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Coalition of funders supports new model for American journalism through matching-fund campaign

November 1, 2023

A coalition of national and regional funders is leveraging a $6.3 million investment in NewsMatch to attract donations to nonprofit news organizations across the United States, thereby building local support for the essential news and information that communities need.

Matching grants provide a powerful incentive to give; during the last two months of 2022, news organizations participating in NewsMatch brought in $43 million in local support from area businesses, civic-minded philanthropists, and individual donors — about 10 times the amount of matching funds provided by NewsMatch. Today, 353 nonprofit outlets across 46 states will kick off their annual NewsMatch campaigns, 16% more than last year. 

What began in 2016 as a project solely supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation quickly expanded the following year with the support of Democracy Fund and the Inasmuch Foundation and has since grown to engage a core group of more than 16 funders dedicated to building a new model of public service journalism across the country. This year’s program funders include Heising-Simons Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, along with hundreds of local and issue-oriented funders that have stepped up to directly support news organizations during the year-end NewsMatch campaign.

Over the past several years, NewsMatch has helped power the growth of the INN Network, an alliance of nonprofit newsrooms that includes more than 4,000  journalists — more than any commercial newspaper group. These mission-driven nonprofit news organizations often take the lead in holding government officials accountable, a vital role as the traditional newspaper industry continues to shrink.  As the most recent Nonprofit News Awards showed, reporting by nonprofit newsrooms has led directly to changes in policy and practice at all levels of government – whether from investigating the high death rate at a county jail, tracing the source of cancer-causing chemicals in a state’s drinking water, or revealing lenience around accusations of sexual abuse in the U.S. Army.

VTDigger reporter Auditi Guha interviews a firefighter in Burlington on March 9, 2023. The organization is a 2023 NewsMatch participant. Photo by Glenn Russell for VTDigger

“What’s at stake is American democracy,” said Sue Cross, Executive Director & CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), which manages NewsMatch. “More than 2,500 newspapers have closed in the past two decades, and mis- and disinformation has flooded many communities. Nonprofit news outlets are providing trusted information to help people build their communities and connect with each other, and hold the powerful to account.”

Nearly one in five newsrooms participating in NewsMatch 2023 has a primary mission to serve communities of color, and 22% indicate their organizations are led by individuals who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). A study of INN-member news organizations released last week found that the racial and ethnic makeup of nonprofit news staff largely reflects the U.S. population and is more diverse than the news industry overall.  A subset of the INN Network focuses on issues affecting rural America, including tribal lands.

Many of the institutional funders supporting NewsMatch in 2023 also support Press Forward, a $500 million fund announced this year to support local news that is expected to start making investments in early 2024. Taken together, these initiatives illustrate how the philanthropic sector is recognizing the vital role of news in supporting civic engagement, reducing polarization and increasing community cohesion. 

For national and regional funders, NewsMatch provides a simple, customizable way to support news organizations covering the communities and issues that matter most to them. Through The Miami Foundation, funders can choose to give to the matching-gift pool or set up dedicated funds for particular regions and topics. At the same time, with fundraising training and materials provided by News Revenue Hub and INN, the program helps newsrooms build the fundraising muscle that will ensure their sustainability.

“NewsMatch allows us to stretch our strategy at a time when we’re all worried about news deserts and misinformation and waning trust in traditional newsrooms,” says Hugh Dellios, who heads the journalism program for the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, which targets its funding to the Great Lakes region. “We like how our investment is compounded not only through the match campaign, but through the community of learning where these small, entrepreneurial, innovative newsrooms can learn and work toward a day when they’re more sustainable and more independent.” 

For more background on NewsMatch, including a recent briefing on how the program works, visit the Press Room

To find and donate to a newsroom covering a particular geographic area or topic of interest, visit


NewsMatch is a fiscally sponsored project of The Miami Foundation, managed by the Institute for Nonprofit News with training support from News Revenue Hub. 2023 NewsMatch supporters and anticipated supporters include Democracy Fund, Heising-Simons Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation, Independence Public Media Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kaphan Foundation, Maida Lynn, The Schwab Charitable Fund, made possible by the generosity of the Present Progressive Fund, Vere Initiatives, Walton Family Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Wyncote Foundation. In-kind support is provided by The New York Times

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