Press Forward Springfield logomark

Press Forward Springfield

In 2022, the Community Foundation was notified of a significant unrestricted bequest from the estate of Patrick Coburn, former publisher of The State Journal-Register and a longtime fixture in the Springfield community before he passed away in 2022.

To honor Pat in a meaningful way and address vital community needs, the Community Foundation has set aside $1 million of Coburn’s bequest to establish the Patrick F. Coburn Press Forward Endowment Fund to underpin the work that lies ahead for Press Forward Springfield. The Community Foundation has also engaged the American Journalism Project to help lead a planning effort in 2024 for how to build up the local news ecosystem and guide future grant making.

In addition, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has committed to making a $1 million investment in the Patrick F. Coburn Press Forward Endowment Fund to further support the work of Press Forward Springfield.

The Community Foundation announced this news at a press conference held on November 6, 2023 at the University of Illinois Springfield to kick off a series of events celebrating What’s Next for The Next 10 – a collaborative community engagement effort for the Greater Springfield Area sponsored by the Community Foundation to help define how we take bold steps together for the region’s future.

Press Forward National – Overview

In September, 2023, a coalition of funders announced Press Forward, a national initiative to strengthen communities and democracy by supporting local news and information with an infusion of more than $500 million over the next five years. Press Forward partners committed to re-center local news as a force for community cohesion; support new models and solutions that are ready to scale; and close longstanding inequities in journalism coverage and practice.

As local newsrooms have disappeared across America, communities have witnessed fading civic engagement, eroding social bonds, surging misinformation, and dwindling governmental accountability. Over the last decade news organization founders and funders have stepped up to build and invest in emerging ecosystems across the country.

Press Forward Local chapters are an opportunity for funders to create place-based initiatives for local news, driven by the specific needs of their communities. Press Forward Springfield was one of the country’s first six local chapters established to bring new donors and foundations together to expand resources for local news.

To learn more about Press Forward, visit HERE .