The Lenfest Next Generation Fund

The Lenfest Next Generation Fund supports professional development opportunities for Philadelphia-area journalists and students of color.

Created in 2019, the Lenfest Next Generation Fund aims to increase BIPOC representation in journalism by covering attendance costs for the national professional development conference of the awardee’s choice. After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program evolved to also cover costs of professional equipment and support journalists participating in unpaid internships. 

In 2022, the Lenfest Next Generation Fund has two tracks: 

  • The Professional Development Track provides awards of up to $1,200 to support either attendance of a professional development activity of an awardee’s choice or the purchase of equipment used for professional purposes.
  • The Internship Support Track provides funding up to $4,200 to support students and journalists while participating in unpaid internships.

Recognizing that in-person networking events provide a stronger chance for journalists and students to create opportunities to grow professionally, The Lenfest Institute increased the awards this year to make these opportunities accessible and to ensure that students of color can pursue meaningful internships without worrying about financial support.

The 2022 Lenfest Next Generation Award Winners

  • Marina Affo, Investigative Reporter, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Melissa Beatriz, Documentary Filmmaker and Co-Founder, ¡Presente! Media
  • Sharron Cooks, Owner and CEO, Making Our Lives Easier LLC
  • Keyssh Datts, Student Journalist at Community College of Philadelphia
  • Ellis Camari, Chief Tax Problem Solver, Philly Tax Team & Host, “The Finance Rebel Show” / “The Daily Number Podcast”
  • Shaynah Ferreira, Anchor and Reporter, FOX 29
  • Melissa Hellmann, Investigative Journalist, The Center for Public Integrity
  • Malcolm Johnson, Producer, FOX 29
  • Jeffrey Jones, Host, “Community Voice Radio Talk Show”
  • Maria Mitri, Student Journalist at American University
  • Juliana Feliciano Reyes, Reporter, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Lauren Settles, Entertainment Reporter, “We Talk Weekly’s After The Talk” and Master’s Student, Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication 
  • Melissa Simpson, Audience Engagement Editor, Next City
  • Theresa Spencer, Director of Communications, American Heart Association
  • Zari Tarazona, Editor, Kensington Voice
  • Solmaira Valerio, Multimedia Reporter and Resilience Editor, Kensington Voice

Previous Lenfest Next Generation Award winners