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Religious Literacy Project

by Religion News Foundation
Religious Literacy Project

To our community,

As we approach the halfway point of 2021, I want to extend my deep gratitude to you—our Religion News Service (RNS) supporters—for all the ways you contribute to furthering our mission. Because of you, RNS was able to accomplish the following milestones in recent months:

  • Building on a strong collaboration between RNS, the Associated Press, and The Conversation U.S., we launched our Religion Hub. The Hub, funded by the Lilly Endowment, works to increase significantly the volume and reach of high-quality news stories about religious faith and practice and the impact of religion in the U.S. and around the world.
  • We have been widely lauded for our ongoing and excellent coverage, specifically of the Southern Baptist Convention and the evangelical community. This coverage has been cited by such publications as the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and others. Our journalism continues to expand to under-covered faith communities, and our podcast, Saved by the City, has completed its first season to rave reviews.
  • We recently launched an internship program with Columbia Journalism School and the Institute of Nonprofit News, and a fellowship program with Interfaith Youth Core. We are thrilled to showcase the work of our upcoming interns and fellows over the next year as we nurture the next generation of religion journalists.

This is just a snapshot of what you enabled. As you can tell, it’s been a busy time for us – but we are just getting started.

Support from individuals like you creates the foundation for everything that RNS does. You allow us to serve as the most trusted resource for news, features and commentary about religion and spirituality and to champion quality religion news coverage. Thank you!

Stay tuned to hear more about the exciting work at RNS. 

With sincere thanks,

 Deborah Caldwell

CEO and Publisher

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Dear readers, 

I’m pleased to share the following update about the work of Religion News Foundation (RNF) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Religion News Service (RNS) from December 2020 to March 2021. We all know what a turbulent period this has been – and I am pleased to report that we have been working hard to make strides and continue providing excellent journalism to our readers.

We have focused our coverage in the last several months on several issues including the pandemic and the intersection between racial justice and religion. One article on Beth Moore leaving the Southern Baptist Convention, which the New York Times called a “bombshell interview,” is now the second-highest ranked article on our site by pageviews in our history. Further, we have expanded our coverage, particularly on paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. We are pleased to announce that we have brought on board Khyati Joshi as a columnist focusing on Hindus and Hinduism and Karen Swallow Prior as a columnist focusing on the evangelical community.

The second season of the RNS series “Anti-Racism as a Spiritual Practice” with host Simran Jeet Singh, has begun, and we recently launched a new podcast on faith in the Big Apple called “Saved by the City” with hosts Roxanne Stone and Katelyn Beaty. 

 We also are pleased to announce that RNS recently became a member of the News Revenue Hub, a nonprofit organization that helps its members understand its audience, develop membership programs and fundraising campaigns, automate time consuming processes, and adopt best practices. 

Our partnerships remain extremely important to us. We are very pleased to have worked with the Association of Religion Data Archives, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the Guru Krupa Foundation, the Institute for Nonprofit News, Interfaith Youth Core, the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Pulitzer Center, Sacred Writes, the Solutions Journalism Network, and University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.

Many exciting activities lie ahead, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Thank you for your support,

Deborah Caldwell

CEO, Religion News Foundation

Publisher, Religion News Service 

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Dear Readers:

I am pleased to share with you our update on the work of Religion News Foundation (RNF) and Religion News Service (RNS) from September to December 2020. During a difficult period for the country and the world, we have continued to work hard to provide our audience with objective, timely, and probing content that highlights the central role of religion and belief in people’s daily lives.  

During these past months, RNS has been providing a much-needed perspective on the coronavirus and resultant pandemic, including news and opinion coverage about the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. We also have provided timely and ongoing coverage about religion and race and racial justice initiatives, including articles on: churches’ reparations initiatives; “scholar strikes” for racial justice during which professors at major universities went on strike to protest racial discrimination and police brutality; and the role of white Christianity during the 2020 presidential election season. Further, thanks to a grant from Solutions Journalism Network, we published a series on faith-based get-out-the-vote efforts leading up to the election. Another series, made possible by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, supported our reporting on the changing nature of global faith-based social service support networks. 

We also are pleased to report that we are participating in the annual Newsmatch campaign.  We are grateful for the donations we receive from this campaign.  

2021 is just around the corner, bringing with it both significant challenges and exciting opportunities. After a long and difficult 2020, I am confident that the RNF and RNS teams will continue to work hard to bring you the excellent and objective coverage on religion and belief that you have come to expect from us.

Thank you for your support. Happy holidays, and stay safe. 

Deborah Caldwell

CEO, Religion News Foundation

Publisher, Religion News Service 


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Dear all,

I am very pleased to present to you the following report that covers June to September 2020. As you all know, this period of time has been one of immense upheaval and reckoning – both for the country and the world. We have been confronted by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic which has thrown our social, economic, health, and other systems into turmoil, and dramatically impacted people in the U.S. and worldwide.  The United States also is facing a long-overdue racial justice reckoning more powerful than many of us have ever seen. In short, this is a time of immense challenges, but also of immense opportunities. I am pleased to share that during this time, Religion News Foundation (RNF) and its subsidiary, Religion News Service (RNS) has sought to meet these challenges and opportunities head-on.

The volume of our output steadily is increasing. This year we already have produced more journalism than we did in the entirety of the last year. Our traffic is steadily growing. June 2020 set record-breaking traffic on our website, and ongoing efforts in marketing, communications, and outreach have led more audience members to visit our site and read our content. We predict a further increase in traffic leading to and following the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which we already have been covering extensively in both news and opinion content.

I am pleased to express our gratitude to our excellent funders – the Lilly Endowment, Solutions Journalism Network, and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting – and our partners – the Associated Press, The Conversation U.S., and the Association of Religion Data Archives. And, of course, I am always grateful for the support of you, our readers. We do what we do because we passionately believe in and love our work which we couldn’t do without your support. 

Thank you for your support. Stay safe,

Deborah Caldwell

CEO, Religion News Foundation

Publisher, Religion News Service


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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


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Organization Information

Religion News Foundation

Location: Columbia, MO - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @RNS
Project Leader:
Emily Churchill
Columbia, MO United States
$2,236 raised of $10,000 goal
66 donations
$7,764 to go
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