On the second day of EIJ 2019 conference in San Antonio, “ Communications for Social Change” session took a different turn as it dove into journalists turned philanthropists. Panelists included Theola DeBose from JSkills, Kayce Ataiyero from the Joyce Foundation and Kristen Mack from the MacArthur Foundation. Both organizations, located in Chicago, have become dedicated to tackling issues such as climate change, criminal justice reform and gun control. They each explained their experiences as journalists and how their career has evolved since that time. The session warranted a lot of good discussion but the question that kept coming up was , “ How can you take your journalism skills and use them in the philanthropy field?
Kaycee Ataiyero describes her experience in journalism as “taking a seat at multiple tables” but now she feels like her time in philanthropy has allowed her to “bring her own table.” Kaycee describes her career by saying she always asks herself,”How can society be better?” and working to solve that answer. Debose describes her thought process in transitioning to philanthropy as asking the same questions as a journalist but providing solutions. But the real question became how can we provide solutions? DeBose stressed the importance of listening to your community. When it comes to finding an organization to support DeBose says the best way to do this is to find an organization that has a shared lense of the problem. Ataiyero ends the session with an important backstory noting, “ I used to feel like I constantly was bringing my chair to someone else’s table, but now I feel like I can bring my on table.”