Report for America today released Local News Philanthropy: Strong Signs of Positive Movement, a report on local sustainability and development efforts by the nonprofit program’s newsroom partners in 2020.

The report underscores the fact that the demand by communities for local news is healthy—it’s the industry’s business model that must change.

“It’s time for local newsrooms to view philanthropy not so much as charity, but as a vital revenue stream that can make up the difference between lost advertising revenue and subscriptions,”  said Todd Franko, Report for America’s local sustainability and development director.

Report for America’s newsroom partners raised more than $4.6 million in 2020, 61% more per reporter than the prior year. Fundraising efforts by newsrooms, according to the report, gave community members an opportunity to step up and actively participate in restoring local news in their neighborhood. Nearly half of the donations came from individual donors who hadn’t previously done so.

“Local communities spoke loudly and the appetite to help is clearly there,” Franko said. “Newsrooms and philanthropic citizens just need the time, understanding and expertise to come together to replant local news in America.”

Among the report’s other key findings:

  • In all, Report for America had a nearly $10 million philanthropic impact on U.S. local news in 2020.
  • Community foundations are becoming more active—and are creating new models focused on long-term sustainability.
  • For-profit newsrooms have accelerated their fundraising efforts but still lag behind nonprofit newsrooms.
  • COVID-19 and civil unrest did not disrupt charitable giving to journalism.

Read the full article about philanthropy for local newsrooms by Sam Kille at Report For America.