How Funding Local News Ecosystems Helps American Communities Thrive

October 31, 2023

Reliable information fuels our lives. We need to know who is on the ballot, what’s happening in our schools, where to find rental assistance, and how to make change in our neighborhoods. From daily reporting that equips people to act, to huge investigations that reveal corruption, the health of local news is bound up with the health of our democracy.

Over five years, Democracy Fund has invested $11 million in six geographic areas across the U.S., where residents and institutions are collaborating to better meet their communities’ real information needs.

This report tells the story of how Democracy Fund grantees created positive impact in their communities through innovative, locally-driven solutions. It also shares lessons for funders and local leaders interested in advancing a more equitable future for local journalism. As more funders consider local collaborative funding, we hope that this report will serve as a valuable resource.

We believe that funding local news ecosystems is an equitable way to support local news because it is rooted in community listening and redistributing resources to areas of greatest need. ​​In 2023, we have committed $4.75 million over the next three years to the geographic areas highlighted in the report, as part of our new Equitable Journalism strategy.

As we move forward in this work, we will continue to share what we learn, including a deeper analysis of the health of various local news ecosystems later in 2024. Sign up for our email newsletter to stay in touch.


Democracy Fund
1200 17th Street NW Suite 300,
Washington, DC 20036