London-based Guardian Media Group, which owns several media properties, including the Guardian, has announced the launch of a U.S.-based nonprofit arm to help support the media property's coverage of issues such as human rights and climate change.
Established by the Scott Trust, the sole shareholder of GMG, theguardian.org will focus on tapping private and corporate foundations and other entities to help fund the Guardian's investigative journalism. To date, the unit, which received its tax-exempt status in October 2016, has secured more than $1 million in grants, including funding from the Skoll Foundation for a solutions-oriented series on climate change in the U.S.; Humanity United, in support of an ongoing investigation of modern day slavery; and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, for journalism on the topic of early childhood development.
In recent years, the Guardian, which built on the success of its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of leaks of classified information by federal contractor Edward Snowden to expand in the United States, has received donations from the Bill & Melinda Gates, Ford, and Rockefeller foundations. But while philanthropic partnerships accounted for a relatively small portion — about $4.9 million — of the company's approximately $276 million in revenues for the twelve-month period that ended April 2, 2017, over the past twelve months it has received multiyear philanthropic commitments totaling some $6 million. The paper continues to cut costs, however, in an effort to slow operating losses, which totaled nearly $57 million in its most recent fiscal year.
"The connection between powerful storytelling and social cause has never been more vital," said theguardian.org president Rachel White. "Across the past six years, philanthropy has played an increasingly significant role in supporting Guardian journalism on issues that critically inform the public — climate change, inequality, women's rights, and more. The creation of theguardian.org makes it possible for us to forge key strategic partnerships, and engage a wider range of individuals and philanthropic organizations in supporting our global ground-breaking storytelling and reporting."