NC Local News Lab Fund gets $1M gift

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By Eric Frederick, NC Local Newsletter Editor

Here’s a big boost for our news and information ecosystem:

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has given $1.05 million to the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund. It’s the biggest gift ever to the Fund, which will send most of that money out in grants and use the rest to “reinforce our (operating) capacity,” Director Lizzy Hazeltine told me this week.

Since 2017, the Fund, backed by funders including the Kate B. Reynolds trust, has awarded more than $2.4 million in grants to what it calls “trusted messengers” — news and information providers and networks that build trust and connections in communities and “provide accurate, reliable news … despite having been historically excluded from traditional philanthropy due to racial and systemic inequities,” the gift announcement says.

Some of the new Reynolds gift will be used to make “more and larger” awards in this fall’s round of grants, which will be the Fund’s most significant yet, Hazeltine told me. Those grants will be announced late next week.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust supports “promising programs, systems change work, and innovative ideas that help residents and communities thrive, increase equitable access to health care, and achieve equitable health outcomes.” It began supporting the Fund at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, recognizing the need for communities to have reliable health information.

The North Carolina Local News Lab Fund supports the work of the North Carolina Local News Workshop, home of this newsletter.