The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press welcomes Chris Vachon as the first Lead Campaign and Major Gifts Manager. In this role, Vachon will focus on running the multi-year endowment campaign to raise $10 million to sustain the Reporters Committee’s Local Legal Initiative.
Launched last year, the Local Legal Initiative provides local journalists and news organizations in Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee with direct legal services to defend their rights to gather and report the news. The initiative is partially funded by a $10 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
“We are very excited to have Chris join our team. Her extensive fundraising experience and knowledge of the news industry will help us strengthen and grow our efforts to ensure that local journalists have the legal support they need to inform their communities,” said Bruce D. Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Chris will work closely with our Steering Committee and staff to lead our endowment campaign, and we are confident that these funds will allow us to sustain the Local Legal Initiative for years to come.”
As the Lead Campaign and Major Gifts Manager, Vachon will oversee the day-to-day planning, coordination and management of the endowment campaign to match the Knight Foundation’s $10 million investment in order to bolster the program beyond our two-year commitment in each jurisdiction. She will also work closely with the Reporters Committee development team to advance relationships with donors.
“I’m thrilled to join the Reporters Committee to help grow and sustain the Local Legal Initiative so that journalists across the country can access free legal services,” Vachon said. “I have long admired the Reporters Committee’s mission, and I’m excited to do my part to support journalists as they work to inform their communities and hold their local leaders accountable.”
Vachon joins the Reporters Committee from Investigative Reporters and Editors, where she was the director of partnerships for almost four years. There, she led efforts involving fundraising, grants, sponsorships, fellowships and partnerships.
Prior to IRE, Vachon worked with the Society of Professional Journalists for 14 years. As the associate executive director at SPJ, she focused on grant management, fundraising, conference planning and sponsorships. Vachon also cultivated partnerships and created training programs for journalists. She also brings experience as a former assistant dean of students at Purdue University.
Vachon earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ball State University in Indiana and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.