Return to Blog

Lessons from the Windy City: Financial Independence for Nonprofits


The Chicago News Cooperative closed  its doors for business this past Sunday. This nonprofit news organization provided news to The New York Times and competed with The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times as the top online media outlet for Chicagoans.

The reason for the closure: lack of diversified funding sources.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently changed the grants that the Cooperative could apply for, substantially reducing its financing. The Foundation was the second largest funder for the Cooperative, and The Times was reluctant to supply more funding to the media outlet. On February 21, the Cooperative’s editor, James O’Shea, announced in a letter to its readers that the organization would be suspending operations.

The Chicago News Cooperative's struggle is shared by other nonprofits across all focus areas. Financial independence keeps organizations in business. With that in mind, the Nonprofit Quarterly recently posted an article on how nonprofits can move toward financial independence. With six tips, NPQ offers ideas to organizations on how to move away from financial dependency and gain the knowledge to acquire more control over their resources.