The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting is relocating from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill to Atlanta’s Morehouse College. However, the program has encountered a major roadblock: the release of nearly $4 million dollars in funding.
According to NC News Online, the society’s former headquarters at the North Carolina university refuses to discharge the money to the organization dedicated to fostering emerging journalists of color. Co-founder and renowned journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones spoke to the publication about how this funding is crucial to the society’s existence and impact.
“It’s all of our operating funding, all of our grant money, our quasi-endowment. Without it, we can’t work toward our mission, we can’t do any of our work.”
Hannah-Jones left UNC-Chapel Hill, her alma mater, after being denied tenure as the university’s Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism due to conservative pressure placed on the university.
Hannah-Jones and her fellow co-founders believe the strained relationship with the university cannot be disregarded amid the financial battle.
To be clear: We raise all of our funding for the organization. None of our funds came from UNC. And we sought to leave as amicably as possible even after my tenure battle and after the university tried to ban me for life from ever teaching at the university. And it cost us.
The considerable endowment is used toward the society’s summer internship program as well as a new initiative to immerse high school students in the world of investigative journalism. The society’s finances, which consist of donations from esteemed professionals, foundations, and businesses, had been managed by UNC as a standard practice for a collegiate group.
The unexpected cease of operations was a shock to the community of supporters of the Ida B. Wells Society, some of which are alumni who have gone on to receive numerous awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize, for their reporting.
Currently, only slightly more than half of the funding—$2.1 million—has been given to Morehouse. The remaining sume is still under UNC-Chapel Hill’s authority to give to the Atlanta-based HBCU or return to the original donors. The timeframe as to when the full amount will be released remains unclear.
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Source: Black Enterprise