This post has been updated.
Knight Foundation uses challenges to find great ideas across its program areas. In addition, a few opportunities are available year round. Here are the opportunities open now:
If you have a news or information idea you want to develop and test, the Knight Prototype Fund may be for you. This Media Innovation initiative provides $35,000 to turn ideas into prototypes. There are several cohorts of winners each year; the most recent winners can be seen here. The next application deadline will be in early 2015. Follow #PrototypeFund on Twitter for more.
If you have a new idea to make one of the 26 Knight communities more successful, the Knight Cities Challenge is an option. The current round closed Nov. 14. The challenge is a new program from Community and National Initiatives, and winners will share $5 million. The initial application is simple, and reviewers will look for innovative ideas that can help our communities attract and retain talented people, create economic opportunity, or foster a culture of civic engagement. Finalists will be announced in January 2015, and winners in the spring. The second round of the challenge will open later in 2015. #KnightCities
The Knight News Challenge, which will next open for applications in early 2015, is Knight’s best known way of funding media innovation. Challenges usually have a theme – libraries, strengthening the Internet, Open Gov, networks – and the number in a year may vary. Increasingly, though, we’re emphasizing the Prototype Fund as the gateway for news and information projects. #NewsChallenge
The Knight Arts Challenge runs each year in four cities, with applications open for a month on a rolling basis in Miami (January), Detroit (March), St. Paul (April) and Akron (August). Winners are announced six to nine months later. Artists in other Knight communities may submit an online letter of inquiry. #KnightArts
In addition to these initiatives, the Knight program directors in Akron, Ohio, Charlotte, N.C., Detroit, Macon, Ga., Miami, Philadelphia, San Jose, Calif., and St. Paul, Minn., make local grants year round in line with the strategy of helping cities attract and retain talented people, create economic opportunity, and foster a culture of civic engagement.
You may also submit ideas year round through an online letter of inquiry. Please note that if your idea does not fit strategically with one of the initiatives above, it is unlikely to qualify for another form of Knight funding.
A venture fund
Separate from Knight’s grantmaking, the Knight Enterprise Fund provides early-stage venture funding for media innovation. The fund invests in for-profit companies that can strengthen the news and information ecosystem. Along with investment, the fund brings Knight’s media industry network and knowledge to the table. The fund is drawn from Knight’s endowment, not its grantmaking budget.
Knight funding comes in different packages, to cast a wide net for the best ideas. Whether through journalism, media innovation, cities or the arts, the common goal is to help communities be informed and engaged, so democracy can thrive.
Andrew Sherry is vice president of communications at Knight Foundation.