About Us – Next City

Inspiring Equitable Cities

Next City is a nonprofit news organization that believes journalists have the power to amplify solutions and help spread them from one city to the next city.

Our mission is to inspire greater economic, environmental, and social justice in cities. Next City’s civic-minded reporting makes urban places more effective, equitable and sustainable. We supply changemakers with information that fuels their fight for low-income neighborhoods. Because we focus the world’s attention on good ideas that we hope will grow, some label us as “solutions journalism.” For us, it’s just what we’ve always done since we were founded by three college students and their network of volunteers in 2003. 

Emphasizing solutions, as we do at Next City, will give birth to more solutions. Research has found that when news stories discuss potential answers to problems, readers leave feeling more knowledgeable and empowered to solve them. Readers are statistically more likely to act, to donate to support an organization, and to evolve their opinion. Where solutions journalism is healthy, America has more informed and engaged communities. And when solutions are plentiful, so will our lives be in the city. 

Next City publishes hundreds of stories on solutions to urban issues every year. We also compile our best reporting into ebooks, host webinars with practitioners who share lessons from their work, and convene live events such as our annual Vanguard Conference for rising urban leaders. More than 500 Vanguard alumni are working today around the globe.

Originally named The Next American City, the organization began publishing a quarterly magazine in 2003. What started as a black-and-white printed publication staffed by volunteers ultimately grew into a popular and influential magazine that reached 1 million people over the course of its 31 issues. Today, Next City is a trusted voice on urban policy, reaching more than 2 million influential doers and changemakers via Next City's website annually. Another 150,000 follow coverage on social media, and 50,000 subscribe to newsletters. All are in search of ways that cities can be reimagined as truly equitable and inclusive. 

In an age when original, on-the-ground reporting is increasingly rare, we send our writers into urban communities to produce our award-winning fact-finding and storytelling. Next City is an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit that adheres to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

We are dedicated to producing journalism that is accurate, transparent, fair and impactful. 

Next City is supported by a diversified business model that includes grant support from foundations, donations by individuals, corporate sponsorships or underwriting, advertising and events. Find more information on how to advertise with us in our media kit. All underwritten or sponsored content is clearly and obviously labeled. We do not accept sponsorships, underwriting or ads from organizations that we believe could undermine our mission or integrity. We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities and to support coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. Past and present supporters, including sustaining members, major donors and corporate sponsors, can be found here.

The newest information about what's happening at Next City can be found on our Press page. If you are interested in inviting Next City to join your next event or in booking a reporter as a guest, please reach out through our Meet the Experts page.

Next City deeply appreciates its current funders: Surdna Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Citi Community Development and National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), as well as our many other generous donors across the country. Support Next City’s work by making a 100% tax-deductible donation today.

Our Staff

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    Executive Director

    Lucas is the former President of Pride Media and led LGBTQ brands The Advocate, Out magazine, PRIDE.com, Out Traveler, Chill magazine, and Plus magazine. Grindley was also editor in chief of The Advocate, the longest running LGBTQ magazine in the country. In both 2016 and 2018, NLGJA honored Grindley as “LGBT Journalist of the Year” with its Sarah Pettit Memorial Award. From 2008 through 2011, he was managing editor for online at National Journal magazine, covering politics and policymaking in Washington, D.C. He now lives in Philadelphia with his husband and twin daughters. He also serves on the board of directors for Extraordinary Families, a nonprofit helping create more families like his through foster-adoption. Follow him on Twitter @lucasgrindley.

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    Editorial Director

    Before joining Next City, Kelly worked for two decades in magazines, books, and digital publishing. As an editorial manager at Google, she assembled and directed content teams that prototyped and launched the Destinations at Google travel channel, as well as the Explore recommendation engine on Google Maps. As editorial director of the Frommer's Travel Guides, she launched a color publishing program and managed a list of about 125 books per year. She is a longtime freelance editor and writer, specializing in science, travel, educational publishing, and dream interpretation. She holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. Follow her on Twitter @kellyaregan.

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    Senior Editor

    Rachel became Senior Editor after years of contributing to Next City. Before joining Next City full-time, she freelanced as a writer and editor for The Washington Post, SmithsonianMag.com, National Geographic, DCist, and other outlets. In addition to her work on transit, housing, and the environment, she has written about mermaid conventions and edited work about exploding billiards balls, among many other stories. Rachel lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and a continually rotating cast of foster kittens. She is a member of the Greater Greater Washington Editorial Board. She secretly likes riding dockless scooters. Follow her on Twitter @rkaufman.

