This year’s agenda will feature discussions on new initiatives in the field, innovative funding models, efforts to build and sustain media equity, and more.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Special Musical Opening

9:00 am  to  9:25 am

We’ll open with a special musical performance with pianist Michelle Cann, a champion of the music of classical composer Florence Price.

General Manager
Executive Director
Media Impact Funders

Welcome & Overview

9:25 am  to  9:30 am

David Rousseau, Chair of the Board of Directors of Media Impact Funders, will outline our objectives for the 2022 Journalism Funders Gathering.

Vice President, Media and Technology, Kaiser Family Foundation; Media Impact Funders Board Chair

20 Years of Journalism Funders in Community and Connection

9:30 am  to  9:55 am

We’ve come a long way since 2002, when a handful of journalism funders got together to compare notes about the most pressing issues facing journalism and how funders could address them. In this session, we’ll explore this network’s origin story—where it started, what was happening in the field of journalism funding 20 years ago, what the network is now, and what it hopes to accomplish in the future.

Founder and former director
Renaissance Journalism
Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Writer and Media Consultant
Executive Director
Media Impact Funders

The Local News Landscape Explained

9:55 am  to  10:10 am

America’s local news landscape has been shaped by massive technological and economic shifts over the last two decades, and understanding what’s working and where the gaps and opportunities exist will help us support more impactful solutions. In this session, Nancy Gibbs, Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, will offer a sweeping overview of the current local news landscape, providing important context for the discussions that follow.

Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Replanting Local News: A Few Significant Initiatives

10:10 am  to  10:40 am

Several initiatives of note are making progress against the challenges of local news.

Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
CEO and Co-Founder
National Trust for Local News
The Baltimore Banner
CEO, Online News Association; Vice Chair, American Journalism Project

Spotlight on Science and Health Mis/Disinformation

10:40 am  to  10:50 am

Internist, infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist Céline Gounder, an editor at Kaiser Health News, will share details about Kaiser Health News’ strategies to address health misinformation and disinformation.

Senior Fellow and Editor-at-Large for Public Health
Kaiser Health News

Concurrent Sessions

11:00 am  to  12:00 pm

Choose between three breakout sessions:

  • Taking the long view: Reflections of 20 years of journalism grantmaking and a look ahead at future funding. Learn about new strategic shifts from fellow funders.
    (Location: Freedom Classroom)
    Facilitator: Jennifer Preston, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • Going deeper on local journalism
    (Location: John C. Bogle Chairman’s Room)
    Facilitator: Taryn Fort, Colorado Health Foundation
  • Strategies to fight health and science misinformation and disinformation
    (Location: Private Dining Room)
    Facilitator: Kaitlin Yarnall, National Geographic Society

Networking Lunch

12:00 pm  to  1:00 pm

Grab a bite to eat and connect with the friends and colleagues you haven’t seen in a while in the Grand Hall Overlook and Rooftop Terrace.

A Brief Update on the Latest Efforts to Subsidize Local Journalism

1:15 pm  to  1:30 pm

Steve Waldman, Co-Founder and President of Report for America and Founder and Chair of the Rebuild Local News Coalition, will share latest developments on federal and state government efforts to help local news.

President & Co-Founder, Report for America; Founder and Chair of Rebuild Local News Coalition

A Few Words on Word in Black with Andrew Ramsammy

1:30 pm  to  1:45 pm

Founded in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, Word in Black is a new digital national newsroom powered by a collaboration of the nation’s leading Black publishers. Andrew Ramsammy, Chief Content and Collaboration Officer at the Local Media Association, will share details about Word in Black’s mission to confront inequities, elevate solutions, and amplify the Black experience.

Chief Content and Collaboration Officer
Local Media Association

The Nuts and Bolts of Media Grantmaking

1:45 pm  to  2:30 pm

In this series of short talks, funders will hear best practices on a few important aspects of media grantmaking:

  • Making sense of our media grants: A case study from the William Penn Foundation
  • Is landscape research right for you?
  • Best practices for supporting journalism with an equity lens
Executive Director
William Penn Foundation
Vice President for Marketing & Communications
Delaware Community Foundation
Senior Associate, Public Square
Democracy Fund

Networking Break

2:30 pm  to  3:00 pm

Enjoy some open time to chat with colleagues, catch up on email, or just take a minute for yourself and grab a snack.

Establishing New Power Dynamics in Nonprofit News and Philanthropy

3:00 pm  to  3:45 pm

This session—moderated by The 19th’s Editor-at-Large Errin Haines—will explore how funders can approach their relationships with nonprofit news organizations to achieve long-term sustainability. We’ll hear a few compelling approaches from media organizations whose trust-based relationships with funders have produced successful outcomes.

