Knight Foundation: Journalism Program

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Journalism News Media & Communications

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program, Education / Outreach, Capital Project

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

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Our Mission

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

Program Area: Journalism

Building a sustainable future for local news.

What We Fund

Knight Foundation supports free expression and journalistic excellence in the digital age. Our goal is to promote informed and engaged communities, which are vital to a healthy democracy. 

We are committed to defending the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, including freedom of the press and freedom of expression, in the face of both long-standing threats and unprecedented challenges emerging as technology changes the way we communicate.

Our work supporting journalistic excellence is built on three pillars:

  • Technology innovation: We invest in ideas that leverage technology and data for reporting and storytelling, engaging and empowering audiences, and combating mis/disinformation. We also seek to advance the responsible use of artificial intelligence and identify potentially game-changing technologies to advance the practice of journalism. 
  • Local news: We support the development of sustainable, replicable business models to support local news. We invest in innovative approaches to local journalism, including new audience engagement strategies to expand quality reporting, rebuild trust and increase civic engagement. We help public media, traditional news organizations and local TV news stations keep up with the changing ways people are consuming and engaging with news and information.
  • Talent and learning: We invest in people and networks driving innovation and diversity in journalism, accelerating the digital and cultural transformation of the field. We promote digital literacy among citizens. We help journalists prepare for the future through peer-to-peer learning, skills training and leadership development. We underpin journalism education through endowed Knight Chairs at major universities.

Several aspects of our work are currently aligned in our Trust, Media and Democracy initiative. The intiative includes grantmaking, research, convenings and a Knight Commission drawn from across media, law and academia. The Commission is seeking powerful solutions to the crisis of trust in institutions -- including the media -- that weaken our democracy. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • We primarily fund U.S.-based organizations. 


  • Knight Foundation's Board of Trustees prefer not to fund: 
    • Requests for support of fundraising events.
    • Requests to cover operating deficits.
    • Charities operated by service clubs.
    • Activities that are normally the responsibility of government (The foundation will, in selective cases, partner with government in supporting special projects.).
    • Medical research; organizations or projects whose mission is to prevent, eradicate or alleviate the effects of a specific disease; requests from hospitals (unless they are for community-wide capital campaigns with a stated goal and beginning and ending dates, or for specific projects that meet foundation goals).
    • Activities to propagate a religious faith or that are restricted to one religion or denomination; support of political candidates; memorials.
    • International programs and organizations, except U.S.-based organizations supporting a free press around the world.
    • A second request for a capital campaign for which the foundation previously approved a grant.
    • Conferences; group travel; honoraria for distinguished guests—except in initiatives of the foundation in all three cases.
    • The board and program staff remain open to ideas and opportunities and will exercise flexibility when needed.
  • We do not pay indirect administrative fees to grantee organizations.
    • We may make exceptions if you are providing a necessary service directly related to the grant.
    • Based on the recommendation of program staff, on an case-by-case basis, we will consider indirect fee payments of up to 10 percent of a proposed grant.


This page was last reviewed July 22, 2021 and last updated June 23, 2021