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About Proximate

Proximate is a new, not-for-profit media platform that asks the question: how can we better solve problems together?

We produce solutions journalism about emergent participatory models that shift power to people with lived experience – those proximate to the problem at hand.

Launched by the team behind the award-winning book Letting Go, Proximate covers trends in collaboration across philanthropy, finance, policymaking, academia and the arts.

Our mission is to leverage bold, timely solutions journalism to celebrate and interrogate participatory-problem-solving models and practices, in order to inspire leaders across fields to embrace participation in governance.

Our vision is a world where systems are designed for people with lived experience to weigh in on the biggest problems facing their communities, from climate change to economic inequality.

We're a fiscally sponsored project of Possibility Labs.

Our Team

We are proud to be a women-led and Black-led organization. Between our co-founders, we have 30+ years in journalism, communications and writing/editing: 

Meg Massey

Meg Massey

Co-Founder

Meg Massey

Co-Founder

Meg is a writer and communications strategist committed to building a more just and equitable economy for all. In 2021, Meg co-authored Letting Go: How Philanthropists and  Impact Investors Can Do More Good By Giving Up Control with fellow co-founder Ben Wrobel — an experience that led to the founding of Proximate. 

In addition to her role at Proximate, Meg is the director of strategic outreach for the nonprofit impact investor Upaya Social Ventures. Previously, she consulted with a number of leading philanthropies and held senior communications roles at two social impact nonprofits. Her writing has appeared in Impact Alpha, Nonprofit Quarterly, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and more.

Meg has a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MA from Georgetown University. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her dog, Zora.

Ben Wrobel

Ben Wrobel

Co-Founder

Ben Wrobel

Co-Founder

Ben Wrobel is a writer and an independent communications consultant. Before co-founding Proximate, he was Director of Communications at Village Capital, a pioneer in participatory investing. He started his career as chief speechwriter for the NAACP, and later raised money for voter registration campaigns including Stacey Abrams’ New Georgia Project.

In addition to co-authoring Letting Go: How Philanthropists and Impact Investors Can Do More Good By Giving Up Control with fellow Proximate co-founder Meg Massey, Ben has edited two best-selling books: REACH: 40 Black Men on Living, Leading and Succeeding and The Innovation Blind Spot.

Ben has a BA from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Georgetown University. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Kevin McClendon

Kevin McClendon

Co-Founder

Kevin McClendon

Co-Founder

Kevin is a strategic professional in the early-stage investment and philanthropy ecosystems. He is driven to create a more equitable world for his son through avid support of sustainable capitalism.

Kevin serves as a Co-Founder of Proximate. He also provides services for a variety of venture firms, entrepreneur support organizations, and non-profits. Kevin began his career in marketing for a diversity of industries, including entertainment, real estate, and health care. Kevin was a member of Transforming Power Fund's 2023 Giving Project cohort.

Kevin has a BA from Wayne State University. He lives in Detroit, Michigan.

What's in a name?

Why did we decide to name our magazine Proximate? A few reasons, actually – based on a few different meanings of the term.

(1) Proximate (adj): closest to; closest in relationship

We are driven by a fundamental belief in the power of proximate problem-solving – the idea that in this era of wicked challenges, the most effective solutions will be those led by people closest to the problem.

We will produce solutions journalism about innovative, community-led models that shift power over decisions and resources to people with lived experience – those proximate to the problem. 

(2) Proximate (adj): initial root cause

A proximate cause is the initial cause in a chain of events, leading to a good or bad outcome. We see top-down decision-making models as the root cause of so much that has gone wrong in our world and our institutions, from governments to philanthropy to the global economy.

Our journalism explores the possibility of alternative, community-driven models like participatory grantmaking, cooperative economics, and deliberative democracy. We celebrate the folks advocating for these collective decision-making models — they’re attacking our global polycrisis at its roots.

(3) Proximate (adj): very near; soon forthcoming

Finally, we believe that the ideas we write about are proximate, in that their adoption is just around the corner.

Our global community faces enormous, complex challenges. We cannot keep on doing things the way they have always been done. The past few years have shaken the world, and created a window of opportunity to redefine how we govern, redistribute money, think about the economy, and so much more.

The solutions are here. The question is whether we are ready to meet the moment.

Editorial Policies

We’re a mission-driven nonprofit

Proximate was founded in 2023 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization fiscally sponsored by Movement Strategy Center. We are not owned by any individual or corporation. We are accountable only to you—our readers – and our advisory board.

Our revenue comes from multiple sources, including Patreon subscriptions, donations, foundation support, and earned revenue from reports and consulting. Proximate will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year. Currently, that list includes:

We will accept limited anonymous donations (including via Patreon) only if such donations make up less than 10% of our operating budget and it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.

We maintain editorial independence

Proximate subscribes to the standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News, and our editorial policies follow the guidelines put forward by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and The Trust Project.

Proximate retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and all sources of revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Proximate may consider donations, grants and sponsorship opportunities supporting coverage of particular topics, but our staff maintains editorial control of the coverage, and such sponsored coverage will be clearly labeled as such. We will cede no right to review or influence our editorial content.

