The MIF Newsletter

August 2021
We know it’s the end of summer and you may well have your head in a good book at the beach. But we’d like to share a few important developments here at MIF and around the field, as we all get ready to get back in the swing of things.
At this time of year, we often have to say goodbye to old friends and welcome new faces. That’s true for your kids finishing up summer camp and going into their new schools. And it’s true for us, too. We have to say goodbye to our longtime communications director, Nina Sachdev. And we’re also happy to welcome important new members of our community, mentioned below.
Perhaps the most important detail for us is that we’re following the health and safety concerns associated with the Delta variant, and we’ve decided to shift J-Funders, our annual gathering of journalism funders, to a fully remote experience. We were hoping to have the opportunity to connect in person, but we’ll err on the side of caution until COVID cases drop back down to an acceptable level. In the meantime, we are looking for every way possible to encourage shared learning and collaboration in our growing network of funders, storytellers and journalists.

Vince Stehle
Executive Director, Media Impact Funders

Upcoming Events

J-Funders 2021:
The annual journalism funders gathering
is now all-virtual

Wednesday, Oct. 13 & Thursday, Oct. 14
Keeping the health and safety of our network in mind, and given the sharp rise in cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant, our 2021 Journalism Funders Gathering will now take place virtually. 

On Oct. 13-14, we'll focus on the "big questions" facing journalism, and the agenda will feature plenty of networking and participant-led discussions. Our plenaries and discussions will include such topics as:
  • The most likely public policy opportunities to strengthen journalism;
  • The latest examples of how news organizations are combating disinformation, which is disproportionately affecting communities of color;
  • How philanthropy can center racial equity in journalism moving forward;
  • How philanthropy can rise above America's local news crisis;
  • And more
Click below to see our schedule and current list of speakers, and stay tuned for more details as we continue to shape this program. (For more background and context, here's what we discussed at our 2020 gathering.)
Agenda // speakers // registration
This is a funders-only event.

Did you miss an event? We record all of our discussions to make it easier for you to stay connected, at a time that's convenient for you.

Watch our events

MIF News

New MIF report reveals scope of community foundation funding to media and journalism

Community Foundations & Media: Funding Data from 2009-2021" provides a detailed look at community foundation support for media in the U.S., including top funders and recipients, comparisons of funding across regions, and examples of grants across a range of media subjects. According to Candid data, out of $19.6 billion in media grants made by U.S. foundations since 2009, $1.1 billion came from community foundations, the report shows. Of that figure, $124 million was directed toward Journalism, News and Information. The report, produced with support from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, shows that while the bulk of giving across many media types is concentrated to just a handful of community foundations, the scope of giving today is an encouraging sign that community foundations are recognizing the importance of supporting media as part of a larger strategy to build and sustain healthy communities. Read the report.

A comprehensive recap of the 2021 Media Impact Forum

The first four sessions of our Media Impact Forum have concluded, and they are available to watch. The sessions are focused on:
  • Ensuring you have the right communications strategy for your audience. Hesitancy isn't a one-size-fits-all issue. People's fears, objections and reservations vary widely based on a number of factors, so understanding your audience is key here.
  • Funder initiatives and collaborations aimed at boosting vaccine confidence
  • The path forward for making the field of science communications more equitable and inclusive
  • Building reporting initiatives that support a healthy planet
Watch these recordings for practical, actionable steps and valuable insights to help you continue this important work.

MIF member spotlight: The National Institute for Health Care Management (NICHM) Foundation

The NIHCM Foundation, a member of MIF since 2019, funds health care journalism that examines issues impacting the United States health care system and consumers, such as access to care, cost and quality, and equity. The impact of its investments can be seen in work such as "The Aftermath," a Vox series about the collateral health effects of Covid-19. A recent NIHCM-supported story in the series, "The Doctors Are Not All Right," confronted the devastating mental health toll that COVID-19 has taken on doctors around the country. This is the kind of high-quality journalism to which NIHCM is committed. That's why, for the second year, NIHCM is making $1 million available to support new awards in journalism and research. In this Q&A, Nancy Chockley, founding President and CEO of the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation, and Kathryn Santoro, Director of Programming, share details about NIHCM’s commitment to supporting high-quality health journalism. Read the Q&A.

New MIF members!

We're thrilled to welcome Cultural Survival and Africa No Filter as members. See our full member list.

MIF says farewell to its communications director

Nina Sachdev has left her post as MIF's communications director after more than five years entrenched in the world of media philanthropy. We wish her great success, and despite our sadness, we are consoled to know that she has moved on to lead communications for one of our most engaged members, the Rita Allen Foundation.

News from the Field

  • The California Wellness Foundation has announced support of EdSource, Capital & Main and Fresnoland as part of its mission to advance health equity in California. In its latest round of grantmaking, the foundation signaled its commitment to media outlets that are focused on lifting up the voices of underrepresented and ignored communities. Learn more.
  • The Coalition Against Online Violence—funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies and founded by the International Women’s Media Foundation—is a collection of global organizations working to find better solutions for women journalists facing online abuse, harassment and other forms of digital attack. The Coalition just launched the Online Violence Response Hub, where women journalists can come to find the latest information on online abuse and harassment. Learn more.
  • Double Exposure, the first and only film festival in the United States dedicated to the intersection between investigative journalism and visual storytelling, returns Oct. 13-17 with a new virtual edition. MIF members can get 10 percent off their passes. Email us if interested at For more information and to buy your pass, go to
  • We recently caught wind of a new ITVS documentary, "Storm Lake," which tells the story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Art Cullen and his family as they fight to unite and inform their Iowa farming community through their biweekly newspaper, the Storm Lake Times. The film will premiere on Independent Lens on Nov. 15. Watch the trailer.
  • Earlier this month, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the appointment of two new vice presidents. Effective Aug. 30, digital news leader Jim Brady will serve as Vice President/Journalism, and former news producer and communications executive Heidi Barker will serve as Vice President/Communications and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. Learn more.
  • In other/more Knight news, a new article posted on Knight's website, "How Philanthropy Became a Growing Revenue Stream for Local News," explores the trends around philanthropic giving to local news, at nonprofit and for-profit news outlets. Read more.
Copyright © 2021 Media Impact Funders, All rights reserved.

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