NewsMatch 2017 raised more than $4.8 million from individual donors and a coalition of foundations to support more than 100 local and investigative nonprofit news organizations, including Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, which publishes BirminghamWatch.
According to a report from the Institute for Nonprofit News, this makes NewsMatch 2017 the largest-ever grassroots fundraising campaign to support local nonprofit and investigative news. The year 2017 also broke records for overall charitable giving to journalism, according to INN.
More than 80 individual donors supported AIIJ/BirminghamWatch during the October-December campaign, the highest number in the organization’s two-year history. They are giving crucial support to the organization’s mission of public service journalism on the environment, education, the economy and government for Birmingham and Alabama. These local contributors gave more than $20,000 that is being matched by national foundations.
“NewsMatch 2017 provides a great boost to our important work in 2018, as we expand our coverage of economic development issues and prepare for a big election year in Alabama,” said Emily Rushing, board president of AIIJ/BirminghamWatch. “We have seen steady growth since our founding in 2015, and it was exciting to be part of this national campaign.”
The national NewsMatch data reveal growing strength of news nonprofits as trustworthy sources for local news. INN reported more than 202,000 individual donors contributed $33 million to nonprofit news organizations in October, November and December. Also, it reported:
- The average year-end donor gave $163.
- 43,000 donors gave to a nonprofit news organization for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2017.
- 25 local and national foundations and donors offered year-end matching grants.
The NewsMatch campaign worked to help nonprofit news organizations around the country connect with supporters more effectively and provided a national marketing campaign on the importance of nonprofit journalism becoming a core part of charitable year-end giving.
“The growth of NewsMatch is a testament to the critical role of local news and investigative journalism in our country right now,” said Jennifer Preston, vice president for journalism at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Knight launched the first NewsMatch in 2016. NewsMatch 2017 involved more than 25 funders around the country. It was established as a partnership among the Democracy Fund, Knight Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and is managed by The Miami Foundation. Over the course of the fall, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the News Integrity Initiative, the Wyncote Foundation, The Gates Family Foundation and the Rita Allen Foundation all joined NewsMatch as partners.
“One of the most important things we can do is increase awareness about the need for and benefits of nonprofit journalism. That is, to add to the usual American philanthropic checklist of schools, hospitals, churches and cultural institutions the possibility of donating to journalism. NewsMatch helped enormously in that effort,” said Richard Tofel, president of Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news organization ProPublica.
All news organizations participating in NewsMatch are members in good standing of the Institute for Nonprofit News. Visit newsmatch.org for more information on the campaign and BirminghamWatch.org for more about the organization serving the Birmingham metro area.