The American Journalism Project is seeking a Vice President, Local Partnerships to serve in an essential development leadership role in our organization. The role will be a critical part of some of the most exciting efforts happening in the local news field by leading the fundraising components of our local philanthropy partnerships and startup studio organizations (e.g. Signal Ohio and Indiana Local news Initiative) which in total seeks to raise more than $10M per year in philanthropic support of local news. This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the future of local news and support the next generation of civic news leaders.
We believe a trusted source of verified information forms the connective tissue that brings communities together, facilitates collaboration, and is critical for thriving, civically engaged communities. The American Journalism Project aims to catalyze a movement of nonprofit local news enterprises that rallies our country’s next generation of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and community leaders around this vital cause. We encourage all people who are excited by the mission and the work, regardless of background, to apply.
Who we are
We’re a small but entrepreneurial team working to re-shape the future of local news in our country. We’re passionate about journalism, civic engagement, and how local news plays a unique role in shaping our democracy. We help build and grow sustainable local news organizations all over the country — through financial investment, venture support, and movement building — that are governed by, sustained by, and look like the public they serve. Learn about our grantees.
Our team is deeply connected to our mission and supportive of each others’ goals and overall well-being. We aim to be an organization where everyone feels heard, respected, and valued. We are an entirely remote, distributed team and strive to maintain a healthy, fun, and productive workplace, working alongside smart, energetic colleagues who enjoy one another and the work. Meet our full team.
Local First: We know that local journalism must serve and be led by local communities. We make a practice of listening to, and making decisions with – not for – those communities, and connecting them to find strength in each other.
Bold Leadership: We understand the severe economic challenge facing local news and thus democracy, and we embrace a sense of possibility with courage, urgency, and perseverance.
Constant Learning: We recognize the unknown in front of us. Therefore, we operate with humility and a commitment to continuous improvement and collaboration.
Commitment to Equity: We commit to creating a better, more diverse, and more inclusive news media that advances human and civil rights. We actively fight against injustice and racism, and that starts with doing the work ourselves.
Integrity: We accept the responsibility of earning trust every day. We operate with honesty, transparency, dignity, and respect, and without allegiance to party, ideology, profit, or power.
To date, we’ve committed over $42 million to nonprofit news enterprises, mobilized an additional $53 million from local philanthropy to launch market-specific local news initiatives, and are focused on deploying more dollars to help scale promising business models. Over the past few years, we’ve helped launch ambitious local news startups; helped inspire waves of new investments by local philanthropy; and most importantly, helped fuel more original local journalism in communities across the country. We’ve built a strong team that’s diverse in background, geography, and function — and it’s a team that’s willing to dig in deep alongside our partners.
Led by Michael Ouimette, AJP’s Chief Investment Officer, our program team works with philanthropists and nonprofit news leaders to advance a thriving, sustainable local news field. You can read a more detailed overview of our program areas in this recent blog post by our CEO.
Our programmatic work includes fundraising in local markets to help seed and launch new news organizations, or to increase local news resources within existing local news ecosystems. To date, this work has been dispersed among various members of our Program Team, and we are now formalizing this work on the Program Team with a small group dedicated to local fundraising and movement-building. The VP will lead this work, including the fundraising campaigns of our Local Philanthropy Partnerships to secure launch capital for our proposed local news interventions in specific markets, and then serve as interim head of development for the incubating startup until the staff is hired and onboarded.
The VP will sit on our Program Team, reporting to the Chief Investment Officer and managing our Local Partnerships Associate.
The role will work closely with the Head of Emerging Markets (who oversees our Local Philanthropy Partnerships work) and our Head of Startup Studio & Local News Innovation, and will receive support from staff when working on deliverables such as proposals, project budgets, and reports.
The American Journalism Project additionally has an Advancement Team, which is focused on our national and institutional funders, and oversees our overall fundraising systems and strategy, as well as our broader communications work. The VP will also work closely with our Advancement Team on ensuring that we have consistent communication, systems and processes across our local and national fundraising and movement-building work.
Compensation & benefits
Our total compensation package is competitive in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, and we are committed to supporting our team with what they need to show up every day ready to bolster the local press our democracy deserves.
We benchmark our salaries against similar organizations, and use a scale that considers job complexity and magnitude of responsibility to determine role levels and corresponding base salaries, as well as offering regular opportunities for salary increases. The salary range for this position is $149,361 — $164,297. Read about our benefits here.
The VP will lead AJP’s efforts to secure funding for the American Journalism Project’s local fundraising efforts.
