Community and place-based foundations are shifting from passive or reactive grant-maker to a role that is more catalytic. They are asking, "How do we take the leap into leadership and bring about transformation?" One way foundations are taking on this role is by connecting their work to the information needs in their communities.
Through the Knight Community Information Challenge (KCIC), Knight Foundation has committed $24 million over five years to encourage community and place-based foundations to play a greater role in informing and engaging communities. Over the past three years, we have seen foundations of different sizes and geographic regions take a leadership role in using information to improve the lives of the populations they serve. Through their KCIC projects, foundations are using technology to create and support new news models, online information hubs, citizen journalism activities, youth media outlets, advocacy campaigns and civic engagement activities.
While there are many success stories to tell among the KCIC-funded foundations supporting information and media projects, we have chosen to highlight three that have taken distinct pathways beyond grant making, have experienced success and are in the process transforming the way they do their work. Our profiles tell the stories of why these foundations were motivated to incorporate information needs into their work, what they did to achieve their goals and what outcomes they have seen as a result. Across the three stories, the common expression of their work is the connection between information and community leadership.
What We Learned
Community and place-based foundations – uniquely positioned to be community leaders – used all of the assets at their disposal, including information and media, to engage in issues, thereby transforming their organizations to become more effective leaders and agents for community change.
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To create a public information news service providing always-on website, weekly newsletter and tools for data analysis and web discussion forums
To create a forum where more than 170 groups concerned with the environment can exchange information and improve citizen engagement
To help sustain healthy communities in a democracy, we aim to increase the ability of individuals to engage in change. Trabian Shorters on our strategy
Field Research is primary and secondary research done for Knight Foundation.