Challenge Fund for Journalism Awards $75,000 Grant to Twin Cities Media Alliance: Funds Targeted at Building Long-Term Capacity and Financial Sustainability

NEW YORK – The Challenge Fund for Journalism (CFJ), a consortium of the Ford, McCormick, and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundations, today announced that 13 nonprofit journalism organizations working in youth media, ethnic media, and investigative reporting will receive $875,819 in grants.  The winners, listed below, are a broad mix of organizations from across the United States active in local and national news and information projects.

Piloted in 2004, CFJ was introduced amid extraordinary and difficult changes in the news media profession.  Not only have journalism organizations seen a significant decline in financial support from corporate and philanthropic sources, but also a severe contraction in the industry as a whole.  The current economic crisis has only exacerbated these difficulties, demonstrating more than ever the need to build the capacity of organizations to expand and diversify their financial base of support.

The Challenge Fund initiative addresses this need by providing a combination of grants and customized coaching, technical assistance, and peer networking opportunities to ensure that journalism groups have the leadership, infrastructure, and financial resources needed to increase their adaptability and promote long-term sustainability.  Grantees are chosen through a competitive process that utilizes criteria such as readiness for capacity building, commitment to organizational change, commitment to revenue diversification, and potential impact of CFJ on organizational development and sustainability.

In the first five cycles of the program, a total of 44 media organizations participated, generating almost $8 million for the field.  The current round, CFJ VI, has two groups of grantees:  Cohort 1 will receive two-year grants, complemented by technical assistance and participation in grantee networking and collaboration.  Cohort 2 will receive one-year grants only.  All of the awards are challenge grants and must be matched by the organization.  The new grantees met in New York City on January 21-22 to kick off the Challenge Fund for Journalism VI.

Cohort 1
Chicago Reporter
Grant Award$75,000
Columbia Journalism Review $100,819
Investigative Reporting Workshop $75,000
Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism $100,000
New York Community Media Alliance $75,000
Street-Level Youth Media $100,000
Twin Cities Media Alliance $75,000
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism $75,000
Youth News Service – LA Youth $100,000
Cohort 2 Grant Award
Asian American Journalists Association $25,000
National Association of Black Journalists $25,000
National Association of Hispanic Journalists $25,000
Native American Journalists Association $25,000

Calvin Sims, Program Officer, Media, Arts, and Culture, at the Ford Foundation noted that “The Challenge Fund for Journalism has been very successful in building essential organizational and fund development capacity among a broad range of journalism organizations.  Many of these groups are responsible for bringing diverse voices, perspectives, and stories into the media space.  CFJ not only serves to bolster the financial sustainability of these critical organizations, but also ultimately strengthens the entire journalism profession.”

“This innovative collaboration has been a rewarding experience for us,” said Clark Bell, the McCormick Foundation’s Journalism Program Director. “As the journalism field continues to experience seismic shifts, the organizational and financial tools and resources this program provides is needed now more than ever.  By enhancing the ability of nonprofit journalism organizations to fundraise from a diverse range of sources and develop earned income strategies, CFJ VI will serve to sustain their bottom lines far into the future.”

Bob Ross, President and CEO of the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, further commented that “Participation in CFJ has proven transformational for many grantees, helping them make important organizational changes and implement innovative capacity-building and fund development strategies.  After CFJ, we have found that most organizations do not return to ‘business as usual’ but instead incorporate the new structures and frameworks learned into their organizational DNA.”

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation ( was founded in 1982 by Edith Kinney Gaylord to support local and national efforts to improve the quality of journalism practices among various media. The Foundation provides funding for projects that promote excellence and instill high ethical standards in journalism.

The Ford Foundation ( is an independent, nonprofit grantmaking organization. For more than half a century it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

The McCormick Foundation ( is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country. Through its grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, museums, and civic outreach program the Foundation helps build a more active and engaged citizenry. It was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune.

The New York office of TCC Group (, a 30 year-old management consulting firm that works with funders and nonprofit organizations, manages The Challenge Fund for Journalism and provides technical assistance to the grantees.

To donate to the Twin Cities Media Alliance, please visit our secure donation page.

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