The American Journalism Project (AJP)

Strategic & Organizational Planning, Fundraising, Board Development


The resources our society devotes to covering and reporting local news have declined by more than 50% in the last decade. The resulting lack of local, substantive, and original reporting on things like schools, housing, elections, transportation and courts weakens civic engagement and the very heart of our democratic governance. A new generation of social entrepreneurs, Civic News Organizations (CNOs), are poised to meet these challenges. However, because the market for news has failed, these business savvy news leaders need philanthropic capital and hands-on expertise to grow. Enter the American Journalism Project (AJP). Patterned after venture capital enterprises, AJP is the first venture philanthropy nonprofit dedicated to investing in CNOs, providing the growth equity and intensive support vital to their sustainability and growth.

The Process

Working arm-in-arm with AJP co-founders, Elizabeth Green and John Thornton, and the AJP team, Jason Alcorn, Anna Nirmala and Gonzalo del Peon, Due East supported initial strategic visioning and organizational development and continues to support AJP’s fundraising strategy and Board development. This work with AJP exemplifies our holistic approach, pulling on the expertise of our full team to provide strategic planning, fundraising development and organizational development, all with the same intensity, attention and high quality.

The Results

The first critical goal for AJP was raising an initial fund of $50 million. At the time the organization officially launched in February of 2019, they announced $42.6 million in lead funding commitments, a Board of Directors and the organization’s first three hires.

The Knight Foundation announced its leading support for the American Journalism Project with a 5-year, $20 million commitment. Joining The Knight Foundation as American Journalism Project lead supporters were: Arnold Ventures, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, philanthropists Christopher Buck and Dr. Hara Schwartz, Emerson Collective, the Democracy Fund, Lumina Foundation, Erin and John Thornton, Abrams Foundation and the Facebook Journalism Project.

Through this first $50 million fund, AJP will make substantial, course-altering investments in 25-35 CNOs with the goal of fostering their transition into sustainable media organizations with multiple revenue streams. Currently, AJP is funding 11 CNOs that serve 20 million+ people across the U.S. Over the next few years, AJP will raise the visibility of the vital role of CNOs and mobilize a national movement to sustain and grow an independent local press across the country. Learn more about the American Journalism Project.

At the time of launch in February 2019, AJP announced $42.6 Million in Lead Funding Commitments

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