The Chronicle has already received philanthropic commitments totaling more than $6 million.
February 8, 2023 (Washington, DC) – As the Chronicle of Philanthropy advances its bold plan to innovate, grow, and expand coverage of the rapidly growing social sector, it will become an independent nonprofit organization this spring. CoP serves the nonprofit world, including an influential print and online audience of more than 338,000 monthly.
Since its founding in 1988, CoP has been owned and published by the Chronicle of Higher Education Inc., a private, for-profit company. CoP announced its intention to spin off in May 2022 and last week received the IRS determination necessary to become an independent 501(c)(3).
“Nonprofits and foundations are more crucial than ever as the nation seeks to solve problems from climate change to threats to democracy to racism and violence, yet their leaders lack the information and visibility that enable them to maximize their social impact,” said editor Stacy Palmer, who helped found CoP in 1988 and will become executive director of the new nonprofit organization. “We’re excited to expand our staff and our services so we can help provide the news, analysis, and insight essential to strengthening the social sector. And we’re especially eager to help local journalists do more to document the contributions nonprofits make to improving the vitality of every community.”
“Our new nonprofit, independent structure will allow us to do more than ever to innovate, grow, and double down on our social impact, but one thing will always remain true,” Palmer said. “Our journalists will remain committed to sharing the exclusive news, innovative ideas, and thought-provoking content our readers count on.” She published a note to CoP readers today, sharing the news and providing additional comment.
CoP is reimagining its mission to provide more information and insight to nonprofit and philanthropy professionals. Specifically, CoP will:
- Expand its explanatory journalism to shed light on the results of philanthropy’s biggest bets.
- Build a public commons for debate on essential issues in philanthropy.
- Broaden the range of contributors and viewpoints shared in opinion essays and live briefings with the goal of advancing pluralism at a time of polarization.
- Organize more live events that connect its audience with experts and peers.
- Offer its storytelling in a range of formats tailored to individual learning preferences.
- Continue developing new partnerships with other news outlets and journalists to ensure that readers have greater access to information about nonprofits in their communities and across the nation.
- Increase tools for professional development and learning for nonprofit professionals, building on the success of its much-praised webinars.
Over the past year, CoP staff members have been meeting with social-sector leaders, laying the groundwork for new partnerships and more coverage, including:
- Expanding efforts to educate the public about the work of the social sector. Through its partnership with AP and the Conversation, CoP brought together key players for live discussions about important issues such as climate change and humanitarian needs posed by the war in Ukraine. Soon such discussions will also be held on college campuses.
- Issuing a second annual call for applicants to the Philanthropy & Nonprofit Accountability Fellowship, which mentors journalists at local, regional, and other outlets on meaningful ways to cover the social sector.
- Highlighting major trends in the nonprofit world, including growing efforts by nonprofit workers to form labor unions, commissioning an exclusive survey showing how fundraisers view their profession in the wake of the pandemic, and examining young wealthy donors remaking philanthropy.
- Collaborating with the Associated Press on a yearlong effort to showcase nonprofit and foundation efforts to tamp down gun violence.
To support its significant expansion of content and services, CoP will fill at least 13 new positions, including at least eight new editorial staff members. In January, Rodney Mahone, a longtime McClatchy business leader and former official of the Pivot Fund, was named chief revenue officer, and Sundra Hominik, a top editor at CoP, was appointed partnerships director. Recruitment for editor-in-chief and chief development officer are well underway.
CoP has already received philanthropic commitments totaling more than $6 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($3 million), Ford Foundation ($2 million), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation ($500,000), Open Society Foundations ($300,000), Walton Family Foundation ($200,000), Conrad N. Hilton Foundation ($100,000), John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($100,000), and the Heinz Endowments ($50,000).
Trabian Shorters, who chairs the new nonprofit’s independent Board of Directors, said, “I am excited about the opportunity to help the Chronicle continue to reimagine its work to meet the needs of nonprofit leaders and offer broader perspectives on philanthropy and a deeper appreciation of its power and importance in our shared democracy.”
Shorters, CEO and founder of BMe Community, is a retired tech entrepreneur, bestselling author, former vice president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and a board member of the Solutions Journalism Network and DonorsChoose. Also serving on the founding board are Ana Marie Arrilagos, chief executive of Hispanics in Philanthropy; Amanda Barrett, vice president of news, standards, and inclusion at AP; and Anna Nirmala, who was the first vice president of portfolio success at the American Journalism Project and is now a consultant to entrepreneurial news efforts across the country. Michael Riley, chief executive of the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Pamela Gwaltney, chair of the Chronicle of Higher Education, are also members of the founding board. Additional board members, plus a new advisory council, will be named this spring.
CoP is committed to maintaining a strict firewall to ensure integrity and objectivity for all news and analysis. CoP has been reviewing its gifts and ethics policy, established in 2019 when it first began to accept grants. It will be open about its sources of funding and how it decides to accept grants. None of the grant makers that support CoP have any advance knowledge of stories the newsroom is developing or any say in the reporting, writing, or editing. Reflecting its commitment to transparency, CoP has posted to its website the IRS application for recognition of tax exemption.
Media contact: Andy Solomon, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 841-9049.