some good news

Laura Arnold, Richard Kinder, and more pump $20M into Houston nonprofit news outlet

Laura Arnold (pictured with husband John) is a big backer of the project. ArnoldVentures.com

Houston will soon have a new source for independent and community-minded journalism, thanks to a $20 million infusion by a group of local nonprofits.

Houston Endowment, the Kinder Foundation, and Arnold Ventures announced the launch of an independent Houston nonprofit news operation in Houston that promises to be one of the largest in the country, according to a press release.

The operation is slated to launch in late 2022 or early 2023 on multiple platforms, the new nonprofit news organization will “elevate the voices of Houstonians and address the needs of the community” as identified in the American Journalism Project’s extensive research.

Specifically, this project was cultivated after a two-year research effort, led by the American Journalism Project. The organization relied on focus groups, community listening sessions, and surveys conducted in four different languages, as well as content analyses of existing coverage to examine local information gaps and news needs.

Notably, this new operation will be free to readers as well as other news organizations. Name, news coverage strategies, and office location will be determined by its new leadership, the announcement notes.

The organization is described as being charged with striving to be the center of conversation about Houston’s critical issues, bridge communities, and foster community engagement while building a vibrant and active following, a release adds.

An introductory web page at localnewsforhouston.org has been created; currently applications for CEO and editor-in-chief are being accepted there.

A search committee for staffing includes:

  • Ann Stern, President & CEO, Houston Endowment
  • Dr. Anne Chao, Manager of the Houston Asian American Archive, Rice University
  • Armando Perez, Executive Vice President, H-E-B Houston, chairman, United Way Greater Houston
  • Jeff Cohen, Executive Vice President, Arnold Ventures
  • Reginald DesRosches, Howard R. Hughes Provost and President-Elect, Rice University
  • Rich Kinder, chairman, Kinder Foundation, and Executive Chairman, Kinder Morgan Inc.

“Commercial news organizations across the United States have rapidly declined in recent years, a trend that directly undermines the foundations of American democracy,” said Laura Arnold, co-founder and co-chair of Arnold Ventures, in a statement. “A free press is essential, and until the industry finds its footing, philanthropy must do its part to help strengthen and safeguard the Fourth Estate. We have long invested in nonprofit journalism, and we are honored to support the establishment of a robust newsroom endeavor in our hometown.”

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

With fresh funding, this Houston and Canada-based company has made an acquisition. Courtesy of Validere

After raising $43 million in funding for its series B round, Validere, a commodity management platform for the energy industry, has acquired Clairifi, whose technology helps energy businesses comply with environmental and regulatory requirements. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The funding round was closed in March and was led by Mercuria Energy and select funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, with participation from Nova Fleet, Pioneer Fund and NGIF Cleantech Ventures, as well as existing investors, including Wing VC and Greylock Partners, according to a news release.

“Validere’s mission is to ensure human prosperity through energy that is plentiful, sustainable and efficiently delivered," says Nouman Ahmad, Validere co-founder and CEO. "We facilitate this through integrating our customers’ core business with new environmental initiatives. In order to manage the energy transition well, environmental attributes cannot be managed in a silo, they need to be integrated in the day-to-day operations and commercial decisions."

Validere is based in Calgary, Alberta, and has its United States presence based in Houston. Clairifi also is based in Calgary. According to the company, the purchase of Clairifi strengthens Validere’s ESG (environmental, social, and governance) offerings.

“Companies across the energy supply chain are often burdened by the arduous task of compliance reporting, a time-intensive process that is usually performed manually in Excel spreadsheets by costly environmental consultants,” Validere says in a news release announcing the Clairifi deal. “These issues are coupled with constantly changing environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, as well as disorganized data, which can cause confusion over meeting reporting requirements.”

Validere says that thanks to the integration of Clairifi, businesses can easily comply with current and future regulations from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and can access a central platform to accurately measure, manage, and forecast emissions strategies.

“The implementation of costs on carbon and emission reduction requirements introduce new immediate and long-term consequences that cascade from the field to head office,” says Corey Wood, co-founder and CEO of Clairifi. “While regulatory compliance is often considered a burden on industry, requiring resources and continuous innovation, if we are well-prepared, these challenges may be used as catalysts to revive, refresh and improve.”

As part of the acquisition, Wood has joined Validere as vice president of emissions, regulatory, and carbon strategy.

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