Scalawag is a journalism and storytelling organization that illuminates dissent, unsettles dominant narratives, pursues justice and liberation, and stands in solidarity with marginalized people and communities in the South. Online, in person, and through our family of engaged members, Scalawag reimagines the roots and futures of the place we call home.
The stories we tell matter and move conversations forward. Our programs create rich connections among Southerners and throughout the South: between writers and readers, changemakers and communities; from urban to rural, from local to state. Together, we lay the groundwork for social change.
Our theory of change
- Right relation: We are in a generative, reciprocal relationship with community, organizers, and movements.
- Community-driven reporting: Our reporting and storytelling is informed and driven by the needs of our community including our partners. Our community trusts us to share their stories and as a source of information because of the relationships we’ve built with them.
- Outcomes: Storytelling or reporting leads to policy changes, support to movement work, narrative shift, increased solidarity and connection, the nourishing of radical imagination, and the creation of pathways to careers in journalism, literature and the arts to people who have not traditionally had access.
- Impact: Repeated outcomes from Scalawag and other reporting media makers in conjunction with the work of movements leads to transformational change
How we work
In 2019, we paid 135 different authors from the region, totaling over $46,000 dollars. We hosted seven free events in Durham, Atlanta, and Birmingham, paid dozens of local artists, performers, and speakers, costing over $13,000. For a small team of six, that ain't nothing to snuff at!
As a 501(c)3, we depend on individual donors and foundations to support our work. It is important that our communities see Scalawag as a valuable collaborator and comrade in the struggle for justice. Our goal by 2021 is for monthly gifts from members to cover 25% of our total operating budget. Joining Scalawag as a member makes that possible.
Until 2017, we did this work with less than $50,000 a year. The entire Scalawag team worked as volunteers, even as we have paid every writer and photographer. Our team is now beginning to be paid—even as we expand and many of us work on part-time basis. We work with partners of all kinds—journalists, community organizers, and national networks like the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Media Consortium.
Scalawag's impact is not only in its journalism. We believe that Scalawag can be a home that mentors and supports a new generation of Southern writers, editors, and nonprofit leaders committed to an equitable and just South. With support from members who give $5/mo and institutional support from places like the Membership Puzzle Project and the Lenfest Institute, we're growing Scalawag's impact—and punching above our weight.
You can mail inquiries, donations, or pitches to Scalawag, PO Box 129, Durham, NC 27702, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.