The VP will work with our Program Team to achieve ambitious revenue goals, will serve as interim heads of development for our startup studio organizations and then oversee the hiring and onboarding of a permanent local fundraising executive.
Our ideal candidate is a fundraising professional who has expertise in pursuing six- to eight-figure contributions and grants, particularly major gifts, as well as experience with project management; building systems and processes for fundraising; and engaging local communities and constituencies.
The VP will lead the strategy, execution and portfolio management of our local fundraising efforts and have the following responsibilities:
Develop the overall fundraising and stewardship strategy for the Program Team’s place-based work — our Local Philanthropy Partnerships and Startup Studio — across diverse revenue streams: major gifts from foundations, individuals, and corporate support
Define and meet fundraising goals for the each place-based project
Prepare Chief Investment Officer, and leaders and board members of our startup organizations, for fundraising, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. Lead in preparation efforts for major fundraising meetings and solicitations; build new external relationships as appropriate, thoughtfully advancing complex partnerships and demonstrating excellent presentation and communication skills to connect prospects to the missions of the American Journalism Project and our place-based partners and projects.
Provide leadership throughout prospecting, cultivation and stewardship efforts, ensuring every element of engagement is strongly executed towards securing revenue; work with team to oversee the execution of deliverables such as proposals and reports
Work across our Program and Advancement Teams to oversee the coordination of information with our Advancement Team’s systems for gift solicitation, management, reporting, and stewardship
Assist with our startups’ board development and management; act as a key liaison to the boards on fundraising
Manage and mentor a team of currently 1 FTE, as well as managing any fundraising consultants and vendors
Act as interim head of development for our startups and work with the team on recruiting, hiring and onboarding startup staff, particularly development leadership
We know not all strong candidates will have all the skills we list. That’s OK. Research shows that women and people of color are less likely to apply for a position if they don’t meet every skill listed. At the American Journalism Project, we are committed to creating a better, more diverse, and more inclusive news ecosystem, and that starts with doing the work ourselves. So if your past experience doesn’t align perfectly, but you know this is the role for you – please tell us!
This role might be a fit if you are:
Strategic leader: You thrive at understanding and navigating through complexity and setting clear strategy and prioritization. You love to see a complex problem and come up with a clear solution.
Excellent communicator: You excel at written and verbal communications. You are able to effectively communicate strategy and distill impact in a way that can inspire external stakeholders.
Goal and mission oriented: You live and breathe our overall fund goals. You manage against personal goals regularly. You manage and track yourself to goals consistently but you also think holistically about how we are bringing in new support.
Collaborative and agile: You love people and you are the kind of person that brings energy to a meeting. You excel at collaborating across teams without direct authority. You see fundraising as a team sport and leverage others appropriately. You bring others into your thinking on how to advance leads.
Fundraising experience: An ideal candidate would have significant philanthropic experience, a demonstrated track-record of seeking and securing six- to eight-figure gifts, and tangible experience expanding and cultivating existing donor relationships over time. Knowledge and experience in the field of journalism preferred.
Committed mentor: You are ready to provide guidance and advice to the passionate, emerging leaders on your team and within our grantee organizations. You provide encouragement and frank, honest, and constructive feedback. You take initiative in the mentorship relationship, but allow the mentee to take responsibility for their growth, development, and career planning.
Systems-thinker and pattern-spotter: Our goals are cross organizational and very little can be accomplished without the input and collaboration of others. You love working across teams, spotting patterns, and facilitating processes that enable effective collaboration.
Committed to equity: You bring experience of managing across lines of difference. You’ve worked with organizations led by BIPOC and/or nonprofits that have a track record of serving diverse communities and bring a fluency that has been shaped by those experiences.
Bold and mission-oriented: You wake up every day terrified about the future of local news in our country but boldly optimistic that we can reimagine our country’s local news infrastructure. You work with urgency to get us there faster.
Ready to travel if needed but also excited to work for a remote organization: We are a fully virtual team. However, travel is occasionally needed to achieve the overall objectives of this role.
Fun and supportive: We are working hard to reimagine the future of local news and our mission is vitally important to the future of our country. We also love the people we work with and love to laugh.
The American Journalism Project is a new venture philanthropy organization dedicated to local news. By providing transformative investments and close support to Civic News Organizations, we are building a new public service media that is governed by, sustained by and looks like the public it serves.
The economics that supported the news industry for most of the twentieth century are no longer viable. As a result, the civic function news provides is under threat.
We founded the American Journalism Project to help combat this threat. In other sectors, venture philanthropy has created sustainable new ecosystems that fill gaps left by the market. We are doing the same for local news.