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Philanthropy & Nonprofit Accountability Fellowship

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Applications for the 2023-24 Philanthropy & Nonprofit Accountability Fellowship are closed. Please check back in the fall for information about 2024-25 application.

The fellowship, which runs from March to February each year, is offered by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an independent news organization that covers nonprofits, foundations, and others involved in advancing the social good.

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 and solutions-focused journalism in covering philanthropy, nonprofits, and charities, 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 — while staying in their community — 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.

Here are some stories written by 2022-23 fellows:

  • Inside the Academy Working to Train D.C.’s Violence Intervention Workforce (DCist)
  • Founders of Color Lead Way to More Equitable Tech Ecosystem in Cleveland (The Land)
  • As Ohio Welcomes Refugees, a Nonprofit Gives Them a Boost (The Land)
  • D.C. Has Been Giving Residents ‘Mini-Grants’ for Violence Prevention. Here’s How They’re Using Them (DCist)

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.

2023 Fellows

The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Ariz.) has been the state’s watchdog since 1890 and is Arizona’s largest news-gathering organization. It will focus on philanthropy’s role in shaping the response to the growing homelessness crisis in the state.

Boston Business Journal (Boston, Mass.) is an online and print news organization that covers business and the economy in eastern Massachusetts. It will focus on corporate foundations of for-profit companies and their impact and relationship with their communities. It will also examine equity in nonprofit compensation.

The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) is locally owned and is the South’s oldest daily newspaper, tracing its roots to 1803. Its reporting will monitor and examine the flow of cash from cities to several local nonprofits and how the money is used.

WHQR Public Media (Wilmington, N.C.) is the NPR affiliate station for southeastern North Carolina. It will examine the work and grant making of a billion-plus-dollar foundation created from the sale of a formerly publicly owned hospital.

See our news release about the 2023 fellows.

2022 Fellows

Boulder (Colo.) Reporting Lab, a nonprofit news organization, started last year to provide local news coverage. BRL will examine the unique role that community foundations play in climate disaster relief and recovery.

The Haitian Times (Brooklyn, N.Y.), an independent media organization founded in 1999 that seeks to inform readers about developments in the Haitian Diaspora and Haiti. It will report on foundations and nonprofits working to find solutions in New York’s Haitian community.

The Land (Cleveland), a nonprofit news organization founded in 2020 that reports on Cleveland’s neighborhoods. For the fellowship, it will focus on philanthropy’s role in equitable economic and work-force development.

WAMU (Washington), a public radio station founded in 1961 and owned by American University that also operates DCist, a local news site founded in 2004. Their newsroom will explore how local nonprofits are addressing gun-violence intervention and the challenges of affordable housing.

See our news release about the 2022 fellows.

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