The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation, has issued a Request for Proposals for a new pilot grant program to help increase quality local journalism.
The $900,000 Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund is designed to strengthen local coverage through a mix of different projects and approaches designed to help journalists engage community residents in the reporting process. In addition, the fund will support the digital transformation of local news organizations by supporting journalism innovation and new digital tools, and will host regular workshops and convenings of media partners and the journalism community in Detroit.
The focus of the pilot grantmaking effort is to reinforce robust investigative journalism and beat reporting in the region with a focus on equity for people across the city and region; explore the role of ethnic media and small-scale media partners; encourage media outlets to tap into the strengths and resources already present in the region; evaluate the quality and community value of news; and support new and innovative collaborations that increase resources for reporting.
It is anticipated that $220,000 will be granted in the pilot round.
To be eligible, applicants must be a media-specific organization or a community organization that is proposing to do this work in collaboration with a media partner. Members of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative are eligible to apply if it is for a project not already receiving Knight or Ford foundation support, and if the project is being done in collaboration with a community partner that is not a member of the cooperative.
Applicants must be located in and/or serve southeast Michigan, with a preference for those focused on the city of Detroit. Applicants also must be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations or organizations with a strong fiscal sponsor.
For complete program guidelines and application instructions, see the CFSM website.