Informed Communities: Civic News Ecosystem - Gates Family Foundation


While commercial models for sustaining local civic news have deteriorated, rapidly evolving tech tools and social platforms have democratized content creation and the public’s role in holding the powerful to account. Individual community members, nonprofits, corporations, and politicians are now leading many civic and cultural conversations through their individual and organizational channels. Much about this phenomenon is positive, but it also contributes to fragmentation, overwhelm, and disengagement in important civic conversations.

In Colorado, public media is expanding its role and digital startups are attempting to fill civic news gaps. But overall the field is still fragmented and fragile. Gates Family Foundation works in partnership with a coalition of funders through the Colorado Media Project to pool funds and support initiatives like the Colorado News Collaborative and the Colorado News Conservancy that take an ecosystem-level approach to build a healthier, more equitable, solutions-focused local news and information ecosystem for all Coloradans.

Our grants and resources in this focus area may support:

  • Ecosystem-level innovations in technology, newsroom collaboration, efficiencies, and distribution that enhance public service and sustainability of local civic newsrooms
  • Capacity-building initiatives such as #newsCOneeds that help civic newsrooms engage communities, increase responsiveness, diversify funding streams, increase revenue, and strengthen resiliency
  • High-impact ownership transitions or growth opportunities that prioritize community needs and advance ecosystem collaboration and sustainability
  • Efforts to engage more funders and civic leaders in understanding the issues and growing support for innovative strategies to evolve, strengthen and sustain local civic news

Our 2022-2026 Strategic Plan: Our Team Shares the Highlights

During a series of six webinars in February and March 2022, our team shared the broad strokes of our 2022-2026 strategic plan: what’s new and what’s unchanged, and how — by working together — we can make a positive impact on the most important issues facing our state.

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Melissa Milios Davis

Melissa Milios Davis

Vice President – Strategic Communications & Informed Communities