Announcing the 30 newest Community Network grant winners

The Facebook Journalism Project and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism are pleased to announce 30 additional recipients of Community Network grants. News organizations will use these grants to support projects aimed at building community and new paths to sustainability in local news. Previous winners were announced in July 2019 and September 2019. 

This diverse group of Community Network grantees are creating initiatives that shift the focus from coverage for communities to coverage with communities, enabling greater collaboration between news organizations and those they aim to serve. 

In addition to funding, Community Network grant recipients will be matched with mentors to receive guidance on specific program outcomes, from industry leaders as well as  former or current participants in the Facebook Journalism Project’s Local News Accelerator programs. We are looking forward to providing updates about their work together.

Keep reading for more about each project. Sign up for the Lenfest Institute newsletter to learn more about future grant programs.

Meet the January 2020 Grant Winners

The Advocate, Dallas, TX

Prioritize the stories, needs and interests of Black and Latinx communities in South and West Dallas through community outreach to provide solutions-oriented content for their communities. 

Grant Amount: $25,000

Afro-American Newspapers, Baltimore, MD

Bring together intergenerational groups of Baltimore residents for conversations, supported with archival content, about the impact of women’s suffrage on the legacy of the Black vote and why it matters today.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, AZ

Through events and online resources, strengthen Tucson’s military and Latinx communities by connecting them to each other and to local education options.

Grant Amount: $25,000

The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, AZ

Build a data-driven and audience informed voter guide for underserved groups that is interactive and responsive to their top concerns.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

Involve the community in discussions about climate problems across the local economy through an event series that will shape Daily News coverage. 

Grant Amount: $25,000

Bridge Magazine, Ann Arbor, MI

Strengthen Detroit’s local news landscape by asking residents to identify and define the crucial issues they are most affected by, then distribute published content to a network of local media and community organizations.

Grant Amount: $25,000

CatchLight, San Francisco, CA

Involve San Francisco residents in the creation of visual content for local newsrooms that gives local context to important community issues. 

Grant Amount: $25,000

Enlace Latino NC, Knightdale, NC

Give North Carolina’s Latinx voters access to information about the 2020 U.S. elections through a Spanish-language digital election calendar and town hall community events.

Grant Amount: $18,000

Esperanza, Philadelphia, PA

Prioritize the stories, needs and interests of the North Philadelphia Hispanic community through community outreach and investment in existing partnerships.

Grant Amount: $25,000

The Everyday Projects, Brooklyn, NY

Partner with a local organization to build a visual storytelling toolkit for community members with the goal of fighting stereotypes and misrepresentation, and take control of their visual narrative.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Graham Media Group, Detroit, MI

Empower Detroit residents to work with journalists on a data-gathering “citizen science” community project about plant and tree health across the city.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Greater Greater Washington, Washington, D.C.

Focus on the experiences of residents of Greenleaf Gardens, a Washington, D.C., public housing community under redevelopment, to amplify their voices through in depth reporting in partnership with the organizations that serve them.

Grant Amount: $22,293

KCUR, Kansas City, MO

Give people living outside the Kansas City metro area a voice through a listening project where reporters embed in small-town communities and hold public events, off-the-record listening sessions and discussions.

Grant Amount: $7,400

Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, Anchorage, AK

Humanize urban audiences’ understanding of rural Alaska through a climate desk that publishes multimedia stories from the perspectives of Alaska Natives. 

Grant Amount: $25,000

KPCC’s Human Voter Guide, Los Angeles, CA

Build on existing community-engaged journalism across the KPCC newsroom with in-person events and direct interactions to inform the content for a Human Voter Guide.

Grant Amount: $25,000

La Raza, Chicago, IL

La Raza will celebrate 50 years of participation in Chicago’s Latinx community with a series of listening events to tackle issues and opportunities local Hispanics are facing this election year.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, KY

Uncover important, neighborhood-level issues to inform coverage through a partnership with CivicLex, a local nonprofit civic education organization, and facilitated workshops.

Grant Amount: $18,250

Manchester Ink Link, Manchester, NH

Launch a membership program and citizen journalism bootcamp that places community voices at the heart of coverage.

Grant Amount: $25,000

The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service, Buffalo, NY

Better serve blind and visually-impaired news consumers by creating on-demand broadcasts on additional platforms to serve the community’s growing needs.

