Nine nonprofit news leaders running for INN’s Board of Directors


Meet the Candidates

INN members, please meet the candidates seeking to represent you in three open seats on INN's Board of Directors.

These seats are currently held by Anne Galloway of VTDigger, Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics and Laura Frank of Rocky Mountain PBS. Their two-year terms are up for renewal.

All three are running for re-election. Frank was one of the founders of INN in 2009 and has served on the board since 2013. She currently serves as Board chair. Galloway has served as a member representative since 2014 and Krumholz since 2017.

Six new candidates are also seeking to represent the membership. They are Julie Drizin of Current, Lucas Grindley of Next City, Daniel Heimpel of The Chronicle for Social Change, Trip Jennings of New Mexico In Depth, Regina Starr Ridley of Bay Nature and Joel Toner of Nonprofit Quarterly.

The three open seats are among six member representative seats on INN's 12-member board. Three of the six seats are open each year. The other six directors’ fill what are called “public seats,” and are appointed by the board. All directors serve two-year terms, up to ten years total.

Voting opens Monday, June 3. Ballots will be emailed directly to the voting member at each member organization, which is typically the executive director or head of the organization.

Members can vote any time until 9:00 a.m. EST on Thursday, June 13, during the INN annual meeting at INN Days 2019. Candidates attending the annual meeting will have the opportunity to give short presentations or statements to the assembled members before voting closes. For those not attending, they may provide a short video statement to be played during the meeting.

The top three vote-getters will be selected and serve two-year terms from June 2019 to June 2021.

Votes will be counted immediately upon closure of the voting period and the election of the top three candidates confirmed by the board of directors at the annual meeting.

INN directors are also expected to appoint one new public board director. That person will be the numeric replacement for Brant Houston, who terms off of the board after 10 years of service. Further information about board can be found at https://inn.org/about/board-of-directors/.

Julie Drizin
Executive Director, Current

Bio: Julie Drizin is the first executive director of Current, the trade publication that has served professionals in public broadcasting since 1981.  She leads Current's content, revenue, development and engagement strategies. As a result, she doesn't sleep well at night and has been known to send Slack messages at odd hours.

Julie's previous position was Director of the Journalism Center on Children and Families at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where she taught undergraduates and managed the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism. That "legacy" center closed in 2014.

Julie is a public media lifer, with nearly 35 years joyfully toiling in this field. That included stints with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), the National Center for Media Engagement, J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, WETA, Pacifica Radio, and WXPN. An award-winning producer and editor, Julie launched two successful national programs: Democracy Now! and NPR’s Justice Talking.

But, her heart is in strengthening local news, community and civic value: the shared mission of INN members and public media stations. At Current, she co-created the Local that Works initiative which documents and tells stories of successful and replicable public media projects.

Despite too much evidence to the contrary, she does have a life outside of work. She is a mom to two teenage daughters, sings alto in a chorus, swims religiously, and performs humanist wedding ceremonies in the DC area.

Statement: I'm in my fifth year as ED at Current. Are we there yet? (No.)

I've learned so much in these years about digital news, publishing, advertising, fundraising, engagement, subscription and email marketing, business experimentation, paywalls, and the list could just keep going on.

And, I've learned a great deal from INN and from all of you. I'm impressed with INN's tremendous growth and its commitment to all of its members' survival and success. I am grateful for the many ways the INN's team has supported my leadership journey. I am eager to deepen my own engagement in advocating for nonprofits in the journalism world by playing a more active role in INN's future.

We, the members of INN, are pioneers. We are a tribe of resilient, resourceful, creatives committed to public interest and accountability journalism. I am at a point in my career where I feel ready to share my own lessons learned and strategize with peers to lift up all in this space.

I can certainly offer insights that might help nonprofit news organizations connect and collaborate with public radio and TV stations in their communities and states.

And, when I'm awake at 2,3,4 am, I can send Slack messages to fellow INN board members. (There is an INN Board Slack Channel, right?)

Apologies to all that I could not be with you again this year. If I am elected, I promise to make sure my summer vacation is scheduled at another time. I do miss seeing you and sharing our triumphs and tribulations. La lucha continua.

Laura Frank
VP Journalism, Rocky Mountain PBS

Bio: Laura Frank is VP of Journalism at Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver, where she leads a duPont-winning investigative team. She founded I-News, the investigative news nonprofit that merged with Rocky Mountain Public Media in 2013, the first such merger in the nation. She was a founding member of the Institute for Nonprofit News (inn.org) and now serves as its board chair.

