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

Knight Foundation Commits Up to $1 Million to Community Foundation to Increase Local Impact

DULUTH  –  The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today that it will invest up to $1 million in an endowed fund to foster an “informed, engaged” Duluth-Superior over the next seven years through the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

The effort is part of Knight Foundation’s $70 million Community Foundation Initiative, an effort to deepen Knight Foundation’s commitment to ensuring that communities are informed about and engaged in the issues and opportunities that face them.

“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 Duluth and other Knight communities. Duluth-Superior area grant seekers will apply for funding through the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation. A new community foundation director in Knight’s Miami headquarters will work with an advisory committee in Duluth to guide the community foundations on how to use the funds. Knight’s overall contribution during this initiative will be up to $1 million, pooled in a permanent endowment fund. Grants made from the gains of this fund are intended to serve the Duluth-Superior Area indefinitely.

“We’re pleased to make this grant announcement immediately prior to our annual celebration on May 26, where we will provide the new grant guidelines for the Knight Fund,” said Holly C. Sampson, president, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. “Our annual celebration is a terrific way to connect with our donors and community leaders, and we know they’re interested in learning more about this new funding.”

Of the funding, Sampson said, “We are so grateful to the Knight Foundation for their significant and steadfast support of the Community Foundation. We are pleased to make these additional grant dollars available to nonprofit organizations interested in ‘informed and engaged’ communities.”

Nonprofits seeking Knight funding should contact Katie Gellatly, community philanthropy officer, Duluth Superior Area 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. 

The initial Knight fund was established at the Community Foundation in 1993. 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 Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation
The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation encourages private giving for the public good. The Community Foundation is a permanent community endowment, built by gifts from hundreds of individuals and organizations. Guided by a 12-member Board of volunteer civic leaders, the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations and to individuals for scholarships and provides leadership on important community initiatives in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Since its inception in 1983, they have distributed over $33 million and currently hold over 290 different funds, each with its own charitable purpose.  Learn more at 

Regional affiliates of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation include the Two Harbors Area Fund (created in 1998), the Apostle Islands Area Community Fund (created in 2000),  the Cook County Community Fund (created in 2003), the Hermantown Community Fund (created in 2005), and the Eveleth Area Community Foundation (created in 2008).

Contact: Marc Fest, Vice President of Communications, Knight Foundation,

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