Grant Amount: $24,996

Open Campus and The Lens, New Orleans, LA

Spark discussions about how New Orleans colleges can better serve local residents through neighborhood forums and an online guide that gives adults and nontraditional students access to information about higher education.

Grant Amount: $22,000

Palo Alto Online, Palo Alto, CA

Engage with Palo Alto’s Chinese-American residents to better understand how they find and consume information, to then better serve their information needs on our platforms.

Grant Amount: $23,650

PublicSource, Pittsburgh, PA

Create safe and diverse communities through the”Civil Conversations” project to build deeper relationships through moderated discussions and activities addressing difficult topics.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Raleigh Convergence, Raleigh, NC

Create a network of neighborhood contributors who will create community through the New Neighbor program that includes newsletters, events and social groups.

Grant Amount: $19,524

Rivard Report, San Antonio, TX

Facilitate stronger relationships between San Antonio City Council members and constituents in less-affluent districts through direct conversations, partnerships with local organizations and neighborhood events.

Grant Amount: $24,350

The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA

Amplify and elevate the voices of residents living in underserved communities through a partnership that empowers their civic participation and expression.

Grant Amount: $21,000

San Francisco Public Press, San Francisco, CA

Facilitate solutions-based discussions about San Francisco’s housing crisis through a live event series for city leaders and residents.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Second Wave Southwest Michigan, Saginaw, MI

Continue investing in the On the Ground Project through the Community Correspondent Program that gives neighbors the tools they need to tell unique, authentic stories in their own voices.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Planet Detroit, Detroit, MI

Engage with Planet Detroit readers about environmental issues affecting their communities through events, Q&As and coverage that responds to their self-identified needs and concerns.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Washington City Paper, Washington, D.C.

Elevate mothers’ voices through community-driven discussion on maternal health awareness, challenges, and new ideas about treatments.

Grant Amount: $25,000

The Washington Informer, Washington, D.C.

Offer local students who lack access to journalism programs an opportunity to inform and participate in Washington Informer coverage through internships that include video, podcasting and digital writing skills.

Grant Amount: $25,000

September 2019 Grant Winners

Alabama Media Group, Birmingham, AL

Support for Reckon Women, a 2,500-member Facebook group created in response to Alabama’s historic anti-abortion vote. Over the next several months Alabama Media Group will focus on leading civil discussions — in person, partnered with civic-minded community groups, and on social media about issues including abortion, purity culture, maternal mortality and workplace discrimination for group members and all women in the Deep South.

Grant Amount: $25,000

The Baltimore Times, Baltimore, MD

Through the Community Conversations project, The Baltimore Times will act as a convener, bringing together decision-makers, neighbors and new leaders to join forces and move forward together to solve the city’s most pressing issues.

Grant Amount: $25,000

The Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Eagle will tackle the traditional way gun violence is covered in urban areas by hosting community engagement sessions with victims, stakeholders in law enforcement, policymakers and advocates. Through these sessions they aim to challenge the way gun crime is reported — both locally and nationally — and dig deeper into underlying issues. Public reports will detail the process and results.

Grant Amount: $25,000

City Limits, New York, NY

Through the relaunch of Voices of New York, City Limits will bring important local ethnic and community reporting to a wider audience. Articles from news organizations serving mostly immigrant communities in languages including Chinese, Bengali and Spanish will be translated and distributed through a weekly newsletter while local panel discussions will give readers opportunities to meet and engage with these community journalists.

Grant Amount: $20,000

Climate Central, Inc., Princeton, NJ

Climate Central, UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies and Ethnic Media Services will partner to support 10 reporting fellows focused on informing underserved audiences on the hazards of wildfire smoke and connections to climate change. By distributing this work through ethnic media outlets, the partnership hopes to strengthen existing community networks to respond more effectively to these hazards and climate change.

Grant Amount: $23,300

Connecticut Mirror, Hartford, CT

To build trust in underserved communities, CT Mirror will work with community organizations to solicit and publish written opinion and art from emerging artists that capture the impact of public policy in their lives.

Grant Amount: $23,571

CPSA Courier, Flint, MI

The Flint Courier will recruit, train and host weekly editorial meetings with community journalists from the city’s nine wards. These community representatives will work with the editorial team and receive video and podcasting training, empowering them to identify and cover new angles on city’s water crisis.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Daily Freeman-Journal, Webster City, Iowa

Through partnerships, the Freeman Journal will offer visual storytelling and community workshops with the goal of building a team of citizen photojournalists. Community forums will tackle conversations about media literacy, accurate visual representation and role of the media in rural Iowa.

