NC Local News Lab Fund awards $615,000 in new grants to 21 organizations across the state

NC Local News Lab Fund awards $615,000 in new grants to 21 organizations across the state

The NC Local News Lab at the North Carolina Community Foundation announces 21 new general operating support grants totaling $615,000 for a wide range of organizations serving the news and information needs of historically marginalized communities across the state.

COVID-19’s disproportionate health impacts and economic effects on Black, Indigenous, Latin(x) and people of color prompted the Fund to focus on service to those communities. The Fund also chose to structure grants as general operating support to allow for shifting organizational demands and to recognize our trust in the relationship these traditional and non-traditional news organizations have with their audiences.

“The group of grantees for NCLNL Fund are a strong representation of the growing media ecosystem that we have in NC,” said Virgil Smith, former publisher of the Asheville Citizen-Times and selection committee member. “They bring unique services for diverse audiences across the great state of North Carolina.”

The grants awarded are:

  • $30,000: AMEXCAN works to inform Latino communities to "foster the appreciation, understanding, and prosperity of the Mexican and Latino Community.”
  • $30,000: Asheville Writers in The Schools and Community ignites social change through the power of arts, culture and restorative self-expression.
  • $30,000: Black River Health provides accessible and affordable healthcare to underserved residents and conducts health assessments with community outreach through Manos Unidas.
  • $30,000: El Centro Hispano strengthens the community, builds bridges and advocates for equity and inclusion of Hispanics/Latinos in the Triangle Area of NC.
  • $30,000: Emancipate NC supports North Carolina’s people as they free themselves from mass incarceration and structural racism.
  • $30,000: Enlace Latino NC works to inform and empower the diverse community of Latinx immigrants in NC to become more involved in political and social changes that affect them.
  • $15,000: Free Press, through its News Voices: North Carolina project, organizes Charlotte’s residents and newsrooms to identify, elevate and address community information needs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • $30,000: Hola Carolina explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of their community in Western NC while combating misinformation and improving communication within the Spanish-speaking community.
  • $20,000: JMPro TV publishes news in Spanish and Central American Mayan languages, via online video and text and local FM radio for communities in Western NC.
  • $15,000: Migrant Roots Media amplifies the voices of migrants, children of migrants, and those struggling to thrive in their homelands on its digital platform to unearth the root causes of global migration.
  • $30,000: NC Black Leadership and Organizing Collective is dedicated to shifting the social, economic, political and material conditions for Black communities across North Carolina.
  • $30,000: NC FIELD fills service gaps in the farmworker community, raise awareness of the plight of the farmworker and empower farmworkers to pursue educational and economic opportunities beyond the fields.
  • $15,000: NC Health News fills the coverage gap left by the departure of experienced health care reporters with fair, accurate, deeply researched news and information.
  • $30,000: The Roanoke Center works to catalyze, nurture and support sustainable economic and community development in NE NC by strengthening the fabric of its communities, including access to broadband.
  • $30,000: Southerly cultivates communities through events, fosters collaborations and produces thoughtful, informative journalism about climate and environmental issues in NC and throughout the South.
  • $30,000: Student Action with Farmworkers works with young people to improve conditions for farmworkers and build diverse coalitions working for social change.
  • $15,000: University Radio Foundation (WFAE) offers radio, news, events and a daily talk show to Charlotte using a community first newsroom approach.
  • $15,000: WFDD aims to protect civic space and serve as a trusted resource for everyone in the 32 Piedmont and High Country counties it covers.
  • $30,000: WNCU serves Durham with quality jazz, other specialty music and news programs from its perch at North Carolina Central University.
  • $30,000: Working Narratives links neighborhoods to the newsroom, trains citizen journalists and youth, and shares podcasts covering specific beats critical to their communities on NC’s coast.

To support the ecosystem beyond these grants, the Fund also made a grant of $100,000 to the NC Local News Workshop at Elon to foster connections, support organizations in our turbulent times and promote equitable, inclusive and accessible service of communities. Their programming will support organizations that inform communities across the state.

These awards were made possible by the NCLNL Fund which has been in operation since 2017. The collaborative fund received contributions for this round of grants from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and Democracy Fund. The grants bring the Fund’s total investment to more than $1.6 million since fall 2018.

This round of grants was selected from the Fund’s largest ever applicant pool. The selection committee included national and regional experts with deep ties to the state, broad experience in evolving models of journalism and vision for accessible, inclusive news and information. Their diverse expertise grounded this process in equitable, trust-based ways of working with and for Black, Latinx, poor, rural, and disconnected communities and news deserts based on developments in and beyond North Carolina.

Members of the selection committee include:

Grant amounts reflect the selection committee’s evaluation of an organization’s current capacity to serve historically marginalized communities, the resources currently available to the organization and the organization’s role in the ecosystem.

The Fund welcomes funding partners who are also interested in supporting news and information that helps North Carolina communities survive through the pandemic and thrive on the other side. Please contact Lizzy Hazeltine at for more information.

For updates on the Fund including future funding opportunities, please join our email list via our website.