January 2016–Present


The Purpose

The SPIRE CoLab is a partnership between philanthropy and journalism that inspires communities throughout the nation to take action through solutions journalism, which focuses on responses to social issues. It reflects the brave new world of journalism where it no longer takes a printing press for a story to have widespread and immediate impact. The content of SPIRE CoLab initially is focused on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a movement to ensure all children read on grade level by the end of third grade.

Strengthening the Impact

The Patterson Foundation and the Herald-Tribune Media Group are collaborating to innovate and experiment in media, philanthropy, and community engagement. The Herald-Tribune Media Group's newsroom manages the day-to-day operations of SPIRE CoLab. It operates as an independent news initiative aimed at providing media organizations with content and engagement tools that could benefit their respective communities.

FAQs Click on frequently asked questions below to learn more about this initiative...

Why does The Patterson Foundation support this initiative?

The Patterson Foundation believes in strengthening the efforts of people, organizations, and communities. The SPIRE CoLab inspires people and organizations to take action on relevant issues, such as grade-level reading, in a way that creates a more successful future for all communities.

What is the Herald-Tribune Media Group’s role with SPIRE CoLab?

SPIRE CoLab is a national initiative that will develop and share multimedia packages, engagement practices, and resources with media organizations across the country. The Herald-Tribune Media Group is providing leadership, capacity, and journalism professionals who contribute to the SPIRE CoLab.

Where does the acronym SPIRE come from?

SPIRE stands for Syndicate, Partner, Innovate, Resolve, Engage:

  • Syndicate reflects the capability of the partnership to collect and distribute pertinent information through media.
  • Partner reflects the unique partnerships involved in the SPIRE CoLab: the Herald-Tribune Media Group and The Patterson Foundation; the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and its participants; and the readers and their stories.
  • Innovate reflects the emergence of a new way of sharing information among stakeholders and concerned parties.
  • Resolve is required to advance a cause.
  • Engage represents the active participation and resulting actions of all people involved.

What key priorities drive the SPIRE CoLab?

  • Be a motivator: Draw upon the power of transmedia storytelling to motivate audiences to engage and drive community change.
  • Be a syndicator: Deliver meaningful and customizable story packages of interest to media partners throughout the United States by recognizing the changing media landscape offers opportunities to push content to a larger audience.
  • Be an innovator: Create new methods and innovative practices that spur community engagement/action.
  • Be a collaborator: Develop solutions-based ways and best practices for media and community thought leaders to raise awareness and align action.

What issues does the SPIRE CoLab look at?

The SPIRE CoLab will examine relevant social issues. In this inaugural endeavor, it will focus on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, for which The Patterson Foundation is a national enterprise funder. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a national collaborative effort based on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation: reading at grade level by the end of third grade to create a more promising future for children. The pilot effort will focus on the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Manatee and Sarasota counties in Florida.

How is the SPIRE CoLab different from traditional news media?

Traditional news media often examines an issue but may not address responses to it. The SPIRE CoLab engages communities to take action on relevant issues by sharing a more complete story, providing depth of information, and providing opportunities that empower people to take action.

How can I contact the SPIRE CoLab?


Who can I contact about the SPIRE CoLab initiative?

For more information, contact initiative consultant Deborah Gauvreau:

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