Statement: Helping found INN and then serving on the board has been such an honor. The energy in the nonprofit news sector continues growing and I want to help INN reach the next level of service to its members. I'd like to help the board grow its fundraising capacity and further focus the services our members need to sustain and grow. Thank you for your consideration.

Anne Galloway
Executive Director, VTDigger

Bio: Anne Galloway is the founder and editor of VTDigger and the executive director of the Vermont Journalism Trust. Galloway founded VTDigger in 2009 after she was laid off from her position as Sunday editor of the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. VTDigger has grown from a $16,000 a year nonprofit with no employees to a $1.7 million nonprofit daily news operation with a staff of 23. In 2017, Galloway was a finalist for the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics, the Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors FOIA Award for her investigation into allegations of foreign investor fraud at Jay Peak Resort.

Statement: INN has grown tremendously over the past five years, particularly under the leadership of Sue Cross. As a longtime member of the board, I believe my role is to support Sue in her work and to support the nonprofit news field by sharing what we've learned at VTDigger. I want to help Sue and the board shape effective strategies for INN's continued success as the support system for the business development of nonprofit news organizations across the country.

Lucas Grindley
Executive Director, Next City

Bio: Lucas Grindley is executive director for Next City, a nonprofit journalism organization that reports on solutions for the problems facing our cities. He is the former president of Pride Media and oversaw leading LGBTQ brands Out magazine, The Advocate, PRIDE, Out Traveler, Chill magazine, and Plus magazine. Under his leadership, the company increased revenue by 22 percent and was sold to a new owner.

Grindley was also editor in chief of The Advocate, the longest running LGBTQ magazine in the country. In 2016, NLGJA named Grindley as “LGBT Journalist of the Year" with its Sarah Pettit Memorial Award. Grindley led coverage at The Advocate through two Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality, the Pulse tragedy in Orlando, and he helmed The Advocate during its 50th year anniversary. The accompanying documentary was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award.

Previously, Grindley was managing editor for online at National Journal magazine, covering politics and policy making during the 2008 election and President Obama's first term. Grindley started his career in local news in Sarasota, Florida. He has won three national Sigma Delta Chi awards for online reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists.

Grindley now lives in Philadelphia with his husband and twin daughters. He also serves on the board of directors for Extraordinary Families, a nonprofit helping create more families like his through foster-adoption. Grindley is a graduate of University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a certificate in leadership.

Statement: Even before 2,500 journalists were laid off at the start of this year, Pew Research Center tracked a 45 percent decline in newsroom employees over the last 10 years. How many fewer stories is that? How many fewer chances exist for a rising activist to rally a movement? How many fewer solutions to our problems are published? Meanwhile, demand for the attention of journalists only grows, with injustices large and small worsening. No matter what your P&L says, it's impossible to handle twice as much with half the people. We need more journalists.

And by “we,” I mean America. Democracy does not properly function without an informed electorate. It makes bad decisions.

These problems will not be fixed by the for-profit system, which is warped now by hedge funds and no demonstrably sustainable business model that can be pointed to as our defense. Repairing our industry is up to us, the nonprofit news professionals. That's why I go to work every day at Next City and why I would be proud to put my every effort into our collective success while on the board of INN.

A director should serve primarily as a connector, perhaps introducing potential donors to a program worthy of support or sharing feedback between members and the board. Responsibilities require, of course, well-informed oversight. My preference is to act as a sounding board that helps shape improvements. Any successful director ought to be in service to the staff of the organization, not the other way around.

Daniel Heimpel
President, The Chronicle of Social Change

Bio: Daniel Heimpel is the president and founder of Fostering Media Connections, a national non-profit news organization covering vulnerable children, youth and families. He is also a journalism educator and an award-winning journalist.

Heimpel has taught graduate students on the intersection of journalism and child policy at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. In addition, through the Journalism for Social Change Massive Open Online Course, offered on the edX learning platform, Heimpel has trained thousands of students globally.

Heimpel has written and produced stories about vulnerable children for Newsweek, The Los Angeles Daily News, LA Weekly, The Seattle Times, The Oprah Winfrey Network, KPCC and KCRW among many others. This coverage has garnered him journalism awards from the Children’s Advocacy Institute, The Los Angeles Press Club, The North American Resource Center for Child Welfare, The National Association of Social Workers, The Child Welfare League of America and California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth, and The California Social Work Archives among others.

As the publisher of Fostering Media Connection’s flagship news site, The Chronicle of Social Change, Heimpel has the honor of leading a newsroom that regularly produces impactful journalism. You can contact him at dheimpel@fosteringmediaconnections.org or follow him on Twitter at @dheimpel.

