Foundations Deepen Partnership To Advance An “Informed, Engaged” State College

Knight Foundation Commits up to $1 million to Centre County Community Foundation to Increase Local Impact

STATE COLLEGE, PA. - The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today that it will invest up to $1 million to foster an “informed, engaged” State College area over the next seven years through the Centre County 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 the State College area and other Knight communities. Grant seekers in the State College area will apply for funding through the Centre County Community Foundation. A new community foundation director in Knight’s Miami headquarters will work with an advisory committee in State College to guide the community foundations on how to use the funds. 

“The commitment of the Knight Foundation to State College and to Centre County is long-standing. Knight has provided support for our Foundation and has encouraged us to take on community initiatives such as Focus Center County and, most recently, has provided a $225,000 challenge grant for the soon-to-be-available 211 phone number for vital information regarding basic human needs. This new increased funding will allow the Community Foundation to provide even greater support for increased community engagement,” said Alfred Jones Jr., executive director of the Centre County Community Foundation.

Nonprofits seeking Knight funding should contact Molly Kunkel, program director at the Centre County Community Foundation, at 814-237-6229.

“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

About the Centre County Community Foundation 
The Centre County Community Foundation is committed to helping donors fulfill their philanthropic goals by building and maintaining a permanent collection of endowment funds. The Foundation champions the betterment of Centre County for both present and future generations with trustworthy leadership in shaping effective responses to community issues and opportunities.

Contacts:   Al Jones, 814-237-6229;
                Marc Fest, 305-908-2677;

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

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