Last year, the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) and their partners raised a record $12 million to support the NewsMatch program, benefiting 302 nonprofit news organizations across North America. The $12 million total includes $6 million in matching funds, incentive bonuses and organizational support, plus $6 million in seed money for 2022 and 2023 campaigns. This is the first year that funders have pledged money for future years, providing some financial security for nonprofit newsrooms. In 2020, INN raised $5.1 million for the NewsMatch fund.
INN reports that, between November 1 and December 31, 300 nonprofit newsrooms participated in NewsMatch 2021, which used NewsMatch matching funds and bonuses to secure donations from their readers. Since the program launched in 2016, NewsMatch has helped raise over $150 million for nonprofit journalism, supporting small, emerging startups, newsrooms in underrepresented communities, and strengthening mission-based news organizations.
Highlights for NewsMatch 2021, the sixth such campaign, include the following:
- 302 newsrooms now participate in the program, a 15% increase over 2020 and four times the number of newsrooms that participated in the program’s first year, 2016.
- The total number of newsrooms includes 77 startups that have launched since 2019.
- 24% of participating NewsMatch newsrooms operate from a mission of serving communities of color, and 69% of participants have a local or statewide focus.
- NewsMatch 2021 funders include the Democracy Fund, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Meta Journalism Project, the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, Google News Initiative, Inasmuch Foundation, the Independence Public Media Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Kaphan Foundation, Loud Hound, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, the Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable, Sarena Snider, Solidarity Giving, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation.
- In addition to these funders, dozens of local funders and issue-based donors gave to the NewsMatch program in 2021.
- NewsMatch partners with INN, the Miami Foundation, the News Revenue Hub and the Colorado Media Project.
Examples of participating newsrooms include:
- Indian Country Today, Phoenix, Arizona
- Rocky Mountain Public Media, Denver, Colorado
- Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Washington, D.C.
- Amjambo Africa, Portland, Maine
- Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, Quincy, Massachusetts
- Religion News Service, Columbia, Missouri
- Futuro Media, New York, New York
- ProPublica, New York, New York
- Institute for Public Service Reporting, Memphis, Tennessee
- Borderzine, El Paso, Texas
- Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism, Crozet, Virginia
- Crosscut, Seattle, Washington
Over the last 15 to 20 years, broadcast and print newsrooms have struggled to remain viable and sustainable as digital-first newsrooms took over and the “traditional” advertising revenue model shifted. Even newsrooms that transitioned to digital quickly have suffered in an era of 24/7 news, rising costs and battered reputations. That’s why it is particularly exciting to see nonprofit news blossoming with organizations, individuals and foundations who are willing to support them and lift them up as they transition to new business models. We also love that there is such a focus on mission-based work and serving traditionally underserved communities. We have a long way to go as an industry, but nonprofit news and the work INN, NewsMatch, their funders and partners is doing is a huge step in the right direction. Bravo!