In 2006, the Philanthropy Awareness Initiative commissioned a study of how the news media covered foundations, Philanthropy in the News. Findings confirmed what many already knew: the vast majority of articles about foundations were transactional—foundation X gives grant of amount Y to organization Z. Of more than 38,000 stories tracked, 99% focused on dollars out the door. It's rare to get coverage that moves beyond the money to explore the thinking and strategy behind a grant or to highlight the range of roles foundations play to promote solutions.
This trend contributes to the widespread lack of awareness of what foundations do and their impact, which makes it harder to build support for philanthropy's work.So how can foundations move media coverage beyond the money? This series tries to learn from efforts that worked—news stories and editorials that convey a broader vision of how foundations make a difference—and identify the strategies that brought such coverage about.