Recently Gates president Tom Gougeon and I participated in a Colorado Media Project working group to explore some vexing questions facing our democracy: What happens to Colorado communities when trusted, independent sources of local news die? What does the public know about the existential crisis facing local newsrooms across the state, and what solutions might they support?

We developed some practical ideas, based on models that other states and nations are using to stimulate innovation, collaboration, and sustainability in public-service journalism. Our recommendations are online at: https://coloradomediaproject.com/public-good.

Our boldest declaration, however, was simple: Free and independent local news is a public good that is vital to democracy, and all Coloradans have a vested interest in supporting the evolution of local public-service journalism. We believe that strengthening connections between local newsrooms and local community members is critical to sustaining a vibrant and healthy public square.

That’s why this giving season, Gates Family Foundation is proud to partner again with NewsMatch, a national grassroots fundraising campaign for nonprofit journalism, to help inspire more individuals to support homegrown, Colorado news.

Eighteen Colorado newsrooms are participating in the Colorado Media Project’s #newsCOneeds Year-End Matching Challenge. Through Dec. 31, your new monthly membership, donation, or subscription will be multiplied 12x — and one-time donations of up to $1,000 will be doubled — for a total of up to $5,000 match per newsroom.

Between individual contributions, the Colorado Media Project match, and NewsMatch, these 18 newsrooms have a total of more than $200,000 on the line — and we hope you’ll help them reach their goals. That’s nearly a 10x increase from last year, thanks to support from Gates, Bohemian Foundation, and Rose Community Foundation.

The CMP and the newsrooms are using the #newsCOneeds hashtag to promote the matching challenge and amplify the impact that locally owned nonprofit and for-profit community newsrooms make each day in communities across Colorado.

The survival of independent, local journalism is not certain. Most Coloradans are largely unaware of the financial crisis facing local news. Yet the vast majority across the political spectrum still place great trust in their local newsrooms, even as trust in national news and government institutions is increasingly polarized.

Your support of Colorado’s independent local newsrooms helps connect communities, holds power to account, and strengthens our civic fabric. This is #newsCOneeds.