Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will develop networks of young leaders in five cities

April 15, 2011, 6:07 a.m., Posted by Damian Thorman, J.D.

Today, Knight Foundation is announcing a $1 million grant to, to help build a network of young leaders in five communities.

We’re making the announcement this afternoon in San Jose, where 100 students are gathered for a three-day summit to develop ways to help students overcome obstacles to obtaining their degree. Participants will pick the best ideas, and and partners will fund them – liked they’ve  funded 26 Millenial-led projects around the nation. The support is part of Knight’s efforts to involve youth in promoting informed and engaged communities.

Damian Thorman

Similar summits will be coming soon to Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia and Charlotte, and a team will be in place in each city to make sure projects are successful.

Here’s Founder Maya Enista in her own words about the work is trying to accomplish: was founded nine years ago, on the campus of UC Berkeley by a visionary student, David B. Smith, who believed that young people had an important role to play in building campuses, communities, and a democracy that they would be proud to lead. Nine years later, has touched tens of thousands of Millennials across the country, investing over $130,000 in Millennial-led solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time; from the task of increasing financial literacy for our generation, to addressing the challenges that Millennials veterans face when returning from combat. The solutions lie within this collaborative, diverse, technologically-savvy and entrepreneurial generation and I know I speak on behalf of the amazing team when I say it’s a true honor to go to work for and with our generation every day.

Five projects that emerge from this weekend will be among the 26 that has already invested in, including Team Rubicon, which deploys teams during natural disasters, and the One Percent Foundation.


Recently, we invited a group of leaders – including Maya – to talk about the best ways to engage youth in helping their communities. You can read about, or listen to that conversation here.

Maya Enista Discusses Youth Engagement from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, is asking:

Do you know an inspiring young people who may be a great addition to the team? Do you know organizations in the cities above that are doing truly empowering, Millennial-led work? Do you have a solution for your community that needs support to get off the ground?

If you do, email the team at

Helping foundations get past their “fear of fire” when it comes to media grantmaking

April 14, 2011, 9:22 p.m., Posted by Andries Vaisman

Written by Mary Lou Fulton & cross-posted from The Media Optimist

Mary Lou Fulton

What will it take to get more foundations to give money to support news and information projects?

This was the subject of a standing-room-only panel (see archived chat) at this week’s Council on Foundations annual meeting, where funders from across the country gathered to learn and talk about a new Knight Foundation guideoffering ideas and inspiration for how to get started in journalism and media grant-making.

The guide highlights a range of media grant-making examples, and I’m honored that work of The California Endowment was featured.   But the questions and conversation at the panel discussion, ably moderated by Eric Newton,  made me think that another guide may be needed:  “How I talked my board of directors into making media grants and lived to tell about it.”

I say that because while foundation representatives clearly understood the media industry crisis and the need for high-quality news and information, there is still much anxiety about supporting independent journalism that a foundation can’t control.   There is fear of what they see as the worst-case scenario, such as...

New FCC and Knight Foundation contest helps bridge digital divide

April 14, 2011, 11:32 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

Can a mobile app improve the quality of life for a farmer in America's heartland? Can a web app help school children in Detroit? The Little Businessman


That’s the fundamental idea behind the Apps for Communities Challenge, a new contest sponsored by Knight Foundation and the FCC. We’re offering up to $100,000 in prizes for software applications (apps) that deliver personalized, actionable information to people least likely to be online. The goals of the contest:

●    make local public information more personalized, usable, and accessible for all Americans;

●    promote broadband adoption, particularly among Americans who are less likely to be regular Internet users (including low-income, rural, seniors, people with disabilities and the low digital/English literacy communities); and

●    create better links between Americans and services provided by local, state, Tribal, and federal governments.

This fits in with Knight’s mission to promote informed and engaged communities, which includes promoting universal broadband access. Learn more and apply by July 11 at