Foundations Deepen Partnership to Advance an “Informed, Engaged” Wichita

WICHITA  –  The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today that it will invest up to $2.5 million to foster an “informed, engaged” Wichita area over the next seven years through the Wichita Community Foundation.

The effort is part of Knight Foundation’s $70 million Community Foundations Initiative, which will help deepen Knight Foundation’s focus on ensuring that communities have the information they need to make decisions about their lives.

“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 Wichita and other Knight communities. Kansas grant seekers will apply for funding through the Wichita Community Foundation. A new community foundation director in Knight’s Miami headquarters will work with an advisory committee in Wichita to guide the community foundations on how to use the funds. 

“Right now we are developing the process for application and will be ready to begin accepting grant requests when our next fiscal year begins on July 1,” said Rob Allison, president of the Wichita Community Foundation. “I’m looking forward to seeing some very innovative, grassroots projects submitted by not-for-profits here in Sedgwick County.”

Nonprofits seeking Knight funding should contact Carol Nazar at the Wichita Community Foundation, 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 Wichita Community Foundation 
Established in 1986, the Wichita Community Foundation is a flexible, yet permanent resource for building community philanthropy. WCF provides donors with a way of giving that fulfills their financial and charitable interests and builds permanent funds to be used for the broad charitable needs of the Wichita community. 

Contact: Marc Fest, 305-908-2677; [email protected]