This progress report
describes our continuing transforma-
tion into a 21st-century organization. We intro-
duced the concept of transformation in our work three
years ago, along with the five elements: discovery, vision,
courage, know-how and tenacity. We continue to refine the
concept, but social change takes time. We don’t claim to have
arrived. Yet the potential of the digital age adds urgency.
No one knows how digital communications will
affect how citizens manage their commu-
nities in a democracy. So we wel-
come experimentation and
as a way to manage
change. What we did
in the last year begins
on the next page.
T Media Innovation
he document you hold in your No one knows how digital communications
hands is a symbol of Knight will impact the ability of citizens to manage
Foundation’s transformation into a their communities in this democracy, just
21st-century organization. as no one can know how economic or Never since the creation of Knight
creative community initiatives will impact Foundation in 1950 have the challenges
It is a slimmer, more succinct version of the market and social development of those facing journalism been greater. Never
our traditional annual report in 12 pages, cities and towns. We do know that change has the opportunity for innovation been
down from last year’s 56. You’ll find this is constant. We welcome experimentation more apparent.
and much more content on the web, where and innovation as strategies for managing
you can access it easily and respond to it that change. And we intend to develop Over time, we’ve invested more than
readily. It’s a trend we expect will continue, sustainable models of success in the $400 million to advance quality journalism
until all of the information we provide to communities we serve. and freedom of expression. But perhaps
our constituents is digital and dynamic – the most telling figure, the one that
a new and powerful starting point for best describes our current course, is
dialogues that can help shape our priorities the $100 million we have committed to
and inform our programs. media innovation initiatives in the past
Our Focus three years.
Our web site, already much improved, will Knight Foundation focuses on the twin
undergo significant changes in just a few passions to which John S. and James L. The question we ask is not, “How do we
months, as we refashion our digital Knight devoted their lives – journalism and save newspapers?” The question is, “How
presence and engage our constituents in the advancement of communities in which do we help save the communications that
real-time and interactive ways. they owned newspapers. We continue today, communities need to manage their affairs
committed and independent, inspired by the in this democracy?” In other words, how
We remain committed to reporting fully entrepreneurship, openness to innovation do we save journalism – with the values
and transparently, to highlighting our and courage embodied by our founders. we know and trust – in the digital age?
strategies and our finances, and to serving Like the Knight brothers, we believe
our stakeholders. But we will do so in technology can strengthen community Nowhere has it been easier to see
ways that reflect the potential, the impact information and, through that information, innovation as a common thread than
and the challenges of our digital age: the communities themselves. in our media grants. In June, nearly
We will become an organization that is of 50 Knight News Challenge winners
the web rather than simply on the web. Toward that end, we have determined gathered at MIT’s remarkable Media Lab
With this hybrid version of our annual to experiment broadly, analyze impact, (www.kflinks.com/newschallenge) to
report – one of the foundation’s core support trends, engage the best minds, see demonstrations of digital works-in-
publications, and a marker of its progress involve other funders and seek the wisdom progress, including place-based, locative
and its history – we take yet another step of the crowd. That last is not just a Web 2.0 games and smart polling devices using
forward on that path. slogan. It’s a way of doing funding, and social networking. And we honor our
the openness of our contests is not only founders’ entrepreneurial spirit by engaging
We do not claim to have arrived. Social emblematic of this way of doing business with breakthrough ideas wherever they
change, inside and outside a foundation, but consistent with the easy accessibility emerge, including our work with Ashoka,
takes time. We are reminded of the story of digital technology. That openness both a global organization that identifies and
of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, shapes and reflects the shifting culture invests in leading social entrepreneurs.
who is said to have asked Zhou Enlai of our operation. Grants from Knight allow Ashoka to seek
what he thought of the French Revolution. and support just such entrepreneurs in
“Too soon to tell,” the Chinese our communities and in journalism
premier responded. (www.kflinks.com/ashoka).
Ashoka is a worldwide network of social entrepreneurs.
Kwame Scruggs of Akron, founder of the Alchemy Inc.
after-school program, is an Ashoka affiliate – a social
entrepreneur in training.
Inset: Stephen Mims tells a story at an Alchemy session.
Main: Kwame Scruggs uses drums to help tell stories to
young men about difficult life choices.
