Foundation grants boost Beacon funding

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The Rochester Beacon has made significant progress toward a key financial goal: increasing institutional support for its nonprofit mission.

The ESL Charitable Foundation has approved the Beacon’s $30,000 grant request for Community Chronicles: A Solutions-Based Storytelling Project. The project is designed address the challenge of strengthening communities. In collaboration with ESL’s Community Impact team, the Beacon will harness the potential of solution-based storytelling to “bridge divides, inspire collective action, and foster a sense of belonging” in Rochester.

In addition, the William & Sheila Konar Foundation has awarded the Rochester Beacon a $25,000 grant for general operating expenses with the goal of increasing its coverage—with a particular focus on health care and education—in 2024.

The local funding comes in addition to another round of matching money from a group of national funders including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. As a result of its successful NewsMatch campaign in the last two months of 2023, the Beacon received $18,110 in national matching funds.

NewsMatch, the nation’s largest grassroots fundraising campaign for nonprofit news, runs annually from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. In 2023, the Beacon raised nearly $25,000 from individual contributors—$5,000 more than its goal. It marked the fifth year in a row the Beacon surpassed its NewsMatch goal, and the second straight year it raised almost $25,000 from contributors.

Launched eight years ago, NewsMatch has been backed by a consortium of funders and supported through the Fund for Nonprofit News, an open collaborative fund at the Miami Foundation, which oversees the fiscal administration of NewsMatch funds. The campaign is managed by the Institute for Nonprofit News, a nationwide network of more than 400 independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. In 2023, 340 newsrooms participated in NewsMatch, up 12 percent compared to 2022 and triple the number of newsrooms that participated in 2017.

For the 2023 campaign, the Glover Crask Charitable Trust agreed to match $10,000 of the funds raised by the Beacon. Together, the individual donations, national matching funds and Glover Crask grant bring more than $50,000 in fresh funding to the Beacon.

“We are immensely grateful for the support from the ESL Charitable Foundation, the William & Sheila Konar Foundation, and our other partners,” says Alex Zapesochny, publisher of the Rochester Beacon. “Their generosity significantly boosts our ability to provide in-depth coverage and serve the Rochester community more effectively.”

“Nonprofit local journalism needs strong financial support from individual donors and we are grateful that nearly 180 people contributed to the Beacon during NewsMatch—up from 130 the year before,” says Executive Editor Paul Ericson. “But for sustainable growth, the support of community-based institutional funders like foundations and charitable trusts also is incredibly important.

“With this new funding,” he adds, “we can continue to deliver in-depth news coverage and commentary that’s free to read—and also significantly expand the in-depth journalism our readers have come to expect since the Beacon launched in October 2018.”

The Beacon welcomes financial contributions from individuals throughout the year. To do so securely online, go to: Donate to Support Our Work. For foundations and other institutions, more information about the Beacon and its nonprofit mission is available upon request.

The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

2 thoughts on “Foundation grants boost Beacon funding

  1. Congratulations for being recognized and financially supported for your excellent journalism. Your articled, stories and commentary are extremely appreciated. Thank you Rochester Beacon staff!,!

  2. Good news about the obtaining of funds from various sources to carry out the mission of the Beacon to provide solution focused news reports about local newsworthy activities in the Rochester, NY region. Disseminating information to local audiences contributes to a more cohesive and better informed community enhancing the quality of life of its inhabitants. Good journalism is a glue which binds us together and makes us more viable as a community. The idea that this function can be well served by profit making entities whose main purpose is to make money for their stockholders and owners turns journalism unfortunately into an entertainment rather than an educational enterprise. The fact that The Rochester Beacon is non profit allows it to focus better on its main purpose which is serving the community rather than owners. It would seem and it is hoped that with this increasing support, the Beacon will not only survive but thrive in years to come.

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