Ethics Photo credit: The Salt Lake Tribune

Fundraising & Gift Acceptance Policies

The Utah Journalism Foundation (the Foundation) has been established to support the long-term sustainability and growth of independent news in Utah. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors independent from that of The Salt Lake Tribune. The two Boards have one Board member in common. Funds from The Utah Journalism Foundation will make grants to programs that support and strengthen local journalism in Utah, including The Salt Lake Tribune.

Independence and accountability to the public are the core principles that guide gift acceptance for The Utah Journalism Foundation. The following guidelines describe the values, standards and practices held by the organization as it seeks, accepts and distributes financial support.

Professional standards and ethics

The Utah Journalism Foundation will require all journalism-related grant recipients to adhere to the standards set forth in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

Support for The Utah Journalism Foundation's mission

The Utah Journalism Foundation will make every effort to be transparent about its relationships with the public and donors. To this end:

  • A complete list of donors is provided on The Utah Journalism Foundation’s website.
  • Any donor who wishes to remain anonymous will be noted as such in public reporting.
  • The Utah Journalism Foundation will post its IRS Form 990 and other public documents on its website.

The mission of The Utah Journalism Foundation is to establish an endowment that will provide long-term support to organizations and activities that support independent local journalism, including The Salt Lake Tribune. To accomplish this mission, The Foundation may seek financial support for reporting and special projects. However, no donor or gift will influence, or have the right to influence, the recipient organization's reporting on issues, people or organizations. To ensure this critical independence, The Foundation and its grant recipients, including The Salt Lake Tribune, must adhere to the following standards:

  • Governing bodies: The Utah Journalism Foundation greatly values the service offered by its board members, advisory boards and donors. The Foundation requires a strict firewall between grant recipients and any governing bodies, advisers and/or donors to ensure that they will have no more influence on editorial decision-making than any other member of the public.
  • Editorial control: The editor of any entity receiving support from The Foundation will have full editorial control on all stories, columns and photographs published.
  • Disclosures: When any grant recipient writes about any issue involving a board member or major donor (as defined by the grantee), or cites either as an expert source, or reports on topics specifically supported by a board member or major donor, grant recipients will be required to disclose any such relationship to readers.
  • Grants: The Foundation’s Executive Director leads the process when seeking gifts and grants. When evaluating whether to seek gifts or sponsorships from individuals, corporations or foundations, the Director is responsible for ensuring that the ethics and standards outlined in this document are met. If there are opportunities that may create conflict with these values, the Executive Director will discuss these cases with the Board of Directors.
  • Transparency: The Utah Journalism Foundation's website will include information about budget (including the amount of funding spent on fundraising and administrative costs) and sources and uses of revenue, as well as information about board and advisory council composition, staffing and donors. The Foundation will post its federal tax returns as well as regular reports on the work made possible by this support and its impact.

Public Acknowledgement of Sponsorships

The Utah Journalism Foundation may host educational events and forums, and will seek the support of individuals, corporations and foundations as it provides these programs for readers and the public. Sponsors may be publicly acknowledged in the following ways:

  • Logo placement on printed products, such as programs, supported by a donor.
  • Logo placement on the Utah Journalism Foundation website.

Editorial Independence

The Utah Journalism Foundation may also seek and accept funding to support or augment specific areas of reporting. For example, it may receive funds to support local news in under-served localities or populations. As with other gifts and grants, The Foundation is committed to transparency and independence. The Foundation will seek out, accept and award grants only to the extent that such grants give the editorial body or journalists full control over what is published. In other words, no donor—not even The Foundation itself—will have any role in deciding which stories reporters pursue or write.

The Utah Journalism Foundation reserves the right to decline funding from any source that is not in alignment with its nonprofit mission. The Utah Journalism Foundation does not have a list of individuals, corporations or foundations from whom it would not accept a donation. Instead, the Executive Director, in consultation at times with the Board of Directors and others, considers each situation and opportunity and makes a decision with The Foundation’s mission and the public interest in mind. Because of the absolute centrality of the public’s trust, The Foundation will not accept gifts from any entity or person that seeks or expects control over its work or that of its grantees.

As the Executive Director and, when appropriate, the Board of Directors considers a grant or gift, it also keeps in mind the following guidelines:

  • The Utah Journalism Foundation will not accept funding for an activity that is not in line with its mission.
  • The Utah Journalism Foundation does not accept funding from corporations or individuals whose reputations or actions could call The Foundation’s reputation or actions into question, or from those whose actions show a disrespect for the First Amendment or the freedom of the press. In any case that raises concerns of this nature, the Executive Director will bring the potential donation to the Board of Directors for discussion and action.

Approved by the Board of Directors on December 16, 2019.

Download a PDF of our Ethics Statement