Unauthorized distribution of our content is prohibited. 

We report accurate, unbiased information

Proximate is committed to publishing accurate information across all of our platforms, and we strive to quickly and transparently correct any errors.

Our writers seek and report the truth, minimizing harm by treating sources, subjects, colleagues, and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. We investigate claims with skepticism and seek to independently corroborate claims made by sources or entities and make explicit the origin of information and data.

While we do not allow sources to review a story prior to publication, we may share relevant quotes or data with a source to confirm accuracy. Because of Proximate’s unique mission, we strive to include perspectives that are often not included in mainstream media, particularly those of people directly impacted by the topics on which Proximate reports. However, this focus in no way negates Proximate’s commitment to publish balanced, factual reporting and analysis, in addition to clearly labeled commentary and opinion.

Board Conflict of Interest Policy

The following Financial Conflict of Interest Policy (“Conflict of Interest Policy”) is an effort (i) to ensure that the deliberations and decisions of Proximate are made solely in the interest of promoting the quality of journalism, and (ii) to protect the interests of Proximate when it considers any transaction, contract, or arrangement that might benefit or be perceived to benefit the private interest of a person affiliated with Proximate. As used in this Conflict of Interest Policy, a Proximate Representative includes any director, advisory board Proximate, financial advisor, legal counsel or employee.

Duty to Proximate. Each Proximate Representative owes a duty to Proximate to advance  Proximate’s legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. Each Proximate Representative must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. Similarly, Proximate Representatives must be faithful to Proximate’s nonprofit mission and are not permitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with the central goals of the organization and its nonprofit status.

Gifts. No Proximate Representative shall personally accept gifts or favors that could compromise his or her loyalty to Proximate. Any gifts or benefits personally accepted from a party having a material interest in the outcome of Proximate or its employees by a Proximate Representative individually should be merely incidental to his or her role as a Proximate Representative and should not be of substantial value. Any gift with a value of $250 or more, or any gifts with a cumulative value in excess of $250 received by a Proximate Representative in any twelve-month period from a single source, shall be considered substantial. Cash payments may not be accepted, and no gifts should be accepted if there are strings attached. For example, no Proximate Representative may accept gifts if he or she knows that such gifts are being given to solicit his or her support of or opposition to the outcome or content of any Proximate publication.

Conflicts of Interest. The following are examples of conflicts of interest which must be promptly disclosed to the Proximate Board of Directors pursuant to Section 4 below by any Proximate Representative with knowledge of such conflict of interest:

(a) any real or apparent conflict of interest between a donor or the subject of a Proximate publication or report and a Proximate Representative;

(b) A Proximate Representative’s ownership of an equity interest in a person or entity that is or will be the subject of a Proximate publication or report; and

(c) failure to disclose to Proximate all relationships between the subject of any Proximate publication or report and any Proximate Representative or close relatives of the Proximate Representative.

Conflict Procedure:

(a) If a Proximate Representative or party related to a Proximate Representative has an interest in any contract, action or transaction to be entered into with Proximate, a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest exists. Any Proximate Representative having knowledge that such a conflict of interest exists or may exist (an “Interested Proximate Representative”) will so advise the Board of Directors promptly. An Interested Proximate Representative will include in the notice the material facts as to the relationship or interest of the Interested Proximate Representative in the entity proposing to enter into a contract, action or transaction with Proximate.

(b) Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the Board of Directors may authorize any committee appointed pursuant to the Proximate bylaws (a “Committee”) to act in lieu of the Board of Directors in determining whether an action, contract or transaction is fair to Proximate as of the time it is authorized or approved by the Committee.

(c) At any time that a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest is identified, the Board Chair or a Chair of the applicable Committee will ensure that such conflict of interest is placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable. The notice of such meeting of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will include, to the extent available when the notice is sent, a description of the conflict of interest matter to be discussed. By notice before the meeting or at the meeting, the directors on the board or the Committee, as applicable, will be advised that a vote will be taken at the meeting and that, in order to authorize the relevant contract, action or transaction, an affirmative vote of a majority of disinterested directors present at the meeting at which a quorum is present will be required and will be sufficient, even though the disinterested directors constitute less than a quorum of the Board of Directors or the Committee.

(d) Reasonable effort will be made to cause the material facts concerning the relationships between the individuals and Proximate which create the conflict to be delivered to and shared with the Proximates of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, prior to the meeting to enable the directors to arrive at the meeting prepared to discuss the issue and vote on the matter. In the event it is not practicable to deliver the information prior to the meeting, it will be delivered to the directors at the meeting, and the directors can act upon the matter with the same authority as if notice had been given prior to the meeting.

(e) The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will invite all parties to the conflict of interest to attend the meeting, to make presentations and to be prepared to answer questions, if necessary. The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will also invite outside experts if necessary.

