Foundations Deepen Partnership to Advance an “Informed, Engaged” Fort Wayne

Knight Foundation Commits up to$2.5 million to Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne to Increase Local Impact

FORT WAYNE –  The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today that it will invest up to $2.5 million in an endowed fund to foster an “informed, engaged” Fort Wayne area over the next seven years through the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.

The effort is part of Knight Foundation’s $70 million Community Foundation Initiative, an effort to deepen Knight Foundation’s commitment to ensuring that communities are informed about and engaged in the issues and opportunities that face them.

“Information is an essential community need and community foundations were established to meet core needs,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation’s president and CEO. “They also only exist and thrive because of community engagement and contributions. That makes them ideal partners to help us understand and advance local community engagement, focused on ensuring that these communities have the information they need to manage their affairs in our democracy.”

The new approach will modify how Knight Foundation works in Fort Wayne and other Knight communities. Grant seekers in Allen County may apply for funding through the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. A new community foundation director in Knight’s Miami headquarters will work with an advisory committee in Fort Wayne to guide the community foundations on how to use the funds. Knight’s overall contribution during this initiative will be up to $2.5 million, pooled in a permanent endowment fund. Grants made from the gains of this fund are intended to serve the Fort Wayne community indefinitely.

“As Fort Wayne changes and grows, the Community Foundation wants to be a leader in helping our citizens have the information they need to participate in this growth. We look forward to seeing the ways local not-for-profit, community-based organizations will respond to Knight Foundation’s challenge to create a more informed and engaged community through this initiative,” said David J. Bennett, executive director, Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.

Nonprofits seeking Knight funding should contact Christine Meek at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, 260-426-4083, and ask about Knight Foundation’s donor-advised fund.

“Our goal is to better coordinate and focus our initiatives in the communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers, and use our resources in the most effective way possible,” said Trabian Shorters, Knight Foundation’s vice president for communities.

Community foundations make contributions to local groups from funds established by individuals, families, businesses and others to address needs in specific geographic areas. These organizations offer a national funder like Knight the benefit of their grassroots grasp of issues. The grants will help community foundations enlarge their donor-advised funds supporting the work of local nonprofits. 

From 2000 to 2007, Knight contributed a total of $69 million to create donor-advised funds at 25 community foundations. At $70 million, this new initiative doubles Knight’s current investment in community foundations.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

About the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne 
Established in 1956, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne is a public, charitable foundation serving Allen County for more than fifty years. The Community Foundation had assets of over $100 million at the end of 2009, and awarded more than $5 million in charitable grants and scholarships.

Contact: Marc Fest, Vice President of Communications, Knight Foundation,
305-908-2677; fest@knightfoundation.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.