In October, the Rochester Beacon will complete its fifth year of publication. What began in 2018 with a handful of volunteer staffers has become an outlet that thousands of readers rely on—an independent, nonprofit source of local news and fact-based commentary.
Last year, the Beacon took an important next step toward long-term sustainability: launching the Beacon Community News Fund campaign. The initiative focused on raising funds to start building a small core staff of full-time journalists.
Next week, the second annual Beacon Community News Fund campaign will begin. Slated to run June 1-16, the campaign this year will have an even sharper focus: a goal of creating an endowment to hire the Beacon’s first fulltime reporter.
Unlike NewsMatch, the annual campaign in November and December that for the last four years has been the single largest source of funds for general operations, the Beacon Community News Fund is devoted solely to raising money to pay editorial staffers. While NewsMatch is limited to donations from individuals, the Beacon Community News Fund will accept financial contributions from businesses and local foundations as well.
And while NewsMatch is a national campaign that provides matching dollars from major U.S. foundations, the Beacon Community News Fund is strictly community-based.
“With the decline of for-profit media, nonprofit startups like the Beacon have become a vital source of quality local journalism,” Executive Editor Paul Ericson says. “To become an enduring community resource, we need a core group of professional reporters and editors to work with our dedicated contributing writers. We believe creating an endowment is the best way to achieve this goal.”
“Our readers’ willingness to invest in our work underscores the value of independent journalism. Their generosity allows us to spark meaningful conversations, include diverse perspectives and shed light on our community’s challenges with an eye toward solutions,” Managing Editor Smriti Jacob says.
The Beacon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so donations are fully deductible. Starting June 1, donations can be made here.