To explore, through a series of case studies, how local foundations have strengthened their local leadership by supporting information and media projects in their community.
ASSESSMENT PURPOSE & APPROACH
· How have community and place-based foundations forged a unique leadership role in their communities by supporting information and media projects?
· What lessons are there for other funders interested in becoming involved in addressing information needs in their communities?
Approach: The report draws on information from gathered from site visits and interviews with community foundation staff, and local leaders.
Assessment Partner: FSG Social Impact Advisors
Case studies identified common benefits for foundations supporting information projects including:
· Amplified local and national prominence
· New insights into existing program areas
· Enhanced institutional skills and digital media capacity
Profiled Leaders at a Glance
|Foundation||Park City Foundation||Chicago Community Trust||Central Carolina Community Foundation|
|Asset size (2009)||$1M||$1,500M||$75M|
|Knight Community Information Challenge Project||ParkCityGreen.org||Community News Matters||Bridging Generations through Technology, Information, Media and Engagement (BGTIME)|
Park City Foundation leveraged a climate-focused website (ParkCityGreen.org) to develop a unique leadership role in its community, in partnership with the Park City Mayor’s office and Park City Mountain Resort. The foundations efforts resulted in new collaborations and programs, as well as an annual community indicators report documenting the city’s assets and challenges.
Central Carolina Community Foundation’s BGTIME project, which paired seniors with students who taught them about the internet and new media, helped the foundation foster new relationships with previously-unknown organizations. The foundation has since developed partnerships with the local library system to host a regional literacy summit and strengthened its relationship with Columbia’s major daily newspaper and universities.
Chicago Community Trust commissioned a local research partner to map Chicago’s new media ecosystem. The project generated insights that guided the foundations investments in the region’s civic infrastructure, including a new program to reward efforts that increase the flow of accurate local news. The foundation has since helped broker partnerships between hyper-local news operations and community organizations and created a unique funder collaborative around information and news in the region.
While each of these three stories is unique, they collectively embody lessons that other foundation leaders can apply to efforts in their own regions.
To supplement an existing donor-advised fund
To build up the community information infrastructure in Chicago
Knight Foundation aims to help sustain democracy by leading journalism to its best possible future in the 21st century. @michaelmaness on strategy
Field Research is primary and secondary research done for Knight Foundation.