Grant Amount: $10,791

Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY

To build stronger connections between people of color and the newsroom, the Democrat and Chronicle will spend six months in a mobile news space deployed to four locations where audience trust is low. Hearken and Groundsource will be used to help editors and reporters better understand the community’s needs.

Grant Amount: $24,930

Dorsey Media LLC, Pembroke Pines, FL

To address the lack of business journalism accurately reflecting the vibrant Black innovation community, Dorsey Media will host a live summit to expose journalists, economists, researchers and investors to the Black tech ecosystem. This gathering will contextualize new trends, provide useful connection points, share market data, and give experts access to voices from local communities who are leading workforce development, entrepreneurship, and investment in new areas.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Glennoaks Media/QCityMetro, Charlotte, NC

To better understand how to grow and engage with their target audience, QCityMetro will conduct a survey of 500 Black adults in their coverage area to inform content strategy moving forward. All hypotheses will be tracked, tested and analyzed by a project manager.

Grant Amount: $24,968

India Currents Foundation, San Jose, CA

To address a lack of major candidate availability for the Asian-American community, India Currents will partner with Ethnic Media Services to host briefings with 2020 Presidential Democratic candidates and Asian-American elected officials. By expanding ethnic media access to candidates through conversations on key issues, voters from minority communities can make informed choices about who should represent them in the next elections.

Grant Amount: $12,000

The Korea Times, Los Angeles, CA

The Korea Times will launch a family-friendly event series to provide the local community a fun opportunity to connect while sharing in Korean holiday traditions. Events will feature partners and activities designed to engage, connect and build trust within L.A. Koreatown’s multicultural community.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Mendocino News Media, Willits, CA

Create a reader-worker co-op that offers readers a direct vote, and ownership stake in, The Mendocino Voice. A membership coordinator will run a membership drive that includes bi-monthly events.

Grant Amount: $24,440

Morning Call, Allentown, PA

Increase trust in the Morning Call by connecting with our growing and traditionally underserved Hispanic community, of which 24 percent live in poverty. By deploying Hearken, deploying a survey and hosting events we hope to engage the community and learn about their needs, challenges and hopes.

Grant Amount: $15,125

Next City, Newark, NJ

Create a digital solutions journalism webinar series called, “Next Newark” to replicable ideas from urban planning, construction, tech and other civic sectors affecting residents. Each episode will include a moderated Q&A with guest presenters and are projected to earn 40% profit through donations.

Grant Amount: $25,000

The OpEd Project Public Knowledge Fund, Inc., New York, NY


To help elevate opinion journalism as a method to augment a reader’s understanding of issues and events, the OpEd project will hold three community events. At these events, readers will learn the purpose of op-ed writing, learn the basics of op-ed writing and gain a better understanding of the opinion page’s purpose in their local newspapers.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Sahan Journal, St. Paul, MN

Following meetings with Latino immigrant community organizations that serve them, Sahan Journal will conduct listening sessions and events to engage the Latino community in planning editorial focus and determining what digital platforms will be most effective in reaching audiences.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Scalawag, Durham, NC

Continue building revenue through community with live events, online discussions, and digital skillshares that give communities a say in the stories about them. This project will support continued work that celebrates local art, activism and community-driven journalism in three hubs across the South.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Soapbox Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Continue work in our embedded journalism series, On The Ground. On The Ground will implement Groundsource, Open Newsroom and community advisors to reach and engage an underreported neighborhood in creating their own community-driven narrative.

Grant Amount: $18,120

Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, FL

Solicit, train and work with community correspondents to continue coverage of rural counties impacted by Hurricane Michael in 2018. Following community meetings and trainings, our community contributors will be paired with newsroom mentors and editors.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Up Tempo Media, Atlanta, GA

Black Women Unmuted is a new collaboration that aims to bridge the disconnect between black women and the stories told by and about us by writing, editing or producing stories that better reflect and/or elevate coverage about black women.

Grant Amount: $25,000

WHYY, Philadelphia, PA

This grant will support solutions journalism reporting and a community engagement series by the Keystone Crossroads team to produce and distribute in-depth pre-2020 election reporting in four Pennsylvania communities where residents feel underserved by local media.

