Resolve Philly Co-Founder and Co-ED Cassie Haynes to Step Down

Imahni Moise
Cassie Haynes headshot

Haynes will remain involved with the organization in a consulting capacity

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., March 21, 2023 – Cassie Haynes, co-founder and co-executive director of unconventional journalism organization, Resolve Philly, will step down from the role on June 2, 2023. Haynes founded Resolve alongside Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, inspired by the role that journalism could play in making Philadelphia a more equitable and community-centered city. 

“This has been a very challenging decision but I know I need to prioritize my family’s needs, and this involved a permanent move to Michigan,” said Haynes. “I am so proud of what we’ve done together, but Resolve Philly needs local leadership. I am forever invested in Resolve’s work and the impact we’ve had and will continue to have—in Philadelphia and across the country.”

Haynes and Friedman-Rudovsky founded Resolve Philly in 2018, on the heels of The Reentry Project, a year-long partnership among 13 local newsrooms to report on the challenge of, and solutions to, prisoner reentry in Philadelphia. Since its founding, Resolve has grown from two co-founders to 24 full-time staff, a larger collaborative with 29 newsroom partners, a news and information SMS-based text line which aims to bridge the city’s information divide, and a reporting and community engagement initiative to ensure greater local government accountability. In 2022, Resolve also launched Modifier, a practice change and professional development service. 

“I’m so thankful to have led Resolve alongside Cassie for the past five years,”  said Friedman-Rudovsky.  “Resolve would not be what it is today had we not partnered together in 2018 to build this organization. By extension, Philly would not have seen the incredible change in our local journalism ecosystem or all the tangible impact on long excluded communities without her leadership, energy, and tenacity.” 

Haynes will continue to consult with Modifier, Resolve Philly’s internal practice change enterprise, and serve as a thought-partner to Friedman-Rudovsky. Resolve Philly will not hire a new Co-Executive Director at this time. The organization recently expanded its executive leadership team to include Chief Programs Officer, Aparna Mukherjee, and Chief Operations Officer, Becka Gorelick, and the three women are poised to give the organization the team leadership it needs at this time. Resolve is also actively growing its board of directors to support in the transition period and as the organization moves into its new phase of no longer being led by its two co-founders. 

Reactions from Resolve’s Broke in Philly collaborative and journalism community:

“[Cassie] and Jean have been and continue to be major catalysts for change in journalism, without your work I don't think as much collaboration and progress would be seen across newsrooms in Philly so quickly,” said Henry Savage,  Civics Reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Thank you so much for what you've done and setting the bar high. I seriously don't even know what Philly journalism would look like if it wasn't for what y'all accomplished.”

“You are a force, Cassie, and your efforts meant so much to so many,” said Danya Henninger, Editor at Billy Penn. “Thanks for your dedication and the unique combo of thoughtfulness and levity you brought to this group.”

"Cassie Haynes is a dynamic leader who propelled Resolve Philly forward to become one of the strongest local journalism collaboratives in the nation. She didn't come from a traditional journalism background, instead relying on experience in the law, city government, community organizing and nonprofit leadership. Resolve Philly is richer for it, as is the field of journalism and the residents of Philadelphia. At the end of the day, her work contributed to a more informed Philadelphia, people getting the fact-based reporting they need to live full lives in the city, which is an outcome Knight Foundation celebrates." -- Karen Rundlet, Senior Director, Journalism Program, Knight Foundation.

“I’ve had the benefit of working with Cassie since 2018, as a two-time BiP newsroom partner, Change the Narrative committee member, and now funder. The throughline—regardless of my position or organization—was thought-partnership. Cassie, Jean, and their brilliant team always understood how ideas and best practices can flow across organizations, and can come from traditional and less-than-traditional newsrooms. While Jean and Cassie set an example as co-executive directors, they shared the strength of Resolve—through its programs and team, the collaborative (nearly 30 newsrooms and counting), and extended stakeholder partners. For this reason, Resolve will never struggle with founder’s syndrome and the mission won’t skip a beat even though a piece of the heart is missing.” -- Diana Lu, Director, Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund

"Cassie’s time as co-director of Resolve Philly has been a tour de force. Her work and her words have ignited change in Philadelphia’s local journalism community,” said Molly de Aguiar, president of Independence Public Media Foundation. “Never one to back down from speaking truth to power, Cassie has led with courage to transform the way journalism views and reports about communities of color."

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About Resolve Philly

Resolve Philly is an unconventional journalism organization that challenges our industry to be more equitable, collaborative, and based in community voices and solutions. Resolve’s work centers on improving how misrepresented communities are covered—and served—by the media. We believe that in a time of widespread mistrust, political division, and industry upheaval, journalists must reconsider not only what they report, but how they find, frame, and tell stories. Resolve has three programmatic initiatives— Broke in Philly, Equality Informed Philly, and Shake the Table—which all work in tandem  to create informed and empowered communities.