Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

APSE laying the groundwork for foundation

By Frank Bonner II
SJI Class of 2019

With an eye toward promoting diversity in sports journalism, APSE has expanded its diversity fellowship program and is looking into the possibility of creating the APSE Diversity Foundation.
The foundation would be a 501(c)(3) non-profit that could receive tax-deductible charitable donations to fund educational initiatives emphasizing diversity. Creating the foundation could boost donations because donors would receive a tax break for contributions.
“By not having a foundation, APSE is not able to accept tax-free donations for educational purposes, such as the APSE Diversity Fellowship program,” said Michael Anastasi, founder of the fellowship and past president of APSE. “This has really been a big handicap for the organization.”
The APSE Diversity Fellowship annually trains a diverse group of journalists, with the hope the training will springboard them into leadership roles in the business. Donations have been crucial in funding and growing the program, which this year expanded from five to six participants.
Past president Tommy Deas, who has been involved in discussions about the possibility of creating a foundation, says it’s all about adding to diversity in the business.
“That was kind of the first step in the direction of how can we create more diverse candidates in our profession and help diverse candidates reach their goals,” Deas said. “I think we’ve done a good job of that within the Diversity Fellowship program, but we think we can expand its reach greatly once we create a foundation.”
The idea for a foundation was presented in February at the Winter Meetings. Deas said there was no opposition from the group, and that the groundwork is continuing, though there are important wrinkles to be ironed out, such as orchestrating the bylaws and choosing a board of directors.
Although people involved with APSE are working on creating the foundation, APSE would not oversee it, Deas said. Instead, it would be run by an independent board of directors.
The foundation also still needs approval from the IRS to become a 501(c)(3) entity. APSE Executive Director Bill Eichenberger said that process typically takes about two or three months.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that once we get everything together that it will be approved,” Eichenberger said. “A lot of journalism foundations and other foundations that are concerned about increasing diversity will be able to make tax-deductible contributions to APSE. That’s not an option so much when you’re a 501(c)(6). That’s the reason behind making the change.”
A mission statement has yet to be constructed, and while Anastasi said the foundation might have several objectives, the No. 1 goal would be to support diversity in sports journalism. Deas reiterated that point.
“This is a good and necessary step in the evolution of the mission of APSE, which is to promote strong journalism with high ethical standards and to help and train other journalists, specifically with an eye to diversity,” Deas said.