Local Media Association and Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association partner to create fundraising lab


The Local Media Association (LMA) and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) have united to establish the Pennsylvania Fundraising Lab. This groundbreaking venture is designed to empower Pennsylvania news organizations with the expertise and understanding needed to secure philanthropic funding for their reporting projects,  thereby enhancing their financial sustainability and enabling them to continue delivering high-quality journalism.

In a recent episode of 'E&P Reports,' Frank Mungeam, LMA chief innovation officer, and Bill Cotter, PNA president, shared the success story of the LMA’s Lab for Journalism Funding. With over $23 million raised for journalism funding through the national lab, the decision to expand to a state-level initiative in Pennsylvania was a logical progression. The Pennsylvania Fundraising Lab will operate within a six-month ‘cohort learning format,' offering participating newsrooms the opportunity to learn from philanthropic fundraising experts, share best practices, and receive guidance from experienced mentors.

Bill Cotter emphasized the importance of strong leadership and community-focused projects in driving the success of the Fundraising Lab. "Newsroom leaders play a critical role in championing fundraising efforts and ensuring that selected projects address local community needs," stated Cotter. “This lab encourages proactive, solutions-oriented journalism that makes a tangible impact on communities, fostering support and engagement from local audiences.'"

The Pennsylvania cohort will be led by Liz White, a former newspaper owner/publisher and an LMA Advanced Fundraising Lab graduate. LMA staff and a team of coaches will also provide one-on-one support to the participating newsrooms. 

In a recent statement, the PNA explained that preference for participation will be given to media organizations that:

  • Have solid local leadership and deep ties to the community.
  • Are focused on high-quality local journalism.
  • Have leadership-level buy-in to participate in this lab and make the time/resource commitment.
  • Value staff and leadership diversity.

The statement went on to say that each publisher in the cohort will set a fundraising goal, in consultation with the coaches, that aligns with that publisher's market size. Participating publishers will also attend the LMA Fest in September and meet with funders and other fundraising lab participants. Case studies and an industry playbook will be published, sharing best practices and lessons learned.

During the E&P interview, Cotter shared the Lenfest Institute’s involvement in the project, stating: “They will play a crucial role by providing programmatic support, guest speakers and case studies to enrich the learning experience for participants,” Cotter went on to highlight the Institute's expertise in assisting news enterprises with fundraising through the Lenfest News Philanthropy Network and its focus on digital transformation for historically print news organizations through the Lenfest Beyond Print program.

Cotter said, “This collaboration underscores the commitment of all stakeholders involved to equip Pennsylvania news organizations with the resources and knowledge necessary to navigate the evolving media landscape effectively.”

To offer additional support, the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association will also award participating Lab newsrooms three $20,000 grants at their 100th Anniversary Gala.


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