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

Knight Foundation Commits up to $2.5 million to Legacy Foundation, Inc. to Increase Local Impact

GARY – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today that it will invest up to $2.5 million in an endowed fund to foster an “informed, engaged” Gary area over the next seven years through the Legacy Foundation, Inc., Lake County’s 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 the Gary area and other Knight communities. Grant seekers will apply for funding through the Legacy Foundation, Inc. A new community foundation director in Knight’s Miami headquarters will work with a local advisory committee composed of regional leaders and innovators to guide the community foundations on how to use the funds. Knight’s overall contribution during this initiative will be up to $2.5 million, pooled in a permanent endowment fund. Grants made from the gains of this fund are intended to serve the Gary community indefinitely.

“As our region’s leaders and residents think about what kind of community we are striving to be, getting people involved and sharing that information will help all of us be better citizens. This initiative to create informed, engaged communities will help stimulate creative thinking and problem solving from many. As we roll out this initiative and invite proposals, we welcome participation from newly formed as well as established not-for-profits that have innovative ideas to share,” said Nancy Johnson, president of Legacy Foundation, Inc.

Nonprofits seeking Knight funding should contact Cara Spicer, program officer at the Legacy Foundation, Inc., 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 Legacy Foundation 
The Legacy Foundation is Lake County’s Community Foundation, a permanent philanthropic endowment for Lake County founded in 1992 by a group of community leaders. The mission of the Legacy Foundation is to encourage philanthropy, support good works and inspire leadership. Learn more at www.legacyfoundationlakeco.org.

Contact: Marc Fest, Vice President of Communications, Knight Foundation,
305-908-2677; fest@knightfoundation.org

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 www.knightfoundation.org.