MIAMI — March 13, 2017 — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund, and the Rita Allen Foundation are launching an open call for ideas to address the question: How might we improve the flow of accurate information?
The foundations are looking for technologists, journalists, designers, teachers, researchers and others who are eager to develop ideas to help address concerns about the spread of misinformation and produce ways to build trust in journalism.
"We believe that informed and engaged communities are indispensable to a healthy American democracy,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “Yet we are losing our ability to foster civic dialogue based on shared facts, due to the spread of misinformation, siloed news consumption, low levels of trust in media and the impact of technology on how we consume news and information.”
Knight Foundation will run the call through the Knight Prototype Fund, which specializes in quickly developing and testing early-stage ideas. We expect to award up to $1 million in $50,000 grants. Each grant will come with a two-day training session on building and evolving ideas through prototyping.
“The spread of misinformation erodes trust in our democratic institutions and fans the flames of hyper-partisanship,” said Tom Glaisyer, director of Democracy Fund’s Public Square program. “Democracy Fund is committed to supporting innovative ideas to combat viral deception and reinvigorate trust in the press. We hope this prototype fund sparks significant creativity and collaboration. Good ideas that help sort fact from fiction and promote civil dialogue can come from anywhere: rural and urban areas, red states and blue states, from the coasts and the middle of the country.”
“To tackle thorny issues of trust and misinformation, we will need to share knowledge and resources from many sectors,” said Elizabeth Good Christopherson, president and chief executive officer of the Rita Allen Foundation. “We look forward to accelerating the diverse, collaborative new approaches that will emerge from this initiative.”
The call is seeking diverse ideas on topics ranging from, but not limited to, the role of algorithms in news consumption, methods for separating facts from fiction, building bridges across ideological divides and strategies for ensuring journalism organizations are authentic to the communities they serve.
The deadline to submit ideas is April 3, 2017 at 5 p.m. ET. Winners will be announced in June. The Prototype Fund accepts applications from nonprofit and for-profit organizations, individuals, and startups. Organizations must be based in the United States.
For more information and to apply, visit knightfoundation.org/informed.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.
About Democracy Fund
Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation that invests in organizations working to ensure our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Today, modern challenges—such as hyper-partisanship, money in politics, and struggling media—threaten the health of American Democracy. Democracy Fund invests in change makers who advocate for solutions that can bring lasting improvements to our political system and build bridges that help people come together to serve our nation. Learn more by visiting democracyfund.org.
About the Rita Allen Foundation
The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning and leadership.
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 301-908-2646,
Jessica Harris, Communications Associate, Democracy Fund, 202-448-4503,
Molly Sharlach, Communications and Digital Engagement, Rita Allen Foundation,
609.683.8010, [email protected]