AOL and Patch Launch Patch.org, a Charitable Foundation to Support Local News and Professional Journalism in Underserved Communities
Foundation Will Help Fund Patch News and Information Sites in Towns and Neighborhoods That Need Them Most
NEW YORK, NY – March 24, 2010 – AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) and its subsidiary Patch Media Corporation today announced the launch of Patch.org, a charitable foundation to support crucial access to trusted local news and information in underserved communities. Patch.org will partner with community foundations and other organizations to launch Patch sites and bring objective local news and information to communities and neighborhoods around the world that lack adequate news media and online local information resources.
Funding and other support will sustain local sites modeled on AOL's growing hyper-local Patch platform, now available in 41 U.S. communities. For each of the sites launched through Patch.org, a professional local journalist will produce original objective news and information about the area and curate user-contributed events, announcements, photos and video. Patch.org will also consider funding and partnership requests for other appropriate projects.
Any profits derived from Patch.org-funded sites will be returned to the communities they serve.
"In a shifting media landscape, the loss of local and community newspapers has created a troubling gap in some communities making reliable objective news and information about critical issues such as local government, schools and services unavailable," said Warren Webster, President, Patch Media. "Patch.org will empower residents of these neighborhoods with professional journalism, data and information to help shed light on the issues that are so important to their daily lives."
Patch.org will be managed with the support of Patch Media. A board of directors will be formed for the Foundation that will include leaders in media and community organizations to oversee Patch.org's work. The charitable foundation will operate in conjunction with Patch's Give 5 program, which donates advertising space and employee volunteer time to charitable organizations in local communities.
"Patch is one of AOL's core offerings in local, and we couldn't be more excited to launch Patch.org to fill a need in underserved communities," said Jon Brod, Executive Vice President of AOL Ventures, Local & Mapping. "You cannot serve a community unless you provide the help it needs most, which is why giving back is so important to Patch. Citizens, local businesses and community organizations increasingly rely on the Web to find information about what is happening in their communities – and Patch.org's driving belief is that no community should be deprived of its right to information on economic grounds."
Patch is a local content and advertising platform. Patch currently operates 41 community-focused sites serving towns in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and California, where four more communities – Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Danville and San Ramon – recently joined the network. The first Patch site in Massachusetts will go live at the end of March, with up to 15 more Massachusetts sites expected to be launched in the following three months. Patch is making an important investment in local journalism by placing professional journalists in each town it serves to encourage community participation and provide original, trusted coverage for each individual town. For more information about Patch, go to www.patch.com.
AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is a leading global Web services company with an extensive suite of brands and offerings and a substantial worldwide audience. AOL's business spans online content, products and services that the company offers to consumers, publishers and advertisers. AOL is focused on attracting and engaging consumers and providing valuable online advertising services on both AOL's owned and operated properties and third-party websites. In addition, AOL operates one of the largest Internet subscription access services in the United States, which serves as a valuable distribution channel for AOL's consumer offerings.