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Philanthropy & Nonprofit Accountability Fellowship

young energetic diverse journalists are looking at notebook and tablet and planning working strategy. (Shutterstock)

The Chronicle has announced the recipients of the 2024-25 Nonprofit Accountability and Solutions fellowship program.

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

Our goal is to give local news organizations access to the tools and training they need to write powerful stories that attract and engage more of their readers during the fellowship and over the long haul.

Through this one-year fellowship, journalists at local or regional news organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit, have the opportunity to work with the Chronicle of Philanthropy — while staying in their community — to report and publish articles about the people and organizations in their regions or coverage areas that are trying to solve pressing problems. They will also have opportunities to learn from our partners at the Associated Press, which is doubling the size of its philanthropy team through a joint grant from the Lilly Endowment that benefits the Chronicle, AP, and the Conversation.

See a sampling of stories published by fellows from 2022 and 2023.

The local news organizations selected will each receive $30,000 to put toward efforts that enhance coverage of nonprofits.

Why Covering the Nonprofit World Matters

Americans give about $500 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.

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.

Bolstering coverage of nonprofits is an important way local news organization can better engage their audiences.

Research by the American Journalism Project shows that Americans are eager for more news about problem solving in their communities — and they are seeking ways to engage with organizations that do such work. Nonprofits and foundations are often key players and connectors on the issues that audiences say they most want to learn more about, so it’s essential to include them in coverage plans.

We are encouraging news organizations to submit proposals for stories and projects that:

  • Identify nonprofits and foundations that have devised proven solutions to big problems that deserve to be spread nationwide.
  • Advance the understanding of nonprofits and charitable giving among citizens, entrepreneurs, business executives, government officials, policymakers, 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 and philanthropy in civic life.
  • Build understanding about the importance and inner workings of philanthropic giving.

2023 Fellows

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

Boston Business Journal is an online and print news organization that covers business and the economy in eastern Massachusetts. It has focused on corporate foundations of for-profit companies and their impact and relationship with their communities as well as 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 reporters are monitoring and examining 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 is examining 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 provides local news coverage. It examined 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 reported on foundations and nonprofits working to aid Haitians in New York City.

The Land (Cleveland), a nonprofit news organization founded in 2020 that reports on Cleveland’s neighborhoods. For the fellowship, it focused 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. Its newsroom explored how local nonprofits are working to curb gun violence and provide affordable housing.

See our news release about the 2022 fellows.