Journalism Grantmaking Guidelines

The McCormick Foundation Journalism Program aims to bolster a more informed citizenry by investing in quality news content and educating people—especially students—to better appreciate the importance of news. We also are dedicated to protecting press freedoms and defending the First Amendment.

Key Themes

We support grantmaking initiatives in Audience, Rights and Content (ARC). Please note that our grantmaking strategy now includes more Chicago investment and increased support for youth media. We’re also putting stronger emphasis on performance evaluation and impact. Finally, we are active in coordinating funding and field-building collaborations and partnerships.

Audience. The Audience initiative recognizes a shift in focus from the newsroom to those who consume news. Today’s audiences are less passive, more engaged and eager to interact with news sources. Our work with young people, community news organizations and scholastic journalism programs has fueled interest in the potential of audience building.

We’re looking for proposals that increase opportunities and participation in news literacy programs (visit Why News Matters for more information). Other topics of interest include:

  • Increasing youth engagement with the news
  • Supporting comprehensive, systematic policy efforts to include news literacy into the Common Core state standards
  • Illustrating the impact of increased news literacy on critical thinking skills
  • Sustaining teacher and educator networks that provide trainings, resources, equipment and curriculum guidance
  • Building awareness of news literacy principles and their role in education
Rights. Col. Robert R. McCormick's unwavering support of First Amendment freedoms and legal protections for journalists are cornerstones of the Journalism Program.

We're looking for proposals that address:

  • Government transparency, accessibility, accountability and civic education
  • Supporting and reinforcing information access and press freedoms for journalists
  • Boosting scholastic reporting rights

Content. Our Content category addresses the continuous need to improve journalistic context, depth and quality.

Proposals that the staff have explored include:

  • Supporting high-quality youth journalism content
  • Increasing the capacity of journalists via trainings on critical, timely topics and skills building
  • Supporting high-quality investigative and watchdog reporting

Also feel free to view our current working Logic Model for more information on how we are framing the impact of our grantmaking.

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Robert R. McCormick Foundation
205 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 4300
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312 445 5000
Fax: 312 445 5001