Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Bats and carbon footprints - how a community foundation is using info to bring people together around the environment

March 22, 2012, 10:54 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

This post is one of a series focused on how community foundations are investing in news and information projects to make an impact on issues they care about. The following video was filmed during Knight’s 2012 Media Learning Seminar, where five community foundations gave brief, TED-like talks on how the projects they launched are impacting their cities. Here, Clotilde Dedecker shares her experience with Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo.

The role of community foundations shouldn’t be limited to giving grants, says Clotilde Dedecker of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo.

In the video above, Dedecker shares how her foundation has taken a leadership role in addressing public health and environmental issues in Western New York by investing in a news and information project: “We have found that as a community foundation we are most effective in improving the lives of our communities not by giving grants, but by co-creating structures that bring people and organizations together in new ways to drive change.”

She cited their website - which stands for Green Renaissance of Western New York. The site has united over 150 environmental nonprofits working on water, air and land issues in the community, connecting them to each other and to the general public, Dedecker said.

This year, Grow, with support from Knight, will increase its ability to engage low-income communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental contaminants. This includes building out a network that will let people text in environmental threats in their neighborhoods and map them on the site, in turn providing a record and opportunities to visualize the data. Dedecker hopes that this will provide a basis for future policy and advocacy work.

News Challenge on Networks wants your likes and reblogs

March 21, 2012, 11:52 a.m., Posted by John Bracken


We announced last week that the five News Challenge applications that receive the most support from the public will advance to the second round of consideration along with the 100 or so projects identified by our review process.  Some applicants have expressed confusion by what we meant by public support, so I wanted to clarify our plans.

First, as I mentioned in the previous post, we’ll be selecting those five based on the total number of likes and reblogs on Tumblr. In addition, in our evaluation of the proposals, we will take into account the conversations taking place on the Tumblr comments page and on Twitter. Tracking more than that is difficult for us. However, if you feel like there are other conversations happening on other networks, please mention and link to them in the comments of your application page - we’ll take them into consideration too.

Farewell, and thank you, to three Knight board members

March 21, 2012, 10:24 a.m., Posted by Katie Norland


Knight Foundation is bidding farewell to three key board members this month, and honoring their legacy of service with $50,000 each in support of nonprofits in Miami, Boston and Chicago.

Stepping down are Cesar Alvarez, executive chairman of international law firm Greenberg TraurigPaul Grogan, president of The Boston Foundation; and John Rogers, chairman and CEO of Ariel Capital Management.  Alvarez, Grogan and Rogers served as the chairs of the Audit Committee, the Program Committee and the Investment Committee, respectively.  All were term-limited, after serving two, successive six-year terms as trustees.

In honor of their service, Knight Foundation will award $50,000 each to an organization recommended by each of the retiring trustees. Cesar Alvarez proposed support for El Memorial Cubano, a monument dedicated to victims of the Castro regime.  Led by a small group of former Cuban political prisoners, the project will create a stone wall in Southwest Miami engraved with names of those who have died. Alvarez immigrated to the United States from Cuba with his family as a teen and now heads the country’s seventh largest law firm.

Paul Grogan asked Knight to create a donor-advised “Opportunity Fund” at The Boston Foundation to build the capacity of nonprofits that focus on producing upward mobility for low-income minority youth in Boston. Throughout his career, Grogan has been a champion of American cities. Knight will miss his insights as chair of the Program Committee, which oversees all of the foundation’s investments in communities, journalism and media innovation and the arts.