Three local publishers have been selected to participate in the initial pilot projects: The Community Voice, serving Wichita and the Kansas City Metropolitan area; The Times Weekly, serving Joliet, IL; and Elevate Dayton, serving Dayton, OH.

Our pilot publishers

The Community Voice is a multi-platform statewide publication that serves Kansas’ African-American community. Based in Wichita and founded in 1994, the bi-weekly publication it is the second-largest non-daily news outlet in the state. In addition to covering a broad range of local and regional news, The Community Voice sponsors several key community projects, including a free, annual Financial Freedom Expo and the Kansas Black Leadership Council Platform Convention.

The Times Weekly is an independently minority and woman-owned media corporation that has been publishing a weekly community newspaper since 1986. Today, TTW serves nine communities southwest of Chicago. It has become an important source for local and state news, providing original reporting on local government, education, business, sports, arts, food and culture. The editors at The Times Weekly strive to ensure that every publication is keeping their communities informed.Elevate Dayton is an online news and engagement hub that allows Dayton-area residents to share their perspectives through written stories, videos, podcasts, photo galleries and more. It was founded in 2019 to fill “a shameful, gaping information void about the un- and under-covered communities of Dayton, primarily those of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as other un-heard communities.” In addition to amplifying unheard voices, Elevate Dayton seeks to inspire change and drive innovative solutions that elevate the life and culture of Dayton’s under-represented communities.

All three are part of a rich, but shrinking tapestry of Black-owned media outlets weathering long-standing economic pressures that have only worsened in the age of COVID-19. Until recently these and other vital community media businesses have been all but ignored by foundations, nonprofits and corporations.

An October 2019 report from The Democracy Fund, “Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Journalism: What Funders Can Do,” found that of the $1.1 billion journalism grants in the United States between 2013 and 2017, only 8.1 percent went to journalism efforts specifically designed to serve populations that included racial and ethnic groups, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ communities.