The MIF Newsletter

December 2021
Disinformation around vaccines continues to flourish online, thwarting efforts to boost vaccinations at a particularly vulnerable time—as Americans brace for another surge in COVID-19 infections just ahead of the holidays. The stakes could not be higher; pandemic disinformation has become a matter of life or death—particularly for marginalized communities—and now even more so with the highly contagious Omicron variant taking hold as the dominant strain.

Organizations and the foundations that support them are continuing to prioritize investments to combat disinformation around vaccines. Most recently, we celebrate the work of funders such as the Rockefeller Foundation, which just announced The Mercury Project, a three-year, $10 million investment to support research on the costs and harms of mis- and disinformation, and identify new tools to reduce its impact. And First Draft—a coalition that arms journalists and researchers with tools to fight misinformation and disinformation—has released a new report (see more below) analyzing vaccine narratives on social media and their effect on Hispanic communities in the U.S. This report follows a similar First Draft analysis of vaccine narratives circulating in Black communities.

These initiatives highlight the urgent need to understand the motivations and hesitations behind getting vaccinated, how disinformation affects those perceptions, and how to tailor messaging to diverse communities that boosts confidence in getting the vaccine.

We look forward to highlighting more efforts to support media in the public interest in the new year, including at the 2022 Media Impact Forum, which we're excited to announce (see below for more) will take place at the National Geographic Society in June.

Upcoming Events

WORKSHOP: How to use data to inform funding decisions around media & democracy
Feb. 1, 2022

Candid (formerly Foundation Center and GuideStar)—which provides data-driven tools, educational resources and trainings, analyses, and more to the philanthropic sector—is offering a workshop to help funders learn how to use data maps to inform funding priorities and strategic decision-making. These databases are free, interactive research tools that show the full scope of philanthropically-funded projects.

For this program, we'll focus on two specific maps with relevance to funders of media:

  1. The media grants data map, hosted by Media Impact Funders
  2. The democracy grants data map, hosted by Candid
Learn more and register
This is a funders-only event.
Film funders: Join us for a Sundance follow-up
Feb. 15, 2022
We're not able to have our annual funder meeting in person at Sundance, but we’re eager to make space for you to connect with each other and build in time to reflect on the film festival as a group. What were your favorite films? What did you support and why?

We invite you to share your 2022 priorities, offer your reflections on what you experienced at Sundance, and learn about a new field-building organization called the Color Congress. The organization, seeded through a pooled fund by the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and Perspective Fund, aims to support transformational, mutually supportive work among people of color-led and serving organizations in the nonfiction and documentary field. We’re looking forward to catching up, connecting and sharing this new resource with you. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details.
Learn more and register
This is a funders-only event.
2022 Media Impact Forum
June 1, 2022

We are so excited to announce that our Media Impact Forum will take place on June 1, 2022, at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. (Keeping the health and safety of our network in mind, we’ll switch to an all-virtual format if necessary. But for right now, we’re thrilled to be hosting our annual flagship event at the offices of one of our most valued partners.)

Join us for this annual gathering that brings the latest news and trends in media philanthropy together for an inspiring day of funder discussions, media showcases, flash talks, and more. The Media Impact Forum offers funders the unique opportunity to connect and find common points of entry into the critically important work of supporting media in the public interest.

Learn more and register
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

"Philly DA" offers compelling close-up of criminal justice reform

Last month, Philadelphia’s reform-oriented District Attorney Larry Krasner cruised to a landslide victory in his bid for re-election, consolidating power behind his efforts to remake the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania’s largest city. For anyone interested in understanding how Krasner was able to gain that position and wield the power of that office, we have a remarkable account of his journey in “Philly DA,” an eight-part PBS documentary series. In collaboration with our partners at Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) and the Justice Reform Working Group of Philanthropy New York, Media Impact Funders recently convened an enlightening discussion about the documentary series with one of the filmmakers and a prominent subject of the film series. We also heard from Chi-hui Yang, Senior Program Officer for the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative, who talked about Ford's flexible support for this project, which evolved from a short film to a feature film and then a much longer series with an elaborate community outreach plan designed to promote dialogue and debate in communities nationwide. (See below for a big announcement from Ford). Watch the discussion.

Did you miss it? Watch the 2021 Journalism Funders Gathering

Our annual meeting of journalism funders has come to a close, but we hope our speakers inspired you to meet these challenging times with a sense of innovation and hope. We have a renewed mandate to "get it right": to rebuild journalism that serves all of America's communities. We hope you'll take a few minutes to [re]-listen to what some of our speakers had to say. We'll be continuing these conversations throughout the year through regular check-ins and programming with the Journalism Funders Network. Watch here.

Member Spotlight: Africa No Filter

The prevailing narrative of Africa is that it’s a monolithic continent racked by poverty, disease, conflict, poor leadership and corruption. Africa No Filter (ANF)—a donor collaborative that supports the development of nuanced and contemporary stories that shift harmful narratives within and about Africa—is fed up with the stereotyping. We talked to ANF Executive Director Moky Makura—who was recently named one of Quartz Africa's top innovators—on how fellow funders can get it right when it comes to the multifaceted continent of 54 countries. Read the Q&A.

More MIF members!

We're thrilled to welcome the AL Día FoundationSee our full member list.

News from the Field

  • Congratulations are in order to our colleague Grant Oliphant, who is leaving his post as president of The Heinz Endowments in March 2022 to lead the Conrad Prebys Foundation in San Diego. Over the last eight years under Grant's leadership, the Endowments has championed efforts to build and sustain Pittsburgh's media ecosystem, supporting several news organizations focused on bringing marginalized voices to the table. Last year, the Endowments published a study on media coverage of Pittsburgh’s Black community, finding that the majority of coverage of African Americans focused on crime and sports. Read more about Grant.
  • Mark your calendars for the 2022 frank gathering, happening Feb. 22-25 in Gainesville, Fla. (with remote options, too). A favorite among public interest communicators, frank's theme this year will focus on the role of lived experience in creating lasting social change. MIF will be there, of course. Learn more and register.
  • The Inasmuch Foundation has announced $1.4 million in journalism grants to 16 local and national nonprofit news organizations, including the Oklahoma Media Center, Fort Worth Report, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, Documented, Enlace Latino NC, and more. Learn more.
  • The ABIM Foundation has launched the Misinformation Challenge, a grant program designed to identify and counter misinformation in health care and public health. Learn more.
  • First Draft released a new report, funded by the Rita Allen Foundation, that looks at how vaccine misinformation is affecting Hispanics in the U.S. The report, "A Limiting Lens: How Vaccine Misinformation Has Influenced Hispanic Conversations Online," is aimed at helping journalists, researchers and public health officials who want to understand and potentially act on problematic vaccine narratives as they relate to Hispanic people in the U.S. Read the report.
  • The National Science Foundation is seeking a program director for the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) within the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). Learn more.
  • Last year, a group of 12 funders committed $36 million in general operating support over three years to 10 national Black-led organizations. The Democracy Frontlines Fund, led by the Libra Foundation and Executive Director Crystal Hayling, has released its report analyzing Year 1. Learn more.
  • The documentary film field is getting a major boost from the Ford Foundation, which has announced a $20.29 million investment to support 122 organizations and filmmakers in the United States and Global South. If you're experiencing Sundance in early January (we are!), keep an eye out for these Ford-supported films: "Aftershock," "Free Chol Sol Lee," and "I Didn't See You There." Learn more.
Copyright © 2021 Media Impact Funders, All rights reserved.

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