The Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation is a not-for-profit organization created in 1980 to support programs that foster excellence in journalism, engage current and future newspaper leaders and invest in our communities. The foundation solicits, manages and disburses funds and other resources for the benefit of Wisconsin’s newspaper industry.
The WNA Foundation provides several opportunities to recognize the best of Wisconsin’s newspapers at the professional, collegiate and high school levels:
- Three daily and three weekly newspapers earn recognition as division winners in the annual Better Newspaper Contest. The top weekly and daily contest point-winners are honored as “Newspaper of the Year.”
- Winners of the General Excellence categories in the high school contest receive an additional prize of $1,000 each to support the newspaper. The William E. Branen Scholarships have been funding scholastic awards since 1999.
- Each year, the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame inducts industry leaders who have contributed above and beyond the call of duty to newspapers and newspapering in the state.
- The Future Headliners program honors emerging new leaders (age 30 and under) in the newspaper industry.
- The WNA Foundation pays tribute to deceased publishers each fall during the annual Trees Retreat in Eagle River. The names of approximately 600 former Wisconsin publishers are permanently etched into a granite monument at the Trees For Tomorrow campus, offering a space for family, friends and colleagues to pause and reflect on their contributions to the newspaper industry.
The WNA Foundation provides expert training for future and current journalists, including the education provided during the WNA’s annual convention. Training also includes the annual Trees Retreat; workshops and standalone sessions and webinars that are offered throughout the year.
The Foundation’s educational efforts also include:
- The WNA Foundation’s Bart Brown Mentoring Program funds the efforts of the national Journalism Education Association Mentoring Program high school newspaper and yearbook advisers. WNAF was the first state press association foundation to provide financial support to the JEA mentoring program back in 2007. The program has carried on since 2011 thanks to the generosity of the late Bart Brown, former publisher of the Ocononowoc Enterprise.
- WNAF’s Summer Internship Program supports students and WNA-member newspapers alike. The program offers financial support to newspapers to hire an intern and also assists in placing top-notch journalism students with some of the state’s most progressive news businesses.
- The Foundation provides financial support each year to students pursuing a career in the industry in the form of two $1,500 scholarships. The WNA awarded its first scholarship in 1956.