The Lenfest Institute for Journalism announces 17 inaugural Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative grantees

$2 million over two years will be invested in Philadelphia-based news organizations to help achieve long-term sustainability

November 14, 2023

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

The Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative supports established Philadelphia-area news organizations with approximate annual revenue between $500,000 and $5 million. The grantees were selected from a pool who responded to an open call for applications.  

Each grant is intended to help address the specific sustainability needs of a news organization serving a key Philadelphia community. Funding focuses on notable sustainability drivers such as new revenue strategies, reaching new audiences, and the digital transformation of legacy news organizations.  

The inaugural grantees are:  

  • African Cultural Alliance of North America – $100,000 to foster greater representation in local and mainstream media coverage and expand revenue and audience growth.  
  • Billy Penn (WHYY) – $100,000 for the broadening of audience engagement and reader revenue.   
  • Chestnut Hill Local – $100,000 for the hiring of a business growth officer focused on developing new products and identifying new revenue streams. 
  • Civic Capital Consulting / Generocity – $100,000 for the hiring of a fulltime journalist and a community narratives editor to expand Generocity’s journalism and community engagement throughout the five-county region.  
  • FunTimes Magazine – $100,000 for the hiring of a Community Navigator to spearhead outreach programs and amplify African and Caribbean Diaspora community voices in service of new audience engagement and new revenue. 
  • Kensington Voice – $100,000 to help generate new financial support by addressing news, information, and equity gaps through the expansion of community-centered reporting in North Philadelphia. 
  • Love Now Media – $100,000 to support the hiring of a managing director responsible for streamlining processes, relationship management, and facilitating public programs that offer increased community journalism, storytelling workshops, training, and potential new revenue.  
  • Newspaper Media Group – $100,000 for investment in digital innovation, increased language translation services to appeal to diverse audiences, and the testing of new reader revenue strategies.   
  • Esperanza – $150,000 to strengthen and streamline operations, integrate new technologies, and continue to enhance digital presence to attract and retain a new generation of readers and financial supporters. 
  • Philadelphia Gay News – $100,000 to make significant investments in future sustainability through digital transformation, the addition of new operations and journalism staff, and the addition of a multimedia news component.  
  • PhillyCAM – $100,000 to support enhanced engagement activities, raise awareness, grow trust, and build community through the creation of satellite locations and media partnerships in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. 
  • Schneps Media – Metro Philadelphia – $150,000 for in-depth investigative reporting focused on the Philadelphia housing crisis and an increased investment in staffing and digital outreach efforts with a heightened focus on social media, video, and podcasts. 
  • Technically Media – $150,000 for investments in an array of new business and information tools and services: A tech workforce data dashboard, audience analytics tools, a guide to ethically using generative artificial intelligence in local newsrooms, a reader advisory panel, and support for the addition of a social media engagement manager. 
  • The Philadelphia Citizen – $100,000 to significantly increase social media outreach and other data-gathering activities; hiring a part-time social media associate, intern, and video editor, and capital investments in equipment, each designed to improve revenue potential and sustainability 
  • The Philadelphia Tribune – $150,000 to hire a marketing director and investigative reporter, each a driver of new digital subscriptions and funding. 
  • Trace Media Inc. – $150,000 to expand the Trace Philadelphia bureau to expand fundraising plans and enhance resources available for coverage of gun violence to assist local media to improve reporting of this critical issue affecting the lives of Philadelphians.  
  • WURD Radio – $150,000 for the hiring of a key executive leader focused on revenue and responsible for spearheading the development of a comprehensive news strategy, which will align with WURD’s broader event, marketing, and digital initiatives. 

Each Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative grantee will be invited to participate in quarterly meetings with other grantees designed to allow for the exchange of learnings, successes, and challenges. The Lenfest Institute will use these meetings as an opportunity to share expertise with Initiative grantees from our local and national partners and highlight lessons learned from this group with the broader community.    

The Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative is The Lenfest Institute’s latest investment in local news organizations in Philadelphia. The Institute’s work supports sustainable solutions for the next era of local journalism. Our goal is to help build a more transparent, connected, and equitable Philadelphia by linking residents to their neighbors, to news organizations, and to information resources help them to flourish.   

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