CHC Foundation Awards $10,000 in Grants to Reader and Investigative Project on Race and Equity

The Chicago Headline Club and the Chicago Headline Club Foundation are pleased to announce that the Reader Institute for Community Journalism and Investigative Project on Race and Ethnicity are recipients of the 2023 Intern Grant awards.

“It’s an honor to support organizations doing important work in journalism and that have a passion for training the next generation of journalists,” said Foundation President Molly McDonough. “This year’s grantees have a particular focus on reporting on communities under-represented in our media landscape.” 

As publisher of the Chicago Reader, the Reader Institute for Community Journalism creates and curates civic and cultural coverage by and for Chicago, highlighting underrepresented communities and stories. The first longstanding free weekly newspaper in the U.S. and now a nonprofit organization, the Reader is building a model for independent nonprofit media in coverage, collaboration, corporate responsibility, and community partnership. 

“The Reader Institute for Community Journalism is honored to partner with the CHC Foundation on a project of the utmost importance: creating more avenues for young journalists to start their careers—and to be compensated for their time, commitment, and creativity along the way,” Reader CEO & Publisher Solomon Lieberman said. “Thank you, CHC.”

As the Reader noted in its application, a strong internship program does two things, develops a pipeline of new talent and brings fresh perspectives to the organization. “Pivotal to this mission is the cultivation of new journalistic talent, as well as the introduction of new perspectives, workstyles, and life experiences,” the Reader wrote, adding, “In this way, interns are a fundamental part of building a better journalistic future.”

The Investigative Project on Racial Equity is a journalism start-up with a mission to employ fact-based and data-driven reporting, powerful storytelling and media training to expose Chicago’s racial, economic and social disparities. Their work informs and arms the impacted communities with tools for change.

The Investigative Project collaborates with Chicago media partners on long-form investigative reporting on race and equity and is building a training institute to teach, coach and mentor early-career journalists in data-driven journalism focused on race and equity issues. Interns will participate directly in these projects, learning from and working with veteran journalists. 

This hands-on approach is precisely what the foundation likes to see grantees provide. 

“We are thrilled that the Chicago Headline Club Foundation is supporting the Investigative Project of Race and Equity’s training institute and our data-driven journalism that reports on Chicago’s racial and economic challenges, said Laura Washington, president of the Investigative Project. “The grant will be of great benefit to our singular internship program. It will help fund our efforts to expose aspiring journalists to the tools and techniques of investigative reporting through the lens of race and equity, involve them directly in our investigative projects, and provide training and mentorship they will carry with them throughout their careers.

[Disclosure: Washington also serves on the CHC Foundation board and Internship Grant Committee Chair. She recused herself from voting and participating in this year’s selection process]

Selection of grantees is a challenge, given the number of deserving applicants committed to supporting rising journalists. The CHC Foundation is incredibly grateful to the donors and supporters who continue to make these grants possible. 

The Chicago Headline Club Foundation annually awards two $5,000 grants to fund internships at not-for-profit media organizations. The funds are designated to support the direct costs of internships from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. 

Applicants represented nonprofit print, broadcast, online and alternative news media organizations in Chicago. The foundation board selected recipients based on their commitment to providing hands-on, impactful experiences and stipends for journalism interns. 

Applications for next year’s grants will open in December 2023.