Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

January 18, 2010

A new model for nonprofit journalism

By Todd Cohen

I am delighted to report that the Philanthropy Journal has become a program of the Institute for Nonprofits at N.C. State University in Raleigh.

At a time of huge financial and operating challenges for the nonprofit sector, the move will expand the services the Journal and the Institute provide to the nonprofit sector.

The Journal, which will be self-sufficient and not supported by state funds, will be able to “tap into scholarship on the nonprofit sector, reach new audiences and provide more news and resources for readers,” says Mary Tschirhart, the Institute’s director. “This furthers the Institute’s mission of developing current and future nonprofit leaders.”

And the Institute will be able to reach more nonprofits needing the expertise and services available at N.C. State.

The Institute will receive multi-year gifts from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation in Raleigh and the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust in Chapel Hill to support the Journal.

Dedicated to research, education and engagement involving the nonprofit sector, and to collaboration with nonprofit partners to address community needs, the Institute was formed in 2003 with a $1 million grant from the Fletcher Foundation.

As part of one of the top land-grant universities in the U.S., the Institute works to connect with the nonprofit community and put the resources of the university to work to enhance nonprofits’ capacity and leadership.

Those resources include the expertise and commitment of faculty, students, staff and community partners.

The Institute also serves as a center of expertise, generates knowledge and hosts a collaborative and diverse community of scholars, all aiming to better serve nonprofits.

As a program of the Institute, the Journal will continue to publish, on our website and in our email newsletters, the news and resource articles our readers count on.

The Journal also will continue to sponsor monthly online webinars on topics such as management, leadership, fundraising, giving, marketing and communications.

And we will continue our series of lunch ‘n’ learn workshops on those topics throughout North Carolina.

The only change for the Journal will be our ability to make our products and services even better.

The Fletcher Foundation for the past 10 years has provided a home and significant operating support for the Journal, which was launched in 1993 by The News and Observer Foundation as a monthly print publication.

The Journal was the first statewide newspaper in the U.S. dedicated to reporting on nonprofits.

“The future of our communities depends on healthy nonprofits,” says Barbara Goodmon, president of the Fletcher Foundation. “The Institute and the Journal are on the cutting edge of efforts to help nonprofits become more efficient and effective, and to develop research and raise awareness about the important role nonprofits play in social change.”

The Journal, which I created and will continue to edit, grew out of a weekly column on philanthropy I began writing in 1991 as business editor of The News & Observer, the daily newspaper in Raleigh.

Today, the nonprofit sector and news business both face unprecedented challenges.

Nonprofits are a critical, yet underappreciated, social and economic force, and they are struggling in the economic recession to more effectively meet the growing and increasingly urgent needs of our communities.

And the news business as we have known it for generations is collapsing, and in the process paying less and less attention to the nonprofit sector.

The combination of the Institute and the Journal will create an innovative new resource for nonprofits, help students and faculty better understand and serve the nonprofit sector, and will build on the nonprofit model for new journalism pioneered by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation and The News and Observer Foundation.


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