Facts, Questions & Answers
What is the Knight Community Information Challenge?
Knight Foundation has launched a five-year, $24 million initiative aimed at encouraging community foundations to embrace information as a core community need. It challenges community foundations to grasp the depth and pace of the change the media world is undergoing, and to take account of how this affects a communitys ability to manage their affairs and address opportunities. The Challenge encourages experimentation, involvement in forms of media and technology, and civic leadership. A match is required. The Challenge also includes targeted support through a circuit rider project, and a second Media Learning Seminar to be held in Miami in 2009.
Who qualifies to apply?
It is open to all U.S. community foundations. It is also open to geographically oriented foundations that have a place-based focus similar to a community foundation.
How does the Challenge work?
Between June 30 and Sept. 15, 2008, organizations interested in applying should go to www.informationneeds.org. You will be asked to propose a project in 200 words or less. Foundations selected to submit full proposals will be notified no later than Sept. 25. Full proposals are due Oct. 15.
What are you not looking for?
This Challenge is not about helping community foundations improve their media relations, or expand their own web sites or better market themselves, important though these might be.
Is there a matching requirement?
Yes. We believe it is critical that the community foundation join in the funding of a project. If information is to be viewed as a core community need, then a matching donation from the community foundation is a key component of the Knight Challenge.
At which point must the funding match be made?
Generally, we will pay out our portion of the challenge grant once you have demonstrated that your foundation is committed as well.
Is it always a $1 to $1 match?
Under rare circumstances we would consider a different match where well match at a higher level
You told us what us what you are not looking for. Help us understand what you are looking for.
We are looking for ideas that address the information needs in your community. We cannot know what those are nor can we prescribe a general cure that fits all. We look to you, the community foundation, to identify and amplify what that information need is in your community.
What are the circuit riders?
They will be a team of specialists who will be available to assist community foundations in understanding the local media ecology, to analyze where there are opportunities to address information needs, and to suggest possible courses of action.
How do we apply for circuit rider services?
Details will be available on www.informationneeds.org after Nov. 15, 2008.
Were not a community foundation. How do we know if we qualify to apply?
The Challenge encourages foundations with a clear place-based focus in whole or in part to apply. Consider that community foundations are set up to meet core needs of communities. If your foundation does the same, we want to get your proposal.
Can our idea include administrative funds to help our foundation understand the new media universe?
Yes. We know from surveys that many foundations do not have deep expertise in this area. As you construct your proposal, you can include funds to address this issue but of course that is only a means to an end, and it is the end that the Challenge is about.
When and where is the 2009 Media Learning Seminar?
It will be Feb. 16-17 in Miami, co-sponsored by the Council on Foundations.
Will it be along the lines of the 2008 seminar?
No, this seminar will be aimed at reviewing what is now going on in the field and sharing best practices. Those who attended in 2008 will find the 2009 seminar distinctly different and beneficial. If you did not come in 2008, you will be brought up to speed in 2009. If you want to see the 2008 program and presentations, you will find them posted on www.informationneeds.org.
How do I sign up for the 2009 seminar?
Go to www.informationneeds.org/signup. We will send you the specific details about attendance as soon as they become available. Two reminders: space is limited; and as in 2008, community foundations should plan on the top executive and a board member to attend.
Will Knight be presenting at the Council on Foundations community foundation conference in San Antonio in October 2009?
Yes, we will be there, and will reach out to all attendees there. But if you have ideas for the Challenge now, dont wait.
Whats the difference between the application and a "full proposal?"
The application gives us enough summary information to understand your idea. If we feel it matches the intent of the initiative, we will invite you to write a more detailed proposal.
Do you really mean just 200 words?
Yes, we do. Our system will be set up with that limit.
Who reviews my entry?
Knight staff, augmented by outside reviewers. Final decisions lie with the foundations board of trustees.
When will the first winners be announced?
Winners will be notified in December 2008. Public announcement of the winners will be made at the Media Seminar.
Who should I contact with further questions?
Marcia Brod at Knight Foundation: 305.908.2600 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.