MLK50 Justice Through Journalism Receives Grant from the Ford Foundation

Thursday, January 26, 2023

MLK50 Justice Through Journalism Receives Grant from the Ford Foundation

MLK50: Justice Through Journalism announced today that it has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Ford Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression team. 

The investment will be used to strengthen the digital news operation’s fundraising capacity and to ensure that even more community-focused, investigative reporting is available to residents for free. The grant award is the largest philanthropic gift to MLK50 since it was founded five years ago.  

“It’s hard to overstate the impact a grant of this size will have on MLK50,” said Wendi C. Thomas, the organization’s founder. “Few Black-led newsrooms have any sort of financial runway, which restricts the impact they can have in communities that need high-caliber journalism the most.

“Having this degree of financial visibility will strengthen our ability to do liberatory journalism in a state where public policy is not designed to improve the quality of life for workers, low-wealth residents, women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and others,” she said. 

In addition to covering the costs of growth, the Ford Foundation’s support will allow MLK50 to build the operations infrastructure to facilitate more and better accountability journalism.

“MLK50 deliberately and unapologetically tackles the ills of society that were called out by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King: war, racism and poverty with an emphasis on poverty,” said Lolly Bowean,  program officer for Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation. 

“The reporting elevates the voices of residents that have been historically overlooked and sometimes dismissed by the mainstream media and centers the issues that most concern them. In delivering journalism that reveals the systemic causes of poverty, inequity and strife, MLK50 pushes leaders, decision-makers and even well-meaning citizens to reckon with the structures that we allow to oppress. 

“The work of MLK50 is aligned with Ford’s social justice mission, in part, because they are broadening the narrative around poverty and conducting deep investigative reporting with a goal of true equity. Ultimately, we need and want this newsroom to thrive in the long term. We are proud to make this substantial and considerable commitment so that the organization can build an even more firm foundation...

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