Earlier this week, Knight Foundation hosted the Media Learning Seminar to help inform community foundations about the information needs of communities in a democracy. As traditional local news sources and investigative reporting decline, citizens are increasingly involved in the co-creation of new information sources, including online news startups, localized Twitter feeds from political candidates and community leaders, and blogs.
Knight Foundation realizes that the community information ecosystem is not limited to news and information itself, but also access to news and information and the ability to engage with it. Community foundations have the opportunity to play an important role in this evolving landscape.
As the application period for the third Community Information Challenge is closing (the deadline to apply is March 8), Knight Foundation has released a study, Reports From the Field: Place-Based Foundations and the Knight Community Information Challenge, about how place-based foundations are incorporating community information needs into their work.
Michael Marsicano, CEO of the Foundation for the Carolinas, says:
"You cannot conduct meaningful civic work without good information. Engaging citizens without data bears little fruit. Engaging citizens with poor data compromises all future community leadership activities."
What have we learned in the first two years of the Knight Community Information Challenge?
Foundations are committing significant financial resources to address information needs through and beyond KCIC.
To be effective, place-based foundations are building capacity to' manage their projects.
Foundations are increasingly engaging in multiple community leadership activities to increase the impact of their KCIC projects.
Foundations are engaging in informations initiatives in addition to their KCIC projects.
Foundations are attracting considerable outside support from funders and sponsors.
Foundations are also aligning the necessary partnerships and expertise to address their own capacity gaps.
Through their project experience, foundations are learning more about other projects in their communities and the overall information ecosystem.
Although for more grantees it is still too early to see evidence that residents are changing their attitudes and behaviors, foundations are putting in place evaluation activities to collect data.
Reports from the field: Place-Based Foundations and the Knight Community Information Challenge provides further insight into these findings, as well as presenting challenges that grantees are facing, what Knight Foundation is learning from the challenge, and a guide on how to address information needs in your community.
Click here to download the PDF of the study.