Now Accepting Applications for Local News Initiative Grant Round

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona invites applications for the Local News Initiative of Southern Arizona, a newly launched initiative inspired by a group of local civic and community leaders concerned about the decline in local journalism and information for and about the community.

Since 2004, more than 2,400 newspapers have shuttered their doors. About 40,000 newsroom positions have been eliminated as newsroom jobs fell 57 percent between 2008 and 2020. At the same time, nationally and especially here in Southern Arizona, there are promising solutions and strong leaders.  Innovative nonprofit news models, new methods to reach and engage audiences, independent and family-owned news organizations, and other community-based local news providers are filling critical gaps in local news coverage.

Local News Initiative grants are designed to help strengthen our community by supporting robust local journalism and news and information providers in Southern Arizona. Robust local news and information are bedrock requirements for a thriving community, and they amplify philanthropy’s impact across the entire nonprofit sector of Southern Arizona. With more journalists producing original reporting and community news and information, people living in Tucson, Pima County, and Southern Arizona can become better informed and rely on local journalism to hold the government and other institutions accountable.

The Local News Initiative’s goals are to:

  • Promote informed and engaged communities in Southern Arizona
  • Address critical gaps in local public affairs reporting and community news and civic information in Southern Arizona
  • Ensure that historically marginalized and underrepresented communities are served with robust reporting and inclusive community news and information. Increase the number and/or coverage provided by local journalists and local news providers delivering independent, nonpartisan reporting on issues of local concern.

Applications open on Monday, January 8, 2024. View the recording from the online information session below:

Important Dates

January 8, 2024 | 12:00 AM MST: Application Opens
January 11, 2024 | 5:00 PM MST: Information Session
February 2, 2024 | 5:00 PM MST: Application Due
February  – March 2024: Application Review
March 2024 | Award Notifications

Questions? Contact our Community Impact Team at or by phone at 520-770-0800.

To Apply

All applications must be submitted online through Common Grant Application. We strongly encourage you to review the tutorial video, which contains important information on how to register/login and submit an application.  To view the video, click here.

  • First-time users of Common Grant Application, click here to register for an account.
  • If you have already applied for a grant using Common Grant Application, you should have an account. Returning users, click here.


Local news organizations, journalists, and local news and information providers committed to informing the people of Southern Arizona with quality community news and information and shining a light or informing the public about issues of local concern may apply. If a previous grantee, the organization must be current in all grant reporting to CFSA.

  • Geography: Applicants must be located in OR lead projects that increase news coverage and demonstrate charitable benefit to the community in the Southern Arizona region (defined as Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Yuma counties – south of the Gila River).
  • Alignment with Initiative Goals: Proposals must be in alignment with the goals of the Local News Initiative of Southern Arizona.
  • Organization Types: Applicants from nonprofit news organizations, for-profit news organizations, and independent community news providers are invited to apply.
  • Support Types:
    • Nonprofit news organizations will be eligible for operating support.
    • Proposals from for-profit news entities will be considered for project-based support that demonstrates charitable benefit to the community.
  • Formats: Varied news formats and media distribution channels that are eligible for consideration, from broadcast to print to digital to SMS to social media


Preference will be given to applications that demonstrate:

  • Commitment and investment in the Southern Arizona community
  • Engagement strategies to reach traditionally underrepresented communities
  • Commitment to the highest ethical and quality standards with a clear plan to publish and distribute their work widely
  • Commitment to producing accurate, evidence-based, and verified information that is required to function in a free society
  • The capacity to produce and deliver news and information that community members need

Not Eligible

  • Individuals or groups that have no affiliation with a newsroom in Southern Arizona
  • Individuals or organizations with no plans to publish or distribute their work in Southern Arizona
  • Applicants whose work is primarily targeted for national audiences outside of Southern Arizona
  • Projects proposed by newsrooms owned by large corporations or investment firms that may have greater access to institutional support

Grant Guidelines

  • Requests for grants may range from $25,000 to $75,000.
  • Grant dollars may be applied to support new positions, expand the capacity of existing positions, or support existing positions added within the last year.
  • Nonprofit applicants can request operating support.
  • Grant periods are for one year in duration.
  • Awards must align with CFSA’s Grantmaking Principles and Diversity Policy. Learn more here:
  • Recommendations to CFSA and the initiative’s advisory committee for consideration will be made by a community advisory panel that will be made up of volunteers and local and national journalism experts.

About the Local News Initiative of Southern Arizona

Launched in November 2023, the Local News Initiative of Southern Arizona was inspired by a group of local civic and community leaders concerned about the decline in local journalism and information for and about our community. Newspapers have long provided the bulk of original reporting to inform communities about issues of local concern and to help hold local government and institutions accountable. However, the local news media landscape across the country has dramatically changed in the last two decades, with the proliferation of digital content and the collapse of the traditional advertising business model. These changes have led to the local news crisis across the country that has prompted local civic leaders, place-based funders, and national philanthropy to address this important concern.

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) joined with local civic leaders to create the Local News Initiative because our communities require accurate, nonpartisan local news and information to thrive. Solutions and improvements in issue areas that CFSA donors care about–such as literacy, arts, housing, health, environmental sustainability, and economic opportunity–all depend on the availability of accurate information and the ability to tell stories from local perspectives. Local news highlights community challenges, creates necessary waves, and spurs action toward meaningful solutions.