Announcing the launch of the Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative

The program will provide grants to for-profit and nonprofit news organizations to help address their unique sustainability needs or provide core operating support

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is today launching the Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative. This two-year, $2 million grant program will provide core operating support and capacity-building funding to nonprofit and for-profit local news organizations in the Philadelphia region. 

The Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative will award up to 16 grants to for-profit and nonprofit local news organizations with operating revenue budgets between $500,000 – $5 million. Organizations with revenue or operating budgets outside of this range will be considered case-by-case. The Initiative will award up to 16 grants: 8 two-year grants of up to $100,000 and 8 two-year grants of up to $150,000. The Lenfest Institute will actively engage with our Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative grantees to share expertise from our local and national partners as well as lessons learned from among this group with the broader community.   

The Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative will provide critical business resources to be used to assist with an organization’s primary sustainability functions such as digital transformation, implementation of new revenue activities, customer and community engagement plans, or expansion of mission-critical staffing. Our nonprofit media partners are also eligible to apply for core operating support to use in support of their mission and to cover overhead expenses such as rent, salaries, equipment, and other day-to-day costs provided that these investments are tied tangibly to measurable business and sustainability goals.  

Applications are now open. The deadline for eligible organizations to apply is September 15 at 11:59 p.m. 

The Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative is the latest step in The Lenfest Institute’s investment in local news organizations in Philadelphia, the birthplace American democracy. Our goal is to support sustainable local journalism in service of our democracy and to help build a more transparent, connected, and equitable Philadelphia by linking residents to their neighbors, to news organizations, and to information resources that allow them to flourish.  

In recent years, through programs such as the Lenfest Next Generation Fund, The Lenfest Constellation News Leadership Initiative, and The Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange, the Institute has focused on expanding our efforts to support communities of color in the leadership and ownership of news and media organizations. 

Most recently, with support from the William Penn Foundation, the Knight Foundation, Comcast, the Wyncote Foundation, and several individual donors, the Institute organized Every Voice, Every Vote, a citywide coalition of community groups and media organizations to elevate Philadelphia’s diverse voices, inform voters, and promote civic action around the 2023 City of Philadelphia elections. This effort included an investment of more than $1.5 million in grant support to a coalition of 63 media and community partner organizations that collectively produced more than 400 news reports, 70 public forums & community events and 20 voter guides, reaching every neighborhood in Philadelphia in the 13 most-spoken languages in the region.  

These programs provide financial support and business strategies on audience development, diversified revenue, the use of new technologies, and fundraising opportunities. We have designed the Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative to support our partners in the Philadelphia news ecosystem as they address their unique sustainability needs and work to best serve their communities. 

To apply for the Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative, please click here and create an account. An administrator will validate your account via email and send you a link to create your password for your grantee account. After your password is set and your account is created, you will be brought to the grantee portal, where you will see a set of two applications. If you are a for-profit media organization, please select, “Business Sustainability Application,” and nonprofit applicants can select, “Core Operating Application” or “Business Sustainability Application.”    

Local News Solutions

The Lenfest Institute provides free tools and resources for local journalism leaders to develop sustainable strategies to serve their communities.

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