President and Co-Publisher/Lead
The Chicago Reader and Chicago Independent Media Alliance
Associate Director, Public Square
Democracy Fund
The 19th News
The Pivot Fund

Journalism as a Driver for Civic Engagement

3:45 pm  to  4:30 pm

This session will highlight two new collaborative initiatives working to elevate civic engagement and dialogue on the local level. Last year, Hearken launched the Democracy SOS program to serve 20 newsrooms investing in long-term change to their civic reporting. And the Lenfest Institute for Journalism recently launched a comprehensive effort in Philadelphia to catalyze broad community engagement ahead of the city’s 2023 mayoral election. The 19th’s Editor-at-Large Errin Haines will moderate.

The 19th News
Special Projects Editor
WITF Radio Station
Program Director
The Lenfest Institute

Special Musical Closing

4:30 pm  to  5:00 pm

Special Musical Performance featuring Anthony Tidd and Sanity With Spoken Word Artist Ursula Rucker

Editorial Director
Composer, producer, audio engineer, educator and musician

Cocktail Reception

5:00 pm  to  6:15 pm

Grab a bite, a drink, and network with your colleagues against the backdrop of the U.S. Constitution in the Delegates Cafe.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Welcome Back to JFunders22!

9:00 am  to  9:05 am
Executive Director
Media Impact Funders

A Lesson from the Dean

9:05 am  to  9:35 am

We’ll hear from Jelani Cobb, Staff Writer for The New Yorker and Dean of the Columbia Journalism School.

Dean, Columbia Journalism School;
Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism

Unpacking the Abortion Narrative with Rewire and "Battleground"

9:35 am  to  10:05 am

In this session moderated by MIF Communications Director Nina Sachdev, we’ll explore how media—and the funders who support it—tells the story of abortion, a polarizing topic that’s only gotten more controversial since the repeal of Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court ruling that protected a woman’s right to choose for nearly 50 years.

President and Editor in Chief
Rewire News Group
Communications Director
Media Impact Funders
Documentary Filmmaker & Co-Producer

Spotlight on Science Journalism with Maya Ajmera

10:05 am  to  10:20 am

We’ll hear from Maya Ajmera, publisher of Science News, on the relationship between science and democracy, and the importance of supporting science journalism to keep citizens informed on issues that are central to our shared civic infrastructure.

President and CEO & Publisher
Society for Science & Science News

Approaching Journalism in and with Community

10:20 am  to  11:00 am

Media organizations such as Documented, Love Now Media, and Black Voice News are transforming relationships with communities. Moderated by WHYY News Director Sarah Glover, this session will explore how we can reimagine the future of journalism.

Black Voice News
Founder, Executive Producer & Publisher
Love Now Media
Vice President, News and Civic Dialogue
Co-Executive Director


11:00 am  to  11:15 am

Enjoy some open time to chat with colleagues, catch up on email, or just take a minute for yourself and grab a drink.

Concurrent Sessions

11:15 am  to  12:15 pm

Choose between three concurrent sessions:

  • (For grantmakers only) Experienced Grantmakers: Collaborations and balancing newsrooms and infrastructure (Location: Freedom Classroom)
    Facilitator: Melissa Milios Davis, Gates Family Foundation
  • International Journalism: Reflections from reporting on Ukraine and strategies to support grantees beyond grantmaking
    (Location: Private Dining Room)
    Co-facilitators: Liz Baker, Humanity United; Alex Jakana, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 
  • Local News: Deep dives into local news funds and community news funds
    (Location: John C. Bogle Chairman’s Room)
    Facilitator: Vince Stehle, Media Impact Funders

Networking Lunch

12:30 pm  to  1:30 pm

Grab a bite to eat and connect with the friends and colleagues you haven’t seen in a while in the Grand Hall Overlook and Rooftop Terrace.

An Eye Toward the Future

1:45 pm  to  2:45 pm

After two days of talks, discussions and plenaries, where do we go from here? How does everything we know and learned inform how we adapt and change for the future? Jim Brady, VP/Journalism at Knight Foundation, will lead this closing discussion with a group of key leaders from the field.

Vice President of Journalism
Knight Foundation

Closing Remarks

2:45 pm  to  3:00 pm
Chief External Affairs Officer
Joyce Foundation

Tour and Discussion at WHYY

3:15 pm  to  4:30 pm

Join colleagues for a tour of WHYY, a leading public media organizations in the Philadelphia region.

Meet at the information desk on the first floor of the National Constitution Center at 3:15 p.m. for the tour.

Sign up for this tour by emailing Courtney Eshleman, MIF’s Director of Development and Member Engagement, at

Please note: Proof of vaccination and masks are required to attend this tour.