Opportunities for foundation leadership: Meeting community information needs

Communities / Article

When the Central Carolina Community Foundation launched a project to help seniors bridge the digital divide, it aimed to help inform and engage residents in Columbia, S.C. The project did that – and more.

Through the project – funded by the Knight Community Information Challenge – the foundation amplified its visibility and viability, leading to a greater leadership role locally, more projects benefitting Columbia, and even national exposure.

The Park City Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust – very different foundations – had similar experiences with their Challenge projects.

Both experimented with new roles taking them beyond the traditional activities of fund raising and grant making. They built new relationships and partnerships – with civic and political leaders and traditional media – and both demonstrated important leadership in their communities. Their institutions were literally transformed, and their communities are the better for it.

As The Park City Foundation’s executive director Trisha Worthington said of its Challenge project:

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“We went from people not knowing we existed to the majority of community members who are very involved knowing about us.”

You can learn more about these foundations’ stories in a new report and video called “Opportunities for Foundation Leadership: Meeting Community Information Needs,” at www.informationneeds.org/leadership.

I encourage you to take a look at the stories of these Knight grantees. They’re doing good work.

And for community and place-based foundations: consider applying to the Community Information Challenge, which is accepting applications through March 7. Apply now at www.informationeeds.org.

Have a question about the Challenge? Attend an online live chat where Knight staff members will answer questions, at 4 p.m. EST Feb. 10th at www.informationneeds.org.