A family fund gave all its assets to a nonprofit newspaper focused on the Black community

Alex Daniels in The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

… before the Holofceners agreed to cede control over their assets and help Snowden-McCray with her mission, they wanted a sense of confidence that the paper would be managed well, say both the family members and Snowden-McCray. For instance, in 2020, when he saw the first draft of the paper’s business plan, Rick Holofcener said it lacked basic information about how the Baltimore Beat would attract revenue and didn’t properly account for all of the paper’s probable expenses.

Working for several months with Snowden-McCray and Soderberg, the paper’s co-founder, the family and the journalists fine-tuned their vision. The process, Soderberg says, was stress-free because they knew the money was coming; the time-out was simply to make sure the nonprofit paper would have a smooth rollout.

Snowden-McCray remembers the period before the grant became official as a “really good time.”

The foundation wasn’t laying out preconditions or must-dos. Instead, the pause gave the paper and the family time to thoroughly nail down their plans…

The extra time also allowed the paper to plan fundraising events and to hire Black journalists. Leaders focused on hiring editors, then gave those staff members the opportunity to hire and train rising journalists of color in the city. To keep operating costs in line, the refined business plan also called for a biweekly paper instead of a weekly, as originally planned. As a result of the extended planning, Snowden-McCray is optimistic about the paper’s future.

“Everybody wants everything fast,” she says. “But I think slow cooking it will ultimately help us last.”