Funding Media, Strengthening Democracy

​Despite the pervasiveness of media, the amount of philanthropic dollars in support of public interest media remains minuscule.  The findings, released today by Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media (GFEM), suggest that commercial interests continue to dominate media.  Within a 12-month period, more commercial money was invested in a single Hollywood blockbuster than was invested in all public service media by three of the largest philanthropic donors combined: the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The survey and ensuing report, Funding Media, Strengthening Democracy: Grantmaking for the 21st Century, calls on philanthropists to embrace a practice of transparency and information sharing via technology, to determine how existing funds are being used and how they can best be leveraged to increase philanthropic impact within the media field.

Commissioned by GFEM, Funding Media, Strengthening Democracy (downloadable below) was researched and written by Peter B. Kaufman and Mary Albon of the firm Intelligent Television.  Over a one-year period, Kaufman and Albon collected grantmaking data from foundations large and small, government funders, other researchers and journalists – using an online survey, individual interviews with key foundation executives and program officers and roundtable discussions.

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