Established in October 2021, Borealis Philanthropy’s Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund proudly builds and nourishes the capacity and sustainability of news organizations and journalism ecosystem partners led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), in pursuit of a future where communities of color are powerful as a result of the cultural change created from thriving BIPOC journalism. This month, the REJ Fund announced awards of $4.9 million to 38 organizations, as well as $225,000 in research project grants, representing its largest annual grantmaking budget to date.
The REJ Fund’s grantmaking aims to ensure Black, Indigenous, Latine, and Asian people have access to the news and information they need to navigate today’s geographies and social systems. By supporting BIPOC media, the Fund also bolsters journalism that investigates the players and institutions that harm communities, and champions direct representation in stories and solutions uplifted across all media landscapes.
“Overarchingly, this work is about how we repair and restore our futures and the media that co-creates the future. It’s about how we build a media ecosystem where a just society is possible, a media ecosystem that is serving a pluralism of people that can thrive.”
– REJ Program Director, Alicia Bell
Accordingly, the REJ Fund prioritizes funding for independent, BIPOC-owned, -led, and -serving media; organizations with budgets under $2 million, with less access to national funding; and those reaching people of color with content and/or programming that strengthens civil discourse and participation.
In recognition of the value of multi-year grants, the Fund prioritized renewal for its 28 existing grantees:
- Amsterdam News
- Buffalo’s Fire
- Cicero Independiente
- El Informador
- El Tecolote
- Enlace Latino NC
- Flint Beat
- Georgia Asian Times
- Houston Defender
- Hylo News
- Indian Country Today
- International Examiner
- Jackson Advocate
- La Noticia
- Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
- MIWISCONSIN Media Inc
- MLK50: Justice Through Journalism
- QCity Metro
- Sahan Journal
- South Seattle Emerald
- St. Louis American
- The Atlanta Voice
- The TRiiBE
As it seeks to articulate a clear thread between BIPOC journalism and the power and participation it enlivens in their communities, the REJ Fund has begun to incorporate community power building and civic participation as key pillars in its work. This year’s awards incorporate a new thread of investment in “Field Building” organizations, to answer questions like: What does it take to support journalists who become journalism organizers? What could be possible if organizations in the interstitial space between journalism and civic participation were well-resourced?
This year, the REJ Fund is excited to welcome 11 new grantees, including several Field Building organizations:
Finally, the Fund distributed two research and learning grants to support both the archiving and future of Black journalism.
The Racial Equity in Journalism Fund was created to fill a gap and meet a need. As one of the only funds explicitly investing in BIPOC journalism, the size of the gap remains far larger than our capacity. To learn more about how to join us in harvesting the future of reparative and regenerative journalism, please contact REJ@borealisphilanthropy.org.