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Meet the team leading the field of nonprofit news! The staff of the Institute for Nonprofit News works to support the field in business education, audience development, leadership training and more.

Open positions will be posted on our job board.

Leadership Team

Executive Director and CEO

Sue Cross

Sue Cross leads the Institute for Nonprofit News, a network of more than 300 independent, nonprofit news media organizations in North America. She joined INN in 2015 to build its emerging media network and advance social enterprise models for investigative and other public service journalism. Sue is a former senior vice president for the Associated Press global news agency, where she created digital news services, expanded Spanish language and Latin American operations, introduced video to more than a thousand online news sites and managed a national news cooperative. |

Chief Development Officer

Lisa Gardner-Springer

Lisa Gardner-Springer leads development initiatives benefiting the 350 nonprofit newsrooms that are members of INN and make up the fastest growing news network in North America. In this role of attracting philanthropic investment, she advances INN’s mission of expanding Americans’ access to trusted sources of news. Most recently Gardner-Springer has been the senior director of institutional giving at PRX, where she has overseen strategies to secure foundation and government grants for the organization and its programs. |

Chief of Growth Programs & NewsMatch Program Manager

Courtney Hurtt

Courtney Hurtt leads a collaborative year-end fundraising campaign to increase the operating revenue of INN members. Through NewsMatch, she works closely with newsrooms and funders to advance the business model for nonprofit news. Previously, she led collaborative initiatives to diversify audience and revenue for WDET, Detroit’s public radio station. As associate director of product strategy and operations, Courtney created “Framed by WDET,” an award-winning series of community exhibitions that have appeared in more than 25 locations. |

Chief Network Officer

Jonathan Kealing

Jonathan Kealing strengthens collaboration among INN’s network of nonprofit newsrooms and develops partnerships and services that help them meet their missions and increase the reach and impact of their journalism. Jonathan oversees the Amplify News Project among Midwest newsrooms piloting news sharing and distribution models. He is especially interested in ways local and regional news organizations can work together and with national organizations to extend the impact of their journalism. |

Management & Staff

Communications Director

Sharene Azimi

Sharene Azimi promotes the work of the INN network to funders, partners and other external audiences while bringing INN members news and resources from the field of public service journalism. She edits the weekly INNovation newsletter and oversees all of INN’s communications channels. Prior to joining INN in 2020, Sharene spent a decade as founder and principal of Mission Communications, providing organizational strategy, branding, communications planning, and marketing services to non-profits, universities, and foundations. |

Membership & Development Coordinator

Mara Jezior

Mara Jezior manages and helps to build INN’s growing member community. Prior to joining INN in July 2017, Mara held marketing and development internships at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and MinnPost, two of INN’s earliest members. As the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s first public engagement and marketing intern, she tracked the reach and impact of individual stories, producing reports for funders and created the Center’s first stakeholders report. During her time at MinnPost, she honed her skills using databases and donor prospecting. |

Member Network Director

Michelle Morgante

Michelle Morgante leads INN’s work to grow the network of nonprofit newsrooms and support members by connecting them both to resources within INN and with one another. She joined INN in 2020 to facilitate connections among members and support new and established members in growth and development. A veteran of newsrooms across the United States and Latin America, Michelle has nearly 30 years of experience in print, digital and broadcast journalism as a reporter, editor and manager. |

Amplify Collaborations Leader

Sharon McGowan

Sharon McGowan works to enhance the impact of public affairs reporting by creating and managing editorial collaborations among INN members and other selected news organizations. McGowan was the founding editor of Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, an award-winning nonprofit news organization that has covered low-income, minority communities in Milwaukee’s central city since 2011. She started her career as a reporter and then managing editor at The Chicago Reporter, which covers race and poverty. |

Director, Finance & Operations

Chip Potts

Chip Potts supports the growth and financial success of the INN membership network by overseeing INN’s fiscal sponsorship program, expanding the portfolio of business services as well as supports INN’s staff to help their work to the benefit of INN members. Chip has over 35 years of accounting, tax and nonprofit management experience. He was previously the associate director and CFO of the Santa Monica College Foundation and ran his own accounting and tax practice for 12 years in Arlington, Virginia before moving to California and joining the college foundation. |

Engagement Specialist

Alexis Price

Alexis Price drives meaningful engagement by creating dynamic web, social media and email content for INN. Before joining INN, she managed email marketing and spearheaded social media strategy at a national education nonprofit. Alexis graduated from Butler University with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English creative writing. During that time, she worked on the student newspaper staff, serving as editor-in-chief her final year. Alexis is currently working toward her master’s in communication — with a specialization in journalism innovation — at Syracuse University. |

Office Administrator & Executive Assistant

Cynthia Ruiz

With more than 15 years of nonprofit administration experience, Cynthia is equal parts admin and equal parts jack of all trades — depending on project and office priority. Before joining INN, Cynthia worked closely with keratoconus patients for the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California Irvine. Cynthia is actively pursuing a B.A. in Sociology and Masters in Social Work, with a concentration on strengthening, empowering and rebuilding under-resourced communities. |

Research Director & Editor

Emily Roseman

Emily Roseman leads the INN Index, an annual study of INN members and the most comprehensive source of data about the emerging nonprofit news field. Emily also oversees the production of a rich set of case studies with the goal of speeding field development and amplifying the resources available through INN. Emily has researched and written for the Membership Puzzle Project, the Public Media Mergers Project, the Solutions Journalism Network and Harvard’s Belfer Center. |

Network Philanthropy Prospect Researcher

Emily Spranger

Emily Spranger provides direct services to INN members by conducting research on potential philanthropic prospects and reporting research results to members. Additionally, she works with members to help them access the philanthropic shared services that INN offers, including wealth screening and software subscriptions. Previously, she’s coordinated fundraising efforts for arts organizations and libraries across Michigan. As a development professional, she specializes in database management, prospect research, and grant writing. |

Director of Leadership & Talent Development

Sara Shahriari

Sara Shahriari helps nonprofit newsrooms develop effective and forward-thinking leaders who advance the industry in both journalism and financial sustainability. That means supporting emerging leaders through training that strengthens their organizations while also building pathways into the nonprofit news world for diverse groups of talented students and industry professionals in journalism, public administration and business. |

Member Collaborations Editor

Bridget Thoreson

Bridget Thoreson works with Amplify Collaborations Editor Sharon McGowan and Chief Network Officer Jonathan Kealing to expand the scope and depth of member-led collaborative projects. |

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