The Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund at Borealis Philanthropy has awarded $3.6 million in grants to 28 news organizations serving communities of color across the country.
The Atlanta Voice is a recipient of a grant from the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund for the second straight year.
“Anyone who is living through the COVID pandemic, the continuing acts of police violence throughout America, especially against people of color, and the 2020 elections—deeply understands the need for accurate, relevant news, and frankly how dangerous it is when stories are misreported or left out altogether,” said longtime journalist and REJ advisory board member Raju Narisetti. “Now more than ever: we need public affairs news to help inform and support full civic participation in our democracy and bring about long-term systemic change.”
According to a release, Communities with the least access to relevant public affairs news—people of color, immigrants, people from low-income, rural, and urban communities, and others—are also most likely to be left out of policy creation and civic processes. This is the moment to support news organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
“Philanthropy is past due in supporting the bold leadership of nonprofit journalism. To be clear – we can’t afford to scale inequality by only funding news organizations serving predominantly white Americans at scale. We must scale people of color serving organizations as well,” said Farai Chideya, Program Officer, Creativity and Free Expression, Journalism at the Ford Foundation, a lead REJ Fund donor. “People-of-color-serving media has always been a critical source for community information. If we want to build an equitable and inclusive future, we must fund diverse and trusted media, now and into the future. Ford is proud to be increasing our investment in this work, pledging $6 million over the next three years.”
This year’s grantee cohort serves audiences who have all been historically underserved by mainstream media: Black, Native, and Latinx people, immigrants, refugees, rural communities, and poor and low-income people. Grantees represent a wide range of geographic areas throughout the country, including communities in Charlotte, Flint, Houston, Memphis, Minneapolis, and Seattle. They include several outlets that cover local media and outlets in news desert, which have been a lifeline for communities during the pandemic.