Ford Gives Media Justice Fund $1.5 Million

The Media Justice Fund of the Funding Exchange has been awarded $1.5 million over two years by the Ford Foundation to continue its grantmaking through the National Office and the 16 community foundations that form the Funding Exchange National Network.

The award is the one of the largest single grants by a major foundation in the emerging social movement known as media justice.

The Media Justice Fund was founded on the belief that a more equitable distribution of media and communication technologies is a critical step toward social, racial and economic justice. To that end, the Fund makes grants to nonprofit organizations that are working to reform media policies, establish community media infrastructures, and promote accountability by media corporations. A core focus is on supporting the activism and leadership of communities that are traditionally marginalized by mass media.

“Thanks to the Media Justice Fund, we now have the ability to communicate consistently with a sizeable portion of our membership, painstakingly built over more than a quarter century,” said Marlen Torres of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, a union of treeplanters and farmworkers dedicated to improving conditions for agricultural workers. A recent grant from the Fund helped the group to build a low-power FM radio station that reaches thousands of people within a five-mile radius of Woodburn, Oregon, and many more via the internet. Added Torres, “The station is a critical link to long-term consciousness-raising and education for immigrants and farmworkers.”

Distinguished from traditional philanthropic institutions, the Funding Exchange member funds involve local activists in grantmaking and governance of their organizations. Through close contact with community members, each foundation stays connected to the pulse of grassroots movement’s organizing.

Since its founding in 2002, the Media Justice Fund has given away more than $850,000 to 110 grassroots media activism groups from Appalachia to Texas to Hawaii. The Fund has also initiated a total of 17 local and regional convenings (including ones in New Orleans, New Mexico) and several Southern states. For more information, visit the Media Justice Fund of the Funding Exchange website, www.fex.org/mjf.