(f) At the meeting, providing a quorum is present, the conflict will be discussed to ensure that the directors present are aware of the issues and the factors involved. The interested directors may be counted for purposes of a quorum, even though they may not take part in any vote on the issues.

(g) The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, must decide, in good faith, reasonably justified by the material facts, whether the action, contract or transaction would be in the best interest of Proximate and fair to Proximate as of the time it is authorized or approved.

(h) All interested directors must abstain from voting and, if desired as determined by the disinterested directors, leave the room when the vote is taken.

(i) Upon determination and vote that there is or has been a conflict of interest, the Board of Directors may take any action it deems appropriate to protect the integrity of Proximate, including but not limited to removal of the person with the conflict from any position or office in Proximate.

(j) The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will maintain a written account of all that transpires at the meeting and incorporate such account into the minutes of the meeting and disseminate it to the full Board of Directors. Such minutes will be presented for approval at the next meeting of the Board of Directors and maintained in the corporate record book.

(k) To the extent that the conflict of interest is continuing and the contract, action or transaction goes beyond one (1) year, the foregoing notice and discussion and vote will be repeated on an annual basis.

Personal Loans. Proximate may not loan to, or guarantee the personal obligations of, any Proximate Representative.

Contact Us

We're just getting started, and we're excited to work with people, build out partnerships and hear ideas from all corners.

Support us on Patreon

Our Patreon subscribers are the reason we can commission stories and offer fair compensation to our writers and other creators. For as little as $1/month, you can help us keep doing that. Plus, you get fun extra perks as our way of saying thanks! 

Pitch us

We are always looking for new writers and new ideas, even (especially) if your story does not get a ton of attention from mainstream outlets. Check out our editorial guidelines and then let us know what you got.

Partner with us

As a new kid on the block, we’re eager to connect with other organizations that share our commitment to shifting power. If you’re interested in sponsoring content or collaborating on stories or events, get in touch.

Got another question?

Send it to hello@proximate.press, an email address that we check regularly. We'd love to talk!

About Proximate

Proximate is a new nonprofit magazine covering proximate problem-solving across politics, philanthropy, finance, knowledge creation, and the arts. We practice solutions journalism, because we believe those closest to the problem are the ones with the insights that can solve it.

What's In a Name?

Why did we decide to name our magazine Proximate? A few reasons, actually – based on a few different meanings of the term.

(1) Proximate (adj): closest to; closest in relationship

We are driven by a fundamental belief in the power of proximate problem-solving – the idea that in this era of wicked challenges, the most effective solutions will be those led by people closest to the problem.

We will produce solutions journalism about innovative, community-led models that shift power over decisions and resources to people with lived experience – those proximate to the problem. 

(2) Proximate (adj): initial root cause

A proximate cause is the initial cause in a chain of events, leading to a good or bad outcome. We see top-down decision-making models as the root cause of so much that has gone wrong in our world and our institutions, from governments to philanthropy to the global economy.

Our journalism explores the possibility of alternative, community-driven models like participatory grantmaking, cooperative economics, and deliberative democracy. We celebrate the folks advocating for these collective decision-making models — they’re attacking our global polycrisis at its roots.

(3) Proximate (adj): very near; soon forthcoming

Finally, we believe that the ideas we write about are proximate, in that their adoption is just around the corner.

Our global community faces enormous, complex challenges. We cannot keep on doing things the way they have always been done. The past few years have shaken the world, and created a window of opportunity to redefine how we govern, redistribute money, think about the economy, and so much more.

The solutions are here. The question is whether we are ready to meet the moment.


About Proximate

Proximate is a new nonprofit magazine covering proximate problem-solving across politics, philanthropy, finance, knowledge creation, and the arts. We practice solutions journalism, because we believe those closest to the problem are the ones with the insights that can solve it.

What's In a Name?

Why did we decide to name our magazine Proximate? A few reasons, actually – based on a few different meanings of the term.

(1) Proximate (adj): closest to; closest in relationship

We are driven by a fundamental belief in the power of proximate problem-solving – the idea that in this era of wicked challenges, the most effective solutions will be those led by people closest to the problem.

We will produce solutions journalism about innovative, community-led models that shift power over decisions and resources to people with lived experience – those proximate to the problem. 

(2) Proximate (adj): initial root cause

A proximate cause is the initial cause in a chain of events, leading to a good or bad outcome. We see top-down decision-making models as the root cause of so much that has gone wrong in our world and our institutions, from governments to philanthropy to the global economy.

Our journalism explores the possibility of alternative, community-driven models like participatory grantmaking, cooperative economics, and deliberative democracy. We celebrate the folks advocating for these collective decision-making models — they’re attacking our global polycrisis at its roots.

(3) Proximate (adj): very near; soon forthcoming

Finally, we believe that the ideas we write about are proximate, in that their adoption is just around the corner.

Our global community faces enormous, complex challenges. We cannot keep on doing things the way they have always been done. The past few years have shaken the world, and created a window of opportunity to redefine how we govern, redistribute money, think about the economy, and so much more.

The solutions are here. The question is whether we are ready to meet the moment.


Proximate
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