4 new community information investments focus on high-impact projects

Above: Montclair’s Community Journalism Executive Training Session. Photo credit: Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Seven years ago, as the disruption in the media industry became increasingly apparent, Knight Foundation launched its Media Learning Seminar for community and place-based foundations. The annual gathering quickly became a way for funders to learn the latest trends in news and information – and to find and fund solutions to the growing gaps in community news and information.


2014 tech trends that will impact foundations” by Elise Hu on

Journalism as knowledge: covering solutions to strengthen communities” by Michael D. Bolden on

Using design thinking for community information needs” by Marika Lynch on

“Today, there are hundreds of community and place-based foundations thinking about the information needs of their communities like never before – and not just thinking, but acting to meet those needs in ways through programs that are innovative, creative and tailored to the specific needs of their constituencies,” Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen said today, as he officially opened the 2014 seminar.  

With so many community information experiments launched, the foundation has looked for ways to both cement the movement, and continue advancing the field.

Ibargüen spoke of two ways the foundation will do that going forward.

The first centers on disseminating lessons. Knight has built a new website that spotlights much of its research, case studies and insights on how to launch and run a community news and information project.  You can find it at

Second, Ibargüen said that Knight believes that the best way to advance the field is to tighten its focus, rather than spread challenge grants broadly. So the foundation plans to go deeper with a smaller number of potentially higher-impact projects.

Ibargüen announced grants to four community and place-based foundations, investments that will help the projects scale and ultimately spread the insights and learnings to the broader field.

They are:  

We will explore these projects in depth in the coming weeks on KnightBlog. We hope you’ll continue to check back, and that the new community information resources site helps funders and other organizations with their projects.

Marika Lynch, consultant at Knight Foundation