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Feb. 21, 2024, 2:51 p.m.

When the funding coalition Press Forward announced its first six local chapters last November, the MacArthur Foundation said funders wanted “as many communities as possible to join the movement.”

Now, 11 more communities of different scales have come onboard, bringing the total number of local chapters to 17 scattered throughout the country. On Wednesday, Press Forward announced four more city-based chapters, in Lancaster, Pa., Lexington, Ky., Pittsburgh, and San Antonio; six more state-based local chapters, in Colorado, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Wyoming; and its first regional-based chapter, in South Florida. Those chapters join the first six locals in Chicago, Springfield, Ill., Philadelphia, Wichita, Kan., Alaska, and Minnesota, nearly tripling the number of local chapters and marking some of the first chapters in the South and Southwest. (Pennsylvania, meanwhile, now has three separate city-based Press Forward chapters, while Illinois has two.)

Local Press Forward chapters are intended to complement and reinforce the national effort to fund and revitalize local news with at least $500 million over five years.

MacArthur Foundation president John Palfrey and recently appointed Knight Foundation president Maribel Pérez Wadsworth announced the new local chapters at the Knight Media Forum Wednesday morning. They also introduced Dale Anglin, a recent Cleveland Foundation vice president who was announced as Press Forward’s inaugural director last week.

Like the first six chapters, each of these 11 new Press Forward chapters has at least one (in some cases, two) lead funders, which include family foundations, media funders, national funders like MacArthur with a local presence, and even, in the case of Pittsburgh, a university-based partner (the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University).

When the first six local chapters were announced, Press Forward defined three stages of development for news “ecosystems”: “nascent” (e.g. Press Forward Alaska), “expanding” (Chicago), and, at the most established end of the spectrum, “flourishing” (Philadelphia). In announcing these next 11 chapters, Press Forward shared a new resource: a guide for local funders that includes three case studies of how early chapters are being built out in each of the three news ecosystem stages, and tips for planning and timelines to create a Press Forward chapter.

On Wednesday, Press Forward also announced that local chapters can apply for up to $250,000 in “Catalyst Funds” to “help grow their efforts.” Local chapters can also access “technical assistance, including coaching and training, and peer networks to cultivate shared learning” through the national coalition, per the press release.

“We’re just getting started,” Wadsworth said during the announcement Wednesday morning. “I know that there are many more [chapters] in the works; I’ve heard the conversations, including in a number of Knight cities, which is incredibly exciting.”

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