Acton Exchange Accepted for Full Membership in the Institute for Nonprofit News

March 28, 2024
Image credit: INN

On Friday, March 15, the Acton Exchange leadership received the news that the organization had been admitted for full membership and became eligible for fiscal sponsorship with the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN). INN is a membership organization that connects and supports non-profit news organizations that provide journalism in the public interest. For start-up organizations such as the Acton Exchange, INN provides mentorship, access to resources and training, and other services to help our writers, editors, tech team and board do their work better.

In announcing the news to the Acton Exchange volunteer team, Board President MaryHelen Gunn-Laurence wrote: “We have reached a long-anticipated, very exciting, and game-changing milestone! With INN membership, we join a nationwide network of peer organizations, linked by our dedication to the vital part that accountable local news plays in sustaining civil democracy. We get to train and converse as peer leaders in this space for as long as we remain members.”

The Acton Exchange team began working towards INN membership last summer. To be eligible for full membership, the team had to demonstrate that the organization is producing high-quality and original journalism in the public interest; commit to following the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics; develop policies on donor transparency, editorial independence, and conflict of interest; incorporate as a Massachusetts non-profit corporation; form a board of directors and elect officers; and develop a budget and business plan. 

To meet INN’s high standards for independence in editorial decision-making, AE’s interim editor-in-chief, Franny Osman, resigned all of her Town committee memberships. In explaining this decision to the Select Board at their February 26 meeting, Osman said, “… for ethical reasons and to make a clear separation from the Town, as one of the leaders of Acton Exchange, since the Acton Exchange reports on Town government, I’ve decided to leave all my Town committees that I have volunteered on for the last nineteen years: the Cemetery Commission, the Commission on Disabilities, the Transportation Advisory Committee, the South Acton Village Advisory Group …”

Under “Fiscal Sponsorship” INN will provide fiduciary oversight, financial management, and administrative services to the Acton Exchange throughout the process of becoming a tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)3. After we have secured INN Fiscal Sponsorship, donations will become tax-deductible.

Kim Kastens is a volunteer writer and editor for the Acton Exchange and is on the board of directors.

CORRECTION, April 9, 2024:  The article has been edited to clarify that the Acton Exchange has become eligible for fiscal sponsorship with INN, and that after we have achieved that status, donations will become tax-deductible.  The original text implied that the fiscal sponsorship was already in place, but in fact the legal status is still in progress as of this date. 


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