ONA announces capacity support investment for The Pivot Fund to promote racial equity in journalism

A pilot program for ONA members building new journalism support organizations

By on January 6, 2022

The Online News Association (ONA) is pleased to announce a board-approved investment in capacity support to kickstart the mission of The Pivot Fund. This new venture philanthropy organization aims to channel $500 million into community news outlets led by Black, Indigenous and other journalists of color.

Founded in 1999, ONA has grown from a small nonprofit start-up to one of the largest professional associations representing digital journalists across the globe. ONA is committed to expanding the ecosystem of journalism grant-making, professional development and trade organizations for a stronger, more diverse industry.

Headshot for Tracie Powell

Tracie Powell, Founder and CEO of The Pivot Fund.

The Pivot Fund was founded by Tracie Powell, a longtime ONA member, participant of the inaugural Women’s Leadership Accelerator cohort and a leader in philanthropic initiatives advancing racial equity and diversity in journalism. ONA’s capacity support will accelerate The Pivot Fund’s growth by providing fiscal sponsorship, financial management and grants administration consulting.

“We believe in The Pivot Fund’s mission to center and invest in culturally competent local news, created by and for people the journalism industry has typically left out, and we’re excited to offer our organizational expertise to advance its mission,” said Irving Washington, Executive Director/CEO.

Support for The Pivot Fund also contributes to ONA’s explicit goal to advance diversity and inclusion in journalism. It expands the organization’s ongoing work to advance women in leadership, build racial equity in newsrooms and sustain fellowships and scholarships for journalists from historically marginalized backgrounds to access high-quality training and networking.

“I am thrilled to partner with ONA because it means The Pivot Fund will be able to deepen and scale our impact more quickly,” Powell said. “This is more than a fiscal sponsor relationship, it’s a mutually beneficial partnership that will produce game-changing investments in BIPOC-led community news through funding, capacity building, training, and opportunities for collaborative journalism.”

Learnings from the ONA and Pivot Fund partnership will lay the groundwork for an innovative model of fiscal sponsorship available to ONA members in 2023. The focus will be for entrepreneurial leaders who are establishing support-based organizations for the industry.

Washington said, “We’re excited to invest in future opportunities for ONA members. By supporting inspiring leaders — like the founders of ONA — to grow their ideas, we hope to create ripple effects for positive change now and in the long term.”

The Online News Association is on a mission to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism. To learn about the latest training opportunities and resources from ONA, subscribe to the ONA Weekly newsletter and follow us on Twitter @ONA.