Grant Amount: $25,000

July 2019 Grant Winners

100 Days in Appalachia

Pilot a network of “context” creators (rather than content creators) to help reporters/editors cover the region with nuance and depth that prevents extractive storytelling, stereotypes and simplistic narratives. Produce toolkit with guidelines on how – and how not to – cover the region for release for the 2020 election year cycle.

Grant Amount: $23,910

Block Club Chicago, Chicago, IL

Create a fellowship to cover and host community gatherings in the underserved Far South Side.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Carolina Public Press, North Carolina

Embed reporters in food banks across North Carolina. Conduct listening sessions with food bank clients, community forums, produce stories and two online toolkits aimed at uncovering root causes and potential solutions to hunger.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Chalkbeat, New York, NY

Conduct a multi-city listening tour combining live events with online surveys to understand gaps in local education information.

Grant Amount: $18,150

Crosstown LA, Los Angeles, CA

Creating new products to scale up data sharing with local newsrooms.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Detour Media LLC, Detroit, MI

Grow membership to 50 percent of monthly revenue through a Community Powered Journalist program that includes citizen journalism trainings, public workshops, community meetings, Q&As and community interaction.

Grant Amount: $24,900

Documented, New York, NY

Create a database sourced through public records that identifies New York companies guilty of wage theft and distribute this information to consumers.

Grant Amount: $17,150

EducationNC, Raleigh, NC

Launch a six-month effort to build community and audience among students at North Carolina’s 58 community colleges through a series of town halls.

Grant Amount: $25,000

High Ground News, Memphis, TN

Expanding coverage of Memphis neighborhoods to include community contributors by providing residents with tools, training, mentorship and editing support from an assigned mentor and the news team.

Grant Amount: $20,000

Injustice Watch, Chicago, IL

Partner with community organizations and newsrooms to create a series of events called, “Know the System,” that will include panel discussions on various aspects of the criminal justice system.

Grant Amount: $22,000

Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA

Fund community forums and provide copies of monthly book selections to nonprofits and others in conjunction with the new Los Angeles Times Book Club.

Grant Amount: $24,000

Mississippi Today, MS

Expand our Mississippi expatriates efforts with events in nearby states, a monthly newsletter and an expat Facebook group.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Native American Journalists Association, Norman, OK

NAJA’s goal is to increase the Indigenous voice in newsrooms from 0.2 percent to 2 percent within the next 10 years by targeting Indigenous student journalists with specialized training and mentorship.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Newsday, Long Island, NY

Pilot an obituary outreach program to tell the stories of Long Island residents currently underrepresented in media coverage.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Nevada Public Radio, Las Vegas, NV

Collaborative reporting project focused on acute issues of rural healthcare access in Tonopah, Nevada

Grant Amount: $24,782

Omaha Star, Omaha, NE

Tackle responsible neighborhood development and gentrification in one of Omaha’s historically underserved communities through collaboration with neighborhood associations and deep reporting. The process will become a template for neighborhood leaders.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Outlier Media, Detroit, MI

Develop and test watchdog journalism products that can have value to both lower and middle income news consumers and share that research with newsrooms.

Grant Amount: $24,000

Radio Ambulante, New York, NY

Develop and open source a platform for Listening Clubs, an engagement model for podcast listeners to organize independent gatherings based on audio journalism.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, UT

Coordinate, analyze and report on a never-before conducted poll of Utah women where they face the nation’s widest wage gap. Host focus groups for targeted populations, including women of color, LGBT, youth and New Americans.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Spaceship Media, San Francisco, CA

Partner with the local library for “On the Fence,” a conversation series aimed at building trust, connection and civic engagement in Douglas, Arizona, where a new port of entry has polarized and divided the community.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Texas Tribune, Austin, TX

Increase audience diversification, newsletter acquisition and involvement in the next election cycle by targeting people new to Texas and/or Texas politics through an “onboarding Texans” email campaign.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Tyler Loop, Tyler, TX

Expand successful storytelling events to promote diverse and fresh perspectives while building audience, increasing memberships and adding sponsorships.

Grant Amount: $10,000

WURD Radio, Philadelphia, PA

Creation of community-sourced “WURD Show On The Go,” a new initiative rooted in community engagement and local news generation.


Grant Amount: $25,000

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