Apply to Join
Jun 26, 2020

RNF June Update: Religious Literacy Project

Hello, all,

March to June 2020 has been a time of great progress at Religion News Foundation (RNF) and its subsidiary, Religion News Service (RNS). I began my new position as RNF CEO and RNS Publisher on Monday, April 6, 2020. Judith Golub also stepped into the role of RNF Director of Strategy and Planning at that time.

In this last quarter, we have worked hard on editorial and business strategy development, assisted by our media strategy consultant Oliver Knowlton. We also have been hard at work on our website, improving our SEO and growing our traffic enormously. A story by Jack Jenkins on police expelling a priest from a church ahead of a photo op by President Trump set our all-time record for pageviews; it currently has over 840,000 pageviews on the site.

We are very proud of the excellent journalism that RNS is producing. This is a time of unprecedented challenge – both in the U.S. and around the globe. During this quarter, the ‘first wave’ of the coronavirus pandemic, which triggered a severe economic downturn, has sweep across the world.  Also during this quarter, protests across America and the world are taking place following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman.  These protests have sparked a vigorous debate about the inequalities African Americans are confronted with in policing and many other aspects of society.  Every step of the way, RNS’s reporters have been there, covering front line essential workers and protesters, raising important issues and covering the religion news angle in ways very few others would or could. I am proud of their hard work in capturing this enormously important moment.

We are deeply grateful for the support of our funders, collaborators, and partners. We cannot do our work without the support of organizations like the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Fetzer Institute, and Solutions Journalism Network.

 As well, we thank you, as always, for your support. This work is important, and we cannot do it without your help.


Deborah Caldwell

CEO, Religion News Foundation

Publisher, Religion News Service


Mar 26, 2020

RNF March Update: Religious Literacy Project

December 2019 to March 2020 has seen great strides at Religion News Foundation and Religion News Service. As noted in December’s update, we continue to work with the Associated Press (AP) and The Conversation U.S. on the global religion reporting initiative, made possible through a grant from the Lilly Endowment. This time period saw the publication of the first joint project under this collaboration: a series on deaf worship. More joint series are to come in 2020 – stay tuned! As always, we remain grateful for the support of the Lilly Endowment, and grateful to be working alongside the AP and The Conversation.

Our collaboration with the Kalamazoo, MI, based Fetzer Institute continues to be very strong. Articles written under this collaboration are on new forms of religious and spiritual life. In this time period, some topics covered include Beyoncé Mass, a Canadian clergy curling tournament, ‘Lent-ish’ practices, and more.

RNS news and opinion coverage on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been excellent. Our Vatican reporter, Claire Giangravè, has been reporting from Rome on the government shutdown, changes to services at the Vatican, and more. Last week, she held a Facebook livestream to document Catholic faithful praying the rosary at the request of Pope Francis. To see our complete coverage, visit

On Monday, March 23, we were pleased to announce via press release that our next Chief Executive Officer will be Deborah Caldwell. A seasoned media executive and award-winning journalist, Caldwell brings decades of leadership experience from corporations, national media and digital startups. Before her current role as vice president of content marketing at Bank of America, she built an e-commerce content marketing strategy for 22 digital magazine brands at Time Inc., created revenue-enhancing editorial initiatives, and led as managing editor. Her first day will be April 6.

As always, thank you for your support of the important work of RNF and RNS. We couldn’t do what we do without you.


Dec 30, 2019

RNF December Update: Religious Literacy Project

In this interim period, the Religion News Foundation (RNF) and Religion News Service (RNS) are pleased to continue our work with the Associated Press (AP) and The Conversation U.S. on the global religion reporting initiative, in which  our content is added to an enhanced religion news wire at the AP. This partnership is made possible through the Lilly Endowment. We are proud that several of our articles were selected to be sent out on the AP's "A-wire" to its 15,000+ media subscribers throughout the world. 

In addition, during this period, RNF/RNS and the Fetzer Institute have continued our collaboration that supports the creation of resources and articles related to new forms of spirituality. Some topics highlighted under this collaboration include a profile of Luke Putney and the healing power of music, an op-ed on positive thinking and the prosperity gospel, and an international news piece on virtual religious rituals for Greek ex-pats. 

We remain extremely grateful to the Lilly Endowment and the Fetzer Institute for their continued support of the important work of RNF and RNS.

Other notable updates of this period include the launch of a revamped RNS website, which was built by Distillery Creative, and I was welcomed as the new Interim CEO of RNF and RNS. In addition, Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 2019 marks our involvement in the NewsMatch campaign, where every donation is matched in full, up to $1,000. 

Thank you for your support. We look forward to a productive and exciting 2020. 

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.