The additional $9.5 million in funding from Knight will be used to support community foundations interested in investing in local news and information projects. Activities supported by the challenge include seed funding for place-based information projects as well as projects in emerging fields like mobile and open data; expanded technical assistance and training; participation in learning networks; and an annual media learning seminar.
Announced in Miami at the 2013 Media Learning Seminar, the commitment is designed to help community foundations make an impact on issues they care about while creating a more informed and engaged public. Since the challenge was launched in 2008, more than 40 percent of the community foundation field has applied for funding, with more than a hundred winners investing a total of $42 million — more than double Knight's own matching support — in a variety of projects.
"Whether it's responding to wildfires in Arizona, locating affordable housing in Washington, D.C., or fighting predatory lending along the Gulf Coast — challenge winners are, in myriad ways, affirming that people and communities live safer, healthier, and better lives when they're well informed," said Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen. "We do this because we care deeply about civic life. We all want to change our communities for the better. And we all know that whether it's improving education, public health and safety, or any other issue, the positive change we seek depends on the free flow of quality information."