Watch Kwame Scruggs’ story:
A $25 million commitment in the Knight
Our goal is to bring communities together After all, community foundations were
Center of Digital Excellence kicked off
through information, consistent with created to meet the core needs of local
our second media initiative. These days, if
Jack Knight’s definition: A great newspaper geographies. In a democracy, information is
you’re not digital, you’re marginalized as a
should inform and illuminate the minds among those core needs. And in a media
second-class citizen – socially, economically
of its readers, define and expand their environment in which the marketplace is
and politically. We find that unacceptable.
understanding of the world and allow no longer providing sufficient civic news
As a first step toward digital unity, we have
them to pursue what he called “their own and information, we believe that grassroots
established a goal of universal digital access
true interests.” nonprofits may have a new and important
in each of our Knight communities. role to play.
We’ve launched four initiatives to find
The Knight Community Information
The Knight Center of Digital Excellence in
digital innovations and new policies
Challenge is a five-year grant challenging
Akron is a pro bono consulting organization
that better inform geographically defined
communities. The first of these, the Knight whose services are available to any of our community foundations to meet the
News Challenge (www.newschallenge.org), communities. The center will bring in the information needs of their communities.
expertise necessary to level the playing field
is a contest investing $5 million per year Foundations willing to participate can
between the public and the marketplace as
in original ideas that leverage the power tap in to an annual $4 million fund
they negotiate tough digital access issues
of digital technologies to deliver news to (www.informationneeds.org).
Moving digitally hasn’t been only a matter of
> This year’s winners include Sir Tim A third thrust, the Knight Commission on experiments. We’ve also partnered with the
Berners-Lee, the inventor of the the Information Needs of Communities in Carnegie Corporation of New York to fund
World Wide Web. Now an MIT professor, a Democracy (www.knightcomm.org), is the Carnegie-Knight initiative to improve
Berners-Lee and his colleagues are operated in partnership with the Aspen journalism education (www.newsinitiative.
concerned about the integrity of content Institute, one of the nation’s outstanding org/initiative). We’ve also collaborated
on the web. We will support his team’s institutions devoted to the discussion and with NPR to send its staff to the University
development of technology that will allow development of public policy. of California at Berkeley for new-media
writers to disclose sources – and readers training; funded digital media programs for
to verify information quickly. This takes Co-chairs Ted Olson, the former solicitor journalists at Berkeley, USC and Arizona
a technological step in the direction general of the United States, and Marissa State; and we continue to support J-Lab’s
of authenticity and verification on the Mayer, the vice president of search products innovation in interactive journalism
web (www.mediastandardstrust.org). and user experience at Google, lead the (www.j-lab.org), now at American University.
commission. They and their fellow commis-
> Other winners include David Cohn, sioners will a) articulate the information
a young Californian who will test the needs of communities in this democracy,
notion that audiences will contribute b) take a snapshot of where we are today,
to the costs of journalism in their and c) propose public policy that will
communities. Another group will encourage market solutions to get from
deliver news and information to cell where we are to where we should be.
phone users in Zimbabwe. And we’re
supporting technology that will enable Finally, even as we are investing in the
Go see more on these stories
citizens at a virtual town meeting to development of high-level policy, we also
including videos at:
discuss changes in Sochi, Russia, as it want to seed grassroots experiments.
prepares for the 2014 Winter Olympics We believe community foundations are
(www.kflinks.com/sochi). ideal partners in this enterprise.
One of Knight’s four Media Innovation Initiatives is the
Knight News Challenge – a contest funding ideas that use
digital media to deliver news and information to geographically
Inset: Winners gather at MIT’s Media Lab this past June.
Main: Panelists at the MIT roundtable discuss the future of civic
media. From left: NYU’s Jay Rosen, MIT’s Henry Jenkins, Arizona
State’s Dan Gillmor and blogger Lisa Williams (joined by a translator).
Watch the News Challenge story:
As an example of Knight’s customized approach to
community projects, Duluth’s Greenstone Group will
spend the next decade nurturing 500 new entrepreneurs
to grow the region’s economy.
Inset: Jerry Peterson, director, Greenstone Group.
Main: Entrepreneur Carol Willoughby owns a sign company.
Watch the Greenstone Group video:
Knight Communities Initiatives
by $2.5 million from Knight, the Creative communities are healthy and
We are a national foundation known as
Greenstone Group takes an approach engaged communities. Examples:
local in each of the cities and towns where
similar to baseball’s minor league
we work. In our communities, the search
> We are a leading funder of an arts
system to groom some 500 entrepre-
for innovation has led us to extraordinary
neurs over 10 years into the big initiative with a potential impact of
projects. Reflecting needs and opportunities
leagues of business development $60 million that could redefine Miami,
in different communities, each has the
(www.kflinks.com/greenstone). Florida’s cultural scene (www.kflinks.
potential to transform its part of the world.
com/miamiarts). The initiative includes
> In Northeast Ohio, the Fund for endowment grants to major arts
Some of our economic development
Our Economic Future is an assemblage institutions: $10 million to the Miami
of more than 100 funders. It has Art Museum to bring 40,000 school-
> In Southeast Michigan, 10 foundations distributed more than $40 million to children through the museum each
generate new high-tech and biomedical year, $5 million to Miami’s Museum of
including Knight have pooled $100
industry jobs (www.kflinks.com/neohio). Contemporary Art for new exhibitions,
million to generate “new economy” jobs,
Knight’s total contribution to this effort and $5 million to endow the new-media
different from the region’s traditional
has been $3.15 million. programs of the New World Symphony.
manufacturing base (www.kflinks.com/
An additional $20 million is being
semichigan). Knight’s contribution was
> We support a range of work-force offered over five years on a matching
development and training programs in basis for arts ideas in South Florida.
> In the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, Knight communities, including Wichita,
Kansas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and
and Superior, Wisconsin, the best
potential economic asset is the
individual entrepreneur. There, backed
> Knight is a key supporter of cultural the process. Necessary social and house under one roof the major
innovations that build community in employment services are housed inside nonprofit organizations in the region.
San Jose, California, through 1st Act the shelter, making them accessible to
Silicon Valley (www.1stact.org). Knight’s folks who want to get back on their feet. Knight Foundation continues today,
$3.5 million challenge grant leverages inspired by the entrepreneurship,
> Immigration is an important issue
the region’s high-tech success through openness to innovation and courage of
physical improvements and increased in many of the Knight communities. our founders. We are committed to
investments in arts and culture. Our efforts in the area focus on the transformational change grounded in
naturalization of legal residents. To that discovery, inspired by vision and made real
> In Tallahassee, Florida, we’ve committed end, we support organizations like the by courage, know-how and tenacity. To
more than $600,000 to help broaden National League of Cities, NCLR and the be effective, that kind of change requires
the area’s economy beyond its classic YMCA in their programs to encourage dialogue – not just within the foundation,
reliance on higher education and state residents to become fully participating but in active collaboration with our
government by growing and developing citizens of the United States. communities and our journalism partners.
the creative community.
> We will never, ever, forget our We want and need your participation
communities of Biloxi and Gulfport,
Civic life plays out in many ways: and ask you to join in the discussion at
Mississippi. There, we have invested www.kflinks.com/essay.
> We are supporting the construction of a more than $9 million – very well-
new public-private homeless assistance placed and effective dollars – all since
partnership in Columbia, South Carolina, Hurricane Katrina walloped that Knight
with $5 million. This attempt to reduce community (www.kflinks.com/katrina). W. Gerald Austen, M.D.
homelessness in that Knight city is Our projects there include support of Chairman
similar to Miami’s Community Partner- the Governor’s Commission on Recov-
ship for the Homeless, where clean, ery, Rebuilding and Renewal; Habitat
safe shelter is only the beginning of for Humanity; and the creation of a Alberto Ibargüen
Knight Center for Nonprofits that will President and CEO
The Knight Arts Partnership offers South Floridians a
chance to present ideas to expand the arts, benefiting
a diverse community.
Inset: Miami Art Museum’s Terence Riley stands behind
a model of the museum’s new building designed by
Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron.
Main: Museumgoers visit a recent exhibition.
Watch the Miami arts story:
In 2007, Knight Foundation granted $122,270,000. Over the course of the year, the foundation approved a variety of initiatives
to be paid out over several years, and the total amount of grants authorized for current and future payment is $165,310,078.
For a complete list of 2007 grants, please go to www.knightfoundation.org.
Communities $ 85,486,174
Strategic and New Initiatives 28,968,214
GRAND TOTAL $165,310,078
Growth in Dollars Directed
Transformation Projects to Transformation Projects
Consistent with our commitment to change, Knight Foundation has increased grant dollars going
toward projects with the capacity to transform communities and journalism. Examples:
> The Knight News Challenge has already awarded 37 grants worth $17.8 million to winners worldwide.
It is part of a $25 million, five-year initiative.
> Ashoka: Innovators for the Public will identify and support 30 social entrepreneurs in the field
of journalism with $3 million in support over three years.
> Citizen Schools has expanded its cutting-edge after-school program to eight U.S. regions.
Knight has contributed $3 million to an endowment that allows this program to scale up.
> The Saint Paul Foundation is using $1.575 million for neighborhood enhancements as a
light-rail line begins to link the Twin Cities.
> The Knight Arts Partnership will provide $20 million in arts endowments and another $20 million
in matching grants for the arts in South Florida. 2006 2007
Trustees and Officers
W. Gerald Austen, M.D. Paul S. Grogan Paula Lynn Ellis