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    Events Director

    Sara is a marketing and events mastermind with more than 10 years of experience supporting small businesses, artists and nonprofits. She has worked with artists to donate tooth-related artwork for a dental surgery fundraiser, planned a flash mob for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and raised money for children orphaned by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. At Next City, she has organized several years of the Vanguard Conference for rising urban leaders.

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    Development Manager

    Before joining Next City, Jeff was the Communications Director for Healthcare-NOW!, a carpenter, and a community member of Leavenhouse (a Catholic Worker community that provides food and housing for the homeless) in Camden, New Jersey. He has a B.A. in Urban Studies and Regional Planning from Rutgers University-Camden and a M.A. in Regional, Economic, and Social Development from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

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    Integrated Sales and Marketing Coordinator

    Since graduating from Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C., Eleanor has worked in administrative positions for a variety of organizations including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Old St. Joseph’s, Philadelphia’s first Catholic church. She continues to practice art in her studio, and uses her creative skill set to seek advertisers and underwriters for Next City.

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    Audience Engagement Editor

    Melissa is a multimedia journalist, techie, and recent Temple University graduate. The Philly native began her freelance career in 2012 and has since written for a host of Philadelphia-based news outlets including XPN the Key, Technical.ly Philly, and Grid Magazine. In addition to her media work, she has over five years of experience in information technology. Currently, Melissa explores her creative side through photography, publication design, and writing creative non-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @melsimpson215.

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    Senior Economics Correspondent

    Oscar covers policies, programs and businesses that seek to address historical disparities in access to jobs, capital and space for economic use in cities. He previously served as Next City’s editor from 2018-2019, and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015-2016. Since 2011, Oscar has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing, equitable and inclusive economies, affordable housing, fair housing and more for media outlets such as Shelterforce, B Magazine, Impact Alpha, and Fast Company. Oscar holds a B.A. in Economics from Villanova University. Follow him on Twitter @oscarthinks.

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    Housing Correspondent

    Jared is Next City's housing correspondent, based in Philadelphia. He is a former staff writer at Philadelphia magazine and PlanPhilly, and his work has appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, Landscape Architecture Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Philadelphia Weekly, and other publications. He leads the Backyard newsletter on housing equity for Next City. Follow him on Twitter @jaredbrey.

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    Equitable Cities Fellow

    Valerie is a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow and a freelance writer. She travels extensively throughout the United States. Her work has appeared in Bloomberg, Columbia Journalism Review, In These Times, and Politico, among many other outlets. She is a former news editor of High Times magazine, and the former editor-in-chief of Detroit’s alt-weekly, the Metro Times.

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    Web Developer

    Derek has been building (and rebuilding) the Next City website since 2007 out of his humble abode in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he designs and builds websites and custom code for publishers, artists, and nonprofits at home and abroad. Follow him on Twitter @mrherbivore.

How We Change Cities

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    Use our sources to identify innovative solutions in cities.

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    Expert reporters tell the stories of people creating change and detail how it’s happening.

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    Share those stories with our network of doers and changemakers in communities online and on the ground.

  • 4

    Grow our network and encourage knowledge-sharing with our ebooks, webinars and live events.

  • 5

    Foster the next generation of urban leaders with educational and energizing programming that connects them with each other.

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Who We Reach

Next City connects the people who make up the social, economic and cultural fabric of our cities. Surveys consistently show that 74% of readers use Next City’s journalism in their jobs. What is that job? More than 80% say they or their organizations work to achieve greater racial equity.

  • Community voices and advocates
  • Nonprofits
  • Academics and students
  • Local and federal government
  • Business and civic leaders

Board of Directors

  • Eric Shaw, Chair, San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development
  • Casius Pealer, Vice Chair, Tulane University
  • Efrem Bycer, Treasurer, LinkedIn
  • Tamar Shapiro, Secretary, New Urban Mobility Alliance
  • Kate Didech, Symbium: The Computational Law Company
  • Adam Giuliano, Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell
  • Jason Schupbach, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University
  • Jess Zimbabwe, Chair Emeritus, Plot Strategies
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