MLK50: Justice Through Journalism has been awarded a $900,000 grant from The Skyline Foundation. The Skyline Foundation, formerly known as Yellow Chair Foundation, chooses grantees that focus on the root causes to larger issues in order to build an “equitable and just future.”

MLK50 will receive $900,000 in general operating support over the next three years to deepen its reporting and community engagement around core coverage topics, including housing, public safety and government accountability. 

Skyline Foundation was created in 2000 “with a deep sense of responsibility to return the wealth created through the internet company Yahoo! back to society,” according to the foundation’s website. Its founders, Angela and David Filo, have said the foundation’s mission is to find and fund “organizations with inspired, innovative leadership whose missions align with the foundation’s values and vision for the future.” 

MLK50 falls under Skyline’s Just Democracy program area. Because the foundation believes journalism is inextricably linked to a thriving democracy, it supports newsrooms working to develop the news information ecosystem. It also supports “creating high quality investigative and accountability journalism that holds power to account and builds community trust,” according to its website. MLK50 joins a growing list of grantees under this program area, including Capital B, Outlier Media, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, City Bureau and Documented

“Skyline Foundation prioritizes journalism investments to organizations that produce outstanding investigative reporting and to news organizations that are responsive to communities that have not been historically well-served by the media. We are thrilled to support MLK50 because they manage to do both of these things so well,” said Jenny Montoya Tansey, Skyline Foundation’s Just Democracy senior program officer. 

Since 2018, MLK50 has positioned itself as a key source of information for Memphians and an accountability mechanism that checks local power structures while shaping the civic conversation around them. This grant will allow the organization to grow its editorial team and expand its community engagement strategies.

“For news organizations such as MLK50, which started with no seed funding, multiyear commitments are crucial to sustainability,” said Wendi C. Thomas, MLK50’s founding editor and publisher. “We’re excited to begin to build stronger relationships in neighborhoods that have withered because of chronic disinvestment.” 
The grant is MLK50’s second-largest multiyear investment to date. It balances the Ford Foundation’s recent $2 million, five-year investment to the organization’s business side with direct support to the editorial side.

This story is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit newsroom focused on poverty, power and policy in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today. MLK50 is also supported by these generous donors.

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