Statement: On May 20, my wife gave birth to our second son. While this event precludes me from attending INN days, it strengthens my resolve to give back to the Institute for Nonprofit News.

We all do this work because we believe in the power of journalism to hold the powerful accountable and provide justice for the disenfranchised. I don’t have to tell this audience about the evisceration of legacy news media (especially in smaller markets) and the uphill battle nonprofit journalism has to fill the gap.

I have been fortunate enough to build a newsroom covering child welfare and juvenile justice. This is how I do my part to prop up the frayed ramparts of journalism as a whole.

The nonprofit journalism we all practice is the last line of defense against a culture that easily looks past the inconvenient truth’s of climate change, executive overreach, misuse of state power and a long list of issues that are begging for coverage.

As far as I see it, INN is doing more for nonprofit journalism than any other organization in the country. If granted the opportunity to serve on its board, I would make it my mission to come up with strategies and draw down resources that can be used to improve the sustainability of our sector as a whole. It would be my honor to do this work with all of you – and for the sake of the little baby who joined this world only four days past.

Trip Jennings
Executive Director, New Mexico In-Depth

Bio: Trip Jennings is a longtime newspaper alum who has worked in Georgia, California, Florida, Connecticut and New Mexico. He reported on everything from government corruption and the changing face of health care in America to the influence of money in politics before co-founding New Mexico In Depth in 2012.

New Mexico In Depth is an investigative, data-driven nonprofit media outlet that speaks truth to power. In particular, NMID is focused on government, how money influences the making and implementation of laws and regulations, and how implementation of those rules affects the lived realities of New Mexicans—especially the state’s low-income communities—and sometimes perpetuate inequities in the education and criminal justice systems.

Trip grew up in Georgia in the 60s and 70s, a time and place that taught him the power of the question “why are things the way they are” and the discomfort it sometimes caused people in power. It also made him mindful that stories about individuals, while fun, only go so deep; looking at systems and institutions reveal much more about the world in which we live than stories about individual wrongdoers.

Statement: Over seven years at New Mexico In Depth, I have worn multiple hats – fundraiser; reporter; editor; bookkeeper; administrator; and HR guy, sometimes all in the same day. I know what it’s like to juggle the not-always-compatible responsibilities of keeping an eye on day-to-day operations while contemplating a long-term future amid the uncertainty swirling around the news industry.

I’ve also lived through going from a blip on the media landscape to a must-read site, in part due to the investigative, data-driven, high-impact stories we publish. (CJR has featured us twice in its pages for the stories we’ve published.) But, let’s be honest, it’s due in part to the erosion of traditional newsrooms and a gap in journailsm that more and more nonprofit outlets like NMID and others across the nation are emerging to fill at a time when Americans, more than ever, are in desperate need of good, vetted information.

As large funders wake up to the importance of funding local journalism, and by extension, to the role many nonprofit media outlets increasingly play for the communities they serve, my experience would make me an effective advocate for small nonprofits seeking to grow.

If elected, I would emphasize continuing to grow INN’s training regimen focused on leadership and development of business models, and the importance of programs that connect funders to nonprofit newsrooms. I also believe deeply in the importance of continuing to diversify the news industry to better reflect the nation’s changing demographics.

Sheila Krumholz
Executive Director, The Center for Responsive Politics

Bio: As executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, Sheila Krumholz is the nonpartisan watchdog group’s chief administrator and spokesperson, appearing regularly in news stories around the country as a money-in-politics analyst. She is cited frequently in prominent national news outlets and in documentaries about money in politics, including the 2019 Oscar nominated movie, Dark Money.

The Center for Responsive Politics is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group tracking money and its influence on politics and policy at the federal level. Its data, analysis and original journalism appears on its website, OpenSecrets.org.

Ms. Krumholz has testified before Congress and the Federal Election Commission on issues related to government transparency and regularly makes presentations on money in politics to scholars, government officials, NGOs that conduct research and advocacy, and at meetings of professional news organizations (Investigative Reporters and Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, National Press Foundation, etc.). She often speaks to community groups and international delegations, including representatives from government and civil society organizations, interested in illuminating money’s role in their countries’ politics.

Ms. Krumholz became Executive Director in 2006, prior to which she was CRP’s research director for eight years, supervising data analysis for OpenSecrets.org and for CRP’s clients in the media, academia and elsewhere. She has a degree in international relations and political science from the University of Minnesota and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two children.

Statement: Over the 9 years of our affiliation with INN, I’ve come to appreciate the value that INN brings and am proud to serve as an ambassador on its board. In fact, my goal is for all members to be ambassadors of this new media vanguard, equipped to educate about its vital role, whatever the audience. INN has become so essential in all levels of journalism—local, state and federal—and, in particular, its intersection with politics and the economy.

To INN’s board, I bring nearly 30 years’ experience working with all of these stakeholders, including for-profit and non-profit media operations large and small. I have seen the amazing growth of INN and want to continue to support its strong progress and critical role supporting nonprofit news organizations. I remain immensely proud to represent this community on the INN board. INN member groups continue to deliver high caliber investigations, as witnessed by their accolades. My goal as an INN board member is to work to ensure that this is followed by broader societal understanding of nonprofit news’ essential role in the news ecosystem.

My organization, Center for Responsive Politics/Opensecrets.org, is one of the many specialized/topically-focused nonprofits that have joined INN, and so I continue to champion the work of the small-but-mighty organizations that “punch above their weight” and deliver outsized impact. INN offers so much to groups working to demonstrate their impact and ensure sustainability. I will support this crucial role that INN plays for so many start-up news organizations.

Regina Starr Ridley
Executive Director and Publisher, Bay Nature

Bio: I am the executive director and publisher of Bay Nature, an independent nonprofit magazine with a public service mission. We serve the San Francisco Bay Area with environmental journalism that includes deeply reported stories that can be found nowhere else.

I have over thirty years experience launching, operating, and expanding media products and organizations. Beginning my career as an editorial assistant, I rose through the editorial side to become publisher and eventually group president responsible for print, digital, and events in the technology sector for CMP Media.

I moved to nonprofit media when I took over Stanford Social Innovation Review. Using my experience in commercial media, I launched earned income streams such as live events and webinars while solidifying foundation support and growing revenue from subscriptions and advertising. These activities brought SSIR from close to a $1million loss to break-even.

After leaving SSIR, I ran the revenue side of a social justice foundation and nonprofit accelerator before joining Bay Nature in 2017.

My board experience includes having been a board member of the Institute for Justice and Journalism and now ten years board leadership at my local farmers market. When in commercial media I was on the executive committee of a publicly held media company. I am a social entrepreneur program evaluator for Echoing Green.

Bringing community together through media and having impact. This is what makes what I do feel so worthwhile—developing great teams and using my media skills to make a difference in our badly beaten-up world.

Statement: It’s thrilling to be at the start of something big and growing that you’ve cared about for a long time.

That’s how I feel about the growth of INN and NewsMatch and the dramatically increased attention that independent nonprofit journalism is getting from some of the US’s biggest funders, recently with the launch of the American Journalism Project.

INN has been a catalyst for this movement and is instrumental to its continued growth. Why do I want to join the board? Simply: I care deeply in the importance of a strong independent media and think I can make a difference. I can contribute my skills from a career in developing many magazines and the products surrounding them. These experiences include launching and growing many kinds of earned income streams and building out foundation and individual donor support. At present I am executive director of a nonprofit media group focused on public service journalism and typical of many members of INN: just under $1 million in budget. We are local and focused on one sector (the environment).

What do I hope to accomplish as a board member? I will support the executive director and team to provide education and business support services to member organizations and promote the value and benefit of public-service and investigative journalism. After my term is over I want to see more members in INN with greater strength and financial stability—including the small media groups.

Joel Toner
Co-President, The Nonprofit Quarterly

Bio: Joel is a seasoned senior media management executive with extensive experience in product development, content management, and marketing for a wide variety of media products encompassing magazines, books, websites, digital products, conferences, and PBS TV/video productions.

Joel joined the nonprofit news media sector in 2014 as Co- President/Executive Publisher of (NPQ) The Nonprofit Quarterly. During this period NPQ expanded its digital audience 4 x, developed an extensive social media audience and video media audience, and acquired Tiny Spark an investigative news podcast. The annual budget has increased from $650,000 to $ 2,400,000. During this period revenue generated via publishing activities increased from $280,000 in 2015 to $1,400,000 in 2019.

Formerly, Joel served six years as vice president/publishing director for F & W Media—managing a diversified media business with eighteen-plus magazines and online brands with multiple business conferences, consumer events, and reader competitions, and generating advertising and consumer revenues of $35 million-plus—and over seven years as senior vice president/publishing director of New Track Media LLC, with a portfolio of digital, video, television, events, and magazines generating revenues in excess of $70 million.

Additionally, Joel serves on the Board of Directors of Yankee Publishing Inc., and the Board of the Specialized Information Publishing Association.

Statement: My intention in becoming an INN board member would be to share my skills and experiences as well as to learn from peers. I would also like to help INN develop and support new content distribution channels and help establish and new revenue channels for its membership base.