Non-profit

The GroundTruth Project

Website:

thegroundtruthproject.org

Location:

BOSTON, MA

Tax ID:

46-0908502

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $2,863,450
Expenses: $1,358,009
Assets: $2,546,444

Type:

Center-Left Journalism Nonprofit

Founder and CEO:

Charles Sennott

Formerly:

GroundTruth Initiative (2012-2013) [35]

The GroundTruth Project (formerly the GroundTruth Initiative) is a 501(c)(3) left-of-center media and journalism nonprofit organization that covers local news. GroundTruth is the fiscal sponsor of Report for America, a group created in 2018 to insert left-leaning journalists into news organizations across the U.S. in order to fill “a coverage gap” in local news reporting. [1]

The GroundTruth Project is itself an initiative of GlobalPost, a Boston-based nonprofit media organization whose mission is “to serve audiences as a distinctive content source for information, insights and cultural experiences essential to living in our diverse, interconnected world.” [2] Several of its largest contributors include left-of-center organizations the Ford Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation. [3]

Background

The GroundTruth Project was originally founded in 2014 by journalists Steven Waldman and Charles Sennott. Based in Boston, MA, and functions as a part of the public television station WGBH Educational Foundation. The project is partnered with local news outlets including PRI’s The World, PBS Frontline and NBC News. [4]

The name “ground truth” derives from a term coined by NASA which refers to their method of parsing information. [5]

Aside from Report for America, GroundTruth Project operates several outlets for mass media production and distribution. These include GroundTruth Films, which focuses on developing and distributing web-based short form documentaries and feature documentaries, and GroundTruth Podcast, dedicated to online and streaming podcasts on issues including climate change and income inequality. [6] [7]

Report For America

Launched in January 2018, Report for America is an initiative of GroundTruth Project with a mission to “cover local news, recruit talented young journalists, and deploy them into local news organizations.” It was launched in January 2018, and currently has up to 60 staffers working within 50 local news outlets primarily left or center-left leaning including the Associated Press, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the San Jose Mercury News. [8] The goal of Report for America is to “place 1,000 reporters in community newsrooms in the next five years.” [9]

Among its financial supporters Report for America lists John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Facebook, the Google News Initiative, The Tow Foundation, Galloway Family Foundation, Dirk and Natasha Ziff, the Ford Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Select Equity Group Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the Arthur Blank Foundation, and the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, many of which are aligned with left-progressive donors and causes. [10]

Funding

Since 2014, GroundTruth Project has received $2,298,103 in grants from multiple center-left nonprofit foundations. Several of the largest grants were provided by foundations which include the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Galloway Family Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, the Select Equity Group, the Boston Foundation, the Further Forward Foundation Inc., and the Mary J. Donnelly Foundation. [11]

Leadership

Charles M. Sennott is the founder and current CEO of The GroundTruth Project. He had previously worked as a reporter for the New York Daily News and the Boston Globe, employed by the latter as bureau chief the Middle East and Europe between 1997 and 2005. [12] He was the co-founder of the digital news site GlobalPost, which formed the Groundtruth Project in 2014.

Steven Waldman is the co-founder of GroundTruth Project and the co-founder and current president of Report for America. Previously he had worked as National Editor of U.S. News & World Report and as National Correspondent for Newsweek before working as the senior advisor to the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. In addition, he co-founded both Beliefnet.com, a multifaith website, and LifePosts.com, a website for online memorials. [13]

Notable staffers

Kevin Douglas Grant is a co-founder and executive editor of GroundTruth Project as well as the vice president of Report for America. Previously, he had worked as the executive editor for digital media website Inform.com. [14]

Board of Directors

Christopher Bake is a member of the executive committee and head of origination for the energy company Vitol, as well as chairman of the global oil and petroleum provider VTTI.

Jim Bildner is the CEO of the philanthropic group Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DPK). Between 2014-2016, the DPK Foundation had provided up to $250,000 in grants towards dark money organization and Arabella-managed firm New Venture Fund. [15] [16]

David H. Feinberg is a founding member of the Los Angeles-based law firm Feinberg Law Group, started in 2002, and has worked with NY-based law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore as well as law firm Foley, Hoag & Eliot LLP. [17]

Alan Khazei is the founder of social nonprofit Be the Change Inc. as well as the former CEO of City Year, an educational organization and a program of civil society program AmeriCorps, which had been started under President Bill Clinton. [18]

Linda Mason is the co-founder of childcare organization Bright Horizons as well as Boston-based child welfare group Horizons for Homeless Children (HHC). [19]

Vivian Schiller is the CEO of media group Civil Foundation as well as the former CEO of center-left media group NPR and the Global Chair of News for Twitter. [20]

Calvin Sims is the CEO of nonprofit organization International House. From 2007-2013, he worked as a program officer for the left-wing Ford Foundation. [21]

Advisory Board

Lynsey Addario is an American photojournalist and has photographed for the New York Times, Fortune, and National Geographic. [22]

Deborah Amos is a reporter for NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Previously she reported for ABC’s Nightline and several PBS programs including Frontline. [23]

Justine Calma is a justice fellow for Grist, an environmentalist advocacy website which has received donations from left-leaning organizations including NEO Philanthropy, Kendeda Fund, and Surdna Foundation. [24][25]

Yuen-Ying Chan is a writer and founder of the Journalist and Media Studies Centre at Hong Kong University. She has additionally worked as a journalist for the New York Daily News and NBC News. [26]

H.D.S Greenway is a Navy veteran and is currently a journalist for the Boston Globe, with 50 years of journalism experience. [27]

Tracy Jarrett is a reporter and producer for left-of-center news organization Vice Media. [28]

Sebastian Junger is a journalist and filmmaker, writing the book The Perfect Storm and directing the Academy Award-nominated documentary film Restrepo. [29]

Gary Knight is a cofounder of GroundTruth Project and director of the program for narrative and documentary practice at Tufts University. [30]

Phillip Martin is a senior investigative reporter for WGBH News, a Boston-based news provider for PBS. [31]

Kerry Smith is the senior vice president of editorial quality for ABC News and is on the advisory board for left-leaning journalism organization ProPublica. [32]

Edwin J. Torres is a photojournalist and documentary photographer for GroundTruth Project and currently a staff photographer for the office of New York City Mayor  Bill de Blasio. [33]

Bob Woodruff is a news correspondent for ABC. [34]

References

  1. “About.” Report For America. Accessed October 28, 2019. https://www.reportforamerica.org/about/. ^
  2. “About PRI.” Public Radio International. Accessed October 15, 2019. https://www.pri.org/about-pri. ^
  3. “The GroundTruth Project Announces Two Foundation-Supported Correspondent Positions in Middle East and Africa.” Public Radio International. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-12-23/groundtruth-project-announces-two-foundation-supported-correspondent-positions. ^
  4. “The GroundTruth Project Announces Two Foundation-Supported Correspondent Positions in Middle East and Africa.” Public Radio International. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-12-23/groundtruth-project-announces-two-foundation-supported-correspondent-positions. ^
  5. “Mission.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/mission/. ^
  6. “GroundTruth Films.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/groundtruth-films/. ^
  7. “The GroundTruth Podcast.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/projects/podcast/. ^
  8. “2019 Newsrooms.” Report For America. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://www.reportforamerica.org/2019-news-organizations/. ^
  9. “Report For America Adds Nine Host News Organizations, Opens Application for Corps Members.” The GroundTruth Project, July 25, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/report-for-america-adds-nine-host-news-organizations-opens-application-process/. ^
  10. “Funders.” Report For America. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://www.reportforamerica.org/funders/. ^
  11. “GroundTruth Project: Grant Visualizer.” FoundationSearch. Accessed October 24, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4847521. ^
  12. “Charles M. Sennott.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/charlie_sennott/. ^
  13. “President and Co-Founder of Report for America.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 15, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/steve_waldman/. ^
  14. “Christopher Bake.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/christopher_bake/. ^
  15. “Jim Bildner.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/jim_bildner/. ^
  16. “New Venture Fund (NVF).” New Venture Fund (NVF). Accessed October 18, 2019. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/new-venture-fund/. ^
  17. “David H. Feinberg.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/david_feinberg/. ^
  18. “Alan Khazei.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/alan_khazei/. ^
  19. “Linda Mason.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/linda_mason/. ^
  20. “Vivian Schiller.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/vivian_schiller/. ^
  21. “Calvin Sims.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/calvin_sims/. ^
  22. El-Sawy, Tewfic. “Lynsey Addario: Darfur.” ::: The Travel Photographer ::: January 1, 1970. https://thetravelphotographer.blogspot.com/2007/09/lynsey-addario-darfur.html. ^
  23. “Deborah Amos, Author at The GroundTruth Project.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/deborah_amos/. ^
  24. “Justine Calma.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/justine_calma/. ^
  25. “Grist Magazine.” Influence Watch. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/grist-magazine/. ^
  26. “Yuen-Ying Chan.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/yuenying_chan/. ^
  27. “H.D.S. Greenway.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/david_greenway/. ^
  28. “Tracy Jarrett.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/tracy_jarrett/. ^
  29. Cameron, Judith B. “Ground Truth.” UMass Magazine, November 28, 2018. https://www.umass.edu/magazine/spring-2017/ground-truth. ^
  30. “Gary Knight.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/gary_knight/. ^
  31. Burke, Catherine. “WGBH News Senior Investigative Reporter Phillip Martin Wins 2017 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Investigative Reporting for Four-Part ‘Gangs of Nantucket’ Series.” WGBH News’ Phillip Martin Wins 2017 Sigma Delta Chi Award, May 9, 2018. https://www.wgbh.org/foundation/press/wgbh-news-senior-investigative-reporter-phillip-martin-wins-2017-sigma-delta-chi-award-for-best-investigative-reporting-for-four-part-gangs-of-nantucket-series. ^
  32. “Kerry Smith.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/kerry_smith/. ^
  33. “Edwin J. Torres, Author at The GroundTruth Project.” The GroundTruth Project. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/team/edwin_torres/. ^
  34. Gervais, Brittany. “World Press Freedom Day: ‘The Truth Will Never Go out of Business’.” The GroundTruth Project, May 26, 2019. https://thegroundtruthproject.org/world-press-freedom-day-the-truth-will-never-go-out-of-business/. ^
  35. “Articles of Amendment.” Massachusetts Secretary of State: GroundTruth Project. Filed December 12, 2013. Accessed October 8, 2019. http://corp.sec.state.ma.us/CorpWeb/CorpSearch/CorpSearchViewPDF.aspx ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Bob Woodruff
    Advisory Board Member
  2. Edwin J. Torres
    Advisory Board Member
  3. Steven Waldman
    Co-Founder, President of Report For America
  4. Christopher Bake
    Executive Board Member
  5. Jim Bildner
    Executive Board Member
  6. David H. Feinberg
    Executive Board Member
  7. Alan Khazei
    Executive Board Member
  8. Linda Mason
    Executive Board Member
  9. Vivian Schiller
    Executive Board Member
  10. Calvin Sims
    Executive Board Member
  11. Lynsey Addario
    Advisory Board Member
  12. Deborah Amos
    Advisory Board Member
  13. Justine Calma
    Advisory Board Member
  14. Yuen-Ying Chan
    Advisory Board Member
  15. H.D.S Greenway
    Advisory Board Member
  16. Tracy Jarrett
    Advisory Board Member
  17. Sebastian Junger
    Advisory Board Member
  18. Gary Knight
    Advisory Board Member
  19. Phillip Martin
    Advisory Board Member
  20. Kerry Smith
    Advisory Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,863,450 $1,358,009 $2,546,444 $53,349 N $2,863,450 $0 $0 $207,993 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,320,060 $740,867 $1,022,374 $34,720 N $1,320,060 $0 $0 $139,041 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990EZ $1,000 $872 $408,461 $408,333 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990EZ $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    The GroundTruth Project

    10 GUEST STREET
    BOSTON, MA 02135-2066