that all newsroom grantees participate in the News Leaders Association (NLA) Diversity Survey or the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) Index Survey after a grant is awarded.

This resulted from ​a call to action from our grantees and grew from ​our support of the open letter to the Pulitzer Prize awards regarding demographic data transparency. More importantly, this change supports our belief that measuring diversity in newsrooms is crucial to improving diversity in the journalism industry. This requirement is added to our existing ethical guidelines with newsroom grantees, including ensuring that Democracy Fund will not discuss or review newsroom reporting before publication.

Please Note: Democracy Fund does not accept unsolicited business plans, proposals, or personal requests. For more information on our work and grantees, sign up for updates. For general inquiries, contact To view a complete list of grantees, visit our grants database.

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