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About RCJF

Our Purpose

The River City Journalism Fund promotes civic engagement and education of the public through the dissemination of local news in the St. Louis region, and addresses the need for better representation of historically marginalized communities.

We will do this by:
  • Paying grants and stipends to freelance writers and non-traditional journalists based in the St. Louis metropolitan area to increase editorial and public interest coverage published by independent media outlets and made freely available
  • Making grants to support editorial headcount and paid fellowships and internships at journalistic outlets that serve the metropolitan St. Louis area, with a focus on journalists from historically marginalized communities
  • Conducting listening and engagement activities aimed at gaining a better understanding of the news and information needs of the communities of the metropolitan St. Louis area
  • Receiving gifts and grants, and using those gifts and grants for their proper purposes and activities that qualify as exempt under IRS code section 501(c)(3)

About Us

River City Journalism Fund is governed by a volunteer board of directors composed of community members who care about local journalism.

Sarah Fenske

Executive Director

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Big Lou Holdings, overseeing editorial content at five publications across the U.S., including St. Louis’ own Riverfront Times. She has more than 20 years of experience as a reporter, columnist and editor, including stints as the editor in chief of the LA Weekly and the RFT. Most recently, she served as host of St. Louis on the Air on St. Louis Public Radio and she continues to appear as an occasional panelist on Nine PBS’ Donnybrook. She and her husband are raising their two young daughters in the city of St. Louis.

About Us
Richard H. Weiss

Richard Weiss

Chair

Richard Weiss is an award-winning reporter, editor and writing coach with more than four decades of experience in St. Louis media, much of it at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In 2018, Weiss and fellow journalist (and spouse) Sally J. Altman founded Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson, a non-profit racial equity storytelling project, which merged operations with the River City Journalism Fund in 2022.

Michael A. Wolff

Board Member

Michael A. Wolff is an attorney, former Missouri Supreme Court judge and chief justice, and professor emeritus and former dean of Saint Louis University Law School. Wolff served for 13 years on the Supreme Court of Missouri, 1998 to 2011, including two years as chief justice 2005 to 2007. He returned to the faculty of Saint Louis University in 2011 and became dean of the law school in 2013, serving until 2017. He worked as senior advisor to newly elected St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell in 2019. Wolff’s legal career has included a wide variety of practice, litigation, academic, governmental and judicial experience. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Wolff worked during his time at the University of Minnesota Law School as a reporter for the Minneapolis Star (now the Star Tribune).

Michael H. Wolff
Evita Caldwell

Evita M. Caldwell

Board Member

Evita M. Caldwell is a public information officer for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. She served as the website and social media manager for Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson and has worked as a writer and freelance journalist for several media organizations in St. Louis in print, online and briefly on-air, including the Nine Network of St. Louis, St. Louis Public Radio, and KMOX. Her year-and-a-half long project “All Grown Up” examined the outcome of a multimillion-dollar civic effort to improve student academic outcomes at ten St. Louis Public Schools. Evita has also previously worked in healthcare as a pharmacy technician for Walgreens for seven years. She is a Vashon High School graduate and attended Jefferson Elementary, both of which are located in zip code 63106, the focus area for Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson’s racial equity storytelling project. She is also a member of the Regional Business Council’s Leadership 100 Network.

Caroline Fan

Board Member

Caroline Fan is the founder and president of the Missouri Asian American Youth Foundation. Her background is in community organizing and launching startups founded by women and founders and color. She began her career in the media shop of the AFL-CIO, and has worked on issues from immigration reform to transportation debt equity in over 10 cities. As a startup adviser, she has won civic tech competitions and judged startup competitions in places as far as Seoul, Korea. Caroline is deeply involved both locally and nationally, serving on boards and committees for institutions including the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Red Cross of Eastern Missouri, the Asian American Action Fund. As a teen, she was published in a women’s anthology alongside the late Representative Patsy Mink and civil rights journalist Helen Zia. She holds a BA in English and Asian Studies from Williams College and a MPA from Baruch College through the National Urban Fellows program.

Caroline Fan
Mark Sableman

Mark Sableman

Board Member

Mark Sableman, a former newspaper reporter, is a senior counsel at Thompson Coburn LLP in St. Louis, where his law practice focuses on media, intellectual property, and information technology law. He has taught Internet Law and First Amendment law at Washington University School of Law. He has written one book, More Speech, Not Less: Communications Law in the Information Age, and more than 20 law review articles and book chapters.

Laila Wolfgram

Board Member

Laila Wolfgram is an experienced IP attorney with Polsinelli PC. Her practice focuses on trademark selection, clearance, protection, and enforcement. She is skilled in global trademark portfolio management in a wide variety of industries including pharmaceuticals, animal nutrition, food and beverages, consumer products, technology, and cosmetics. She is also an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law where she teaches Trademark Practice.

Laila Wolfgram
Shannon Burke-Kranzberg

Shannon Burke-Kranzberg

Board Member

Shannon Burke-Kranzberg has worked across nonprofits, higher education and the corporate world for more than 15 years, with deep experience in building partnerships, fundraising, designing and managing programs, and driving meaningful stakeholder engagement.

She currently leads community and employee engagement efforts for Mastercard’s 4,000 St. Louis-based employees. Previously, she served for five years as the Director of Advancement for the Missouri School of Journalism, where she worked with major donors, foundations and other funders to support and advance the School’s professional newsrooms and educational experiences. She has also worked at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as the Partnership for Public Service and First Book in Washington, D.C. She began her career as an AmeriCorps volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in South Bend, Indiana. Shannon is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, and she also holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Missouri. She earned her Master’s of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from The George Washington University. She is a native St. Louisan and resides in University City with her husband, Josh, and dog, Gloria.

Cliff Froehlich

BOARD MEMBER

Cliff Froehlich comes to the River City Journalism Fund after a multi-faceted career in journalism and nonprofit leadership. Cliff previously served as executive director of Cinema St. Louis from 2001 to 2003 and then again from 2006 until his retirement in June 2022. Before committing to the film festival, Froehlich spent two decades working as a journalist in St. Louis, beginning as a freelance arts writer for the Riverfront Times and including staff positions at the RFT, St. Louis Magazine and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. To learn more about how you can support the River City Journalism Fund, contact him at [email protected].

Cliff Froehlich Head Shot (1)
Precious Barry board picture

precious barry

BOARD MEMBER

Precious Barry is a youth activist, public speaker and newly-minted author of a children’s book “Why I Use My Voice.” Precious started her career in advocacy and politics by interviewing local politicians and educating herself about history. After having success at a young age appearing at dozens of public forums and civic events, and serving as a student representative on the Riverview Gardens school board,, she has motivated thousands of youth to exercise their voice as well. Precious became RCJF’s first contributor to the Commentariat, a group of young people of color who are encouraged to have their work published in mainstream media. Her recent commentary in the St. Louis Post Dispatch — “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome” — drew a strong response on the Washington University campus where she is in the class of 2027.

denise hollinshed

BOARD MEMBER

Denise Hollinshed served two decades (1998-2019) as a general assignment and public safety reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch She started her journalism career in 1990 with the Belleville News-Democrat. Over the years, Denise focused on an array of social justice issues including child welfare, housing, affirmative action, and education. Denise accepted an assignment from Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson for its 63106 Project, which detailed the plight of the region’s most vulnerable citizens during the time of COVID. Her stories which appeared in the Riverfront Times in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022 focused on Beverly Jones, a community activist, who was resisting taking the COVID vaccine when it became available.

Outside of journalism, Denise is owner and operator of Eagle Eye Alpaca and Llama Haven, a traveling petting zoo since. 2008. She is currently writing children’s books based on her petting zoo creatures.

Denise Hollinshed photo
Hutter

tracy Hutter

BOARD MEMBER

Tracy M. Hutter is founder of Hutter CPA, LLC. The firm aims to bring financial clarity to businesses and nonprofit organizations to help them prosper and grow. Before creating her own agency, Tracy spent 10 years at public accounting firms where she worked with a variety of industries, most notably nonprofit, SaaS, start-up, and service industries. Before that, she worked for seven years as an office manager for a local sign business, where did everything from bookkeeping to CNC programming to most other administrative duties. She grew up in Florissant and live in Richmond Heights with her husband and young son.

christinia sneed

BOARD MEMBER

Christina Sneed is a proud wife, mother, educator, and religious leader with over sixteen years of education and teaching experience in the areas of English language arts, political science, speech communication, secondary education, communication: training and development, and educational leadership. She served as a guest contributor for the Pulitzer Center to demonstrate how educators could incorporate the New York Times’ 1619 Project into secondary classrooms. Inspired by The 1619 Project, Sneed developed the curriculum for the Gateway Journalism Review’s 1857 Project that chronicles the racialized history of St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois and centers events that happened in St. Louis that year as major shift points in American history. Before serving as an educational leader, Sneed worked on behalf of children and youth identified as runaway, homeless, and battling with various mental health crises with Youth in Need and the Department of Mental Health. Sneed is currently the curriculum coordinator for English language arts and reading instruction for the School District of University City.
 
Before serving as an educational leader, Sneed worked on behalf of children and youth identified as runaway, homeless, and battling with various mental health crises with Youth in Need and the Department of Mental Health.  Sneed is currently the curriculum coordinator for English language arts and reading instruction for the School District of University City.

 

Christina Sneed