Religion News Foundation

aka ReligionLink, Religion News Association, Religion Stylebook, Religion News Service   |   Columbia, MO   |  www.religionnewsfoundation.org

Mission

RNF is an independent, educational, and secular charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We offer resources and training to help the public, nonprofits, governments, academics, and journalists understand how religion shapes our world.

Ruling year info

2017

Chief Executive Officer

Deborah Caldwell

Main address

30 Neff Annex

Columbia, MO 65211 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Religion Newswriters Foundation

EIN

31-1650883

NTEE code info

Printing, Publishing (A33)

Interfaith Issues (X90)

Professional Societies & Associations (B03)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Religion News Foundation (RNF) seeks to address that while religion is an important force–and holds a special place–in American life, the media does not cover it with the attention & insight it deserves. News outlets only fleetingly capture the power & poignancy religion holds in people’s personal lives, & the potency it carries in our communal religious lives. The result is that some stories never get told–and if they are, they are often inadequately told. RNF believes that we lose a vital understanding of ourselves as a people if these stories go untold, especially as America becomes more religiously diverse and politically divided, with faiths & spiritual beliefs playing a polarizing role. This lack of coverage is due largely to two reasons: many newsroom leaders understand neither religion’s importance nor its nuance in American life, & journalism is under enormous pressure to survive the digital disruption of the last 20 years that has reduced most newsrooms to skeletal staffs.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Religion News Service

One of RNF's entities is the Religion News Service, a secular newswire based in Washington, D.C., that delivers original daily news content to more than 100 media subscribers

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of users acquired through organic search

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of unique website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of return website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of new website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of website pageviews

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of website sessions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of users acquired through social channels

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of newsletter offerings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Average page load time in seconds

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Total unique searches on site

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Religion News Service

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Religion News Foundation (RNF) seeks to support religion journalism and religion journalists in order to improve the public conversation about religion’s role in American life. Central to such support is increasing both RNS’s audience and revenue, and revenue diversification, by:

• Continuing to build traffic to our website through an audience growth plan, beginning with improvements in search engine optimization and technical fixes and then broadening the content mix. Additional traffic to our website translates into more excellent reporting reaching a wider audience; it also generates increased revenue through ad placements and revenue which, in turn, allow RNS to support religion journalism and journalists;

• Building out the recently relaunched RNS website by broadening style and content types, while keeping our bedrock trusted journalism;

• Distributing RNS journalism on additional media platforms, especially those with large audiences;

• Continuing to develop relationships with funders in various sectors, developing fundraising and outreach materials, and working on grant application submissions; and

• Allocating the time of current staff to create this foundation for change.

Religion News Foundation (RNF) works to achieve these goals through its creation of events, resources, and workshops for journalists at large, the development and support of excellent religion journalism at its wholly-owned subsidiary, Religion News Service (RNS), and the empowerment and training of highly skilled religion journalists through its support of the Religion News Association (RNA).

RNF partners with other organizations such as universities and nonprofits to enhance religious literacy through journalism. RNF also:

• Hosts events to educate the public about how faith intersects with the issues of the day; and

• Envisions providing discussion space for academics, celebrities, business leaders, clergy, politicians, community leaders, journalists, and others to probe the relationship between religion and health, politics, economics, entertainment, the environment, technology, and other issues.

RNF models trustworthy, unbiased religion journalism through its wholly owned subsidiary, RNS. RNS is an 80+ year old news operation dedicated to excellent secular and non-proselytizing news and opinion about religion. RNS covers a wide range of beats, from arts to science to politics and more, and every major faith tradition, as well as “nones,” atheists, and agnostics.

RNF works with journalists to improve their coverage of religion through training, workshops, meetings, and programs, as well as resources including the Religion Stylebook and the ReligionLink source guide database.

RNF also helps support RNA, the professional association for those who report on religion in the news media. In 2020, RNF created a journalist relief fund to support religion reporters facing economic challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and changes in the media industry.

At a time when many media outlets and organizations have been forced to shut down, Religion News Foundation is growing and evolving to the rapidly changing world of news media. Examples include:

• Expanding the offerings of Religion News Service (RNS) to include more multimedia pieces and more coverage of the rapidly expanding “nones” demographic: those without a religious affiliation who largely identity as “nothing in particular” but often have strong spiritual beliefs;

• Creating partnerships with other news organizations and journalism groups to encourage the distribution of religion stories and growth of the religion journalism beat in newsrooms across the country; and

• Moving RNS to a digital-first media operation.

Religion News Foundation (RNF) and Religion News Service (RNS) are in a period of rapid growth and exciting change, with new RNF programs being developed and the RNS website experiencing record-breaking traffic. We also have just relaunched our website with a clean, modern design. RNS reporters are going beyond spot news reporting to offering consistent content on major faiths, and generating more consumable, quick takes on religion in America.

Thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., RNF is partnering with the Associated Press (AP) and The Conversation U.S. (TCUS) to create a global religion reporting initiative by which RNS religion news reaches tens of thousands more readers globally through the AP’s wire service. Further, RNS is continually expanding to offer coverage of new beats in the field of religion and more in-depth coverage on important issues including the 2020 elections, protests for racial justice, and the COVID-19 pandemic. RNS also is growing its multimedia offerings to include more podcasts and videos, such as our new “Anti-Racism as a Spiritual Practice” series.

In this period of transition, we are keeping our eye to the future to determine where we may expand our initiatives to cover more pressing issues and cover them in-depth, and generate a larger audience and resulting revenue. These efforts include: providing more how-to journalism to our audience; partnering with more newsrooms and journalism associations across the globe; and providing more diverse coverage of religion.

Financials

Religion News Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Religion News Foundation

Board of directors
as of 3/30/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Muhammed Chaudhry

Ken Chitwood

Nicole Neroulias Gupte

Peter Smith

Betsy Shirley

Tom Levinson

John Turner

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/19/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data