Tanu Henry, California Black Media
Two organizations have made commitments to invest in local Black-owned media in California.
Last year, The California Endowment, a foundation dedicated to promoting environments that support healthy living in the state, committed $300,000 to California Black Media (CBM) for the next two years. The money will be used to expand a program that provides direct grants to support the local news reporting capacity of Black media news outlets across the states.
“Information is as important as the air that we breathe and the water we drink,” says Regina Wilson, Executive Director of California Black Media. “Supporting our Black Media Sustainability Initiative (BMSI) helps our partners across the state continue the work we do to empower the public with information and news that are vital to the decisions Black Californians make and it determines how – and how well — we live,” said Regina Wilson, Executive Director of CBM.
Last week, Experian, one of the country’s top credit and information services companies, also donated 75,000 to CBM to support the program. The gift is part of a broader global initiative the company is undertaking to “empower vulnerable people to improve their financial health through education and action.”
Experian supported three other nonprofit organizations that serve Black communities across the United States: The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the National Newspaper Publisher Association (NNPA), and the LaGrant Foundation (TLF).
Experian donated a total of $375,000 to the organizations.
“Nonprofits have been a critical resource for underserved communities and continue to be resilient in the face of the health and financial crises caused by the pandemic,” said Abigail Lovell, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at Experian. Globally, the company employs 20,000 people in 44 countries.
“In addition to our work together and reaching out with the message of financial inclusion for all, this is an opportunity to provide real support with their general operating expenses. We hope the funds will enable them to strengthen their impact in the communities that need help the most and lessen the wealth gap in society,” Lovell said.
Experian says the company’s donation to the four nonprofit organizations will directly support African American communities at a time when so many people are recovering from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will be used to cover operating expenses and to contribute to the development of innovative programs that improve the lives of people in those communities.
CBM’s BMSI program currently supports local news reporting at four Black-owned-and-operated news publishers across the state, including the Sacramento Observer, San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, Inglewood Today and the Inland Valley News. Over the last six months, local news reporting at media outlets participating in the program has increased by more than 90 %. More than 130 original news stories have been published.
Wilson says this year she expects to regrant money to more news publishers to support their local news reporting.
“When we began raising money to support the Black Press about 10 years ago, pitching the idea of how important it is to help sustain strong and accountable local media — and Black local media in particular — was a much harder sell than it is today,” says Wilson.
“There is so much more interest and understanding of how critical those things are to the strength of our communities and democracy now,” Wilson added. “We look forward to working with more organizations to continue to do this work to strengthen journalism that serves the public interest.”
Inland Valley News coverage of local news in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support minority-owned-and-operated community newspapers across California.