The Chronicle of Philanthropy, an independent news organization that covers nonprofits, foundations, and others involved in advancing the social good, is almost ready to launch the second year of the Philanthropy & Nonprofit Accountability Fellowship.
This fellowship is part of an extensive collaboration with the Associated Press and the Conversation designed to shed light on one of the most undercovered — but crucial — sectors of American life.
Our goal is to give news organizations access to the tools and training they need to write powerful stories that attract and engage more of their readers and to expand their accountability journalism across a variety of beats, both during the fellowship and over the long haul.
Through this one-year fellowship, journalists at local, regional, and nonprofit news organizations will have the opportunity to work with the Chronicle of Philanthropy to develop and publish articles about the people and organizations in their regions or coverage areas that are trying to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems and improve the quality of life for all.
The newsrooms selected will each receive a $15,000 stipend to subsidize the work of reporters and editors on projects for publication at their own organizations and in the Chronicle. They will also work with and learn from editors and reporters who are part of our philanthropy partnership at the Associated Press and the Conversation and with national experts who can help them improve their journalism.
Why covering the nonprofit world matters
Americans give more than $450 billion a year to nonprofits, which, along with foundations and other philanthropic organizations, hold trillions of dollars in assets. Grant makers such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation; charities like United Way Worldwide, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the American Cancer Society; private colleges such as Howard and Stanford; hospitals like St. Jude and the Mayo Clinic; and advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, Sierra Club, and the Color of Change are all part of the charitable sector, which employs one out of every 11 Americans.
Nonprofits such as food banks, housing organizations, youth groups, and faith charities are playing a critical role in helping the nation through the pandemic. They are helping distribute federal aid to assist in the recovery and the rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure. It is essential that news organizations keep an eye on whether these government funds being handled by nonprofits are making a difference.
At the local level, many community foundations, women’s funds, giving circles, and other philanthropic groups wield significant power through their donations and relationships with key players, yet there are few accountability mechanisms to ensure they are doing work that benefits everyone. That’s why the news media must step up its scrutiny.
We are encouraging newsrooms to submit proposals for stories and projects that:
- Advance the understanding of nonprofits and charitable giving among citizens, entrepreneurs, business executives, government officials, policy makers, and others.
- Examine whether charities and foundations are making a difference (or not) on important problems facing the communities news organizations serve.
- Deepen the conversation about nonprofits in civic life.
- Build understanding about the importance and inner workings of philanthropic giving.
- Expand the national conversation about philanthropy and its role and influence.