Informed, engaged communities are vital to democracy and key to addressing a wide range of critical challenges facing our state. The absence of trusted, local news and information undermines civic participation and prevents important issues and powerful institutions from receiving the scrutiny they require. As traditional sources of local news – particularly newspapers – have declined dramatically over two decades, in-depth coverage of vital civic issues statewide has lagged. Social media has filled this vacuum, fueling mis- and disinformation, discord, and polarization promoted by algorithms to drive clicks and profits.
Gates Family Foundation is committed to supporting community-based newsrooms and promising new ventures in Colorado that are building a more diverse, fertile, and sustainable local news and civic information ecosystem. We support public-service journalism and communications that serve historically ignored communities and provide platforms for underrepresented storytellers. We work to fill civic news gaps in our core focus areas by supporting organizations that report on urgent issues in education, natural resources, and community development.
OUR PRIORITIES FOR INFORMED COMMUNITIES
Evolve and Strengthen
the Civic News Ecosystem
Catalyze and support innovations that help make Colorado’s civic news ecosystem more collaborative, sustainable, inclusive, and responsive to the communities it serves.
We work with a coalition of funders and partners to build a healthier, more equitable, solutions-focused local news and information ecosystem.
Address Gaps In Civic
Support civic news organizations and projects that increase the amount and reach of high-quality reporting on public education, natural resources, and community development issues.
We help ensure the topics that are vital to the future of a thriving Colorado receive the news coverage they deserve.
Build Inclusive News
Leadership, Voices and Models
Support people and projects that harness a more diverse array of partners and community assets to reimagine civic news, with an emphasis on better service to underserved communities of color and rural areas.
We support projects that ensure local news is more inclusive, less reactive, and more grounded in the perspectives of all community members.
HOW WE SUPPORT INFORMED COMMUNITIES
Foundation staff work closely with a diverse group of community development partners to initiate and support projects that advance the strategic priorities and goals listed above. See our strategic partners in informed communities here. If you think your project or organization might be a fit for our Informed Communities program, we encourage you to contact a team member below. READ MORE
Two times a year, we accept applications for our capital grants program. Informed Communities projects that qualify include capital infrastructure projects that support local newsrooms, or renovation of buildings that enhance a community’s ability to convene important civic conversations. See a list of our recent capital grants for informed communities here. READ MORE
We put the Foundation’s endowment dollars to work through mission-aligned investments to support informed communities. Examples include a low-interest loan to help The Colorado Sun expand its membership and service to reach more communities statewide, and a loan guarantee to help keep 24 Colorado Community Media local news properties in local hands. READ MORE
INFORMED COMMUNITIES NEWS AND INSIGHTS
INFORMED COMMUNITIES TEAM
Gates’ staff members bring an array of experiences and talents to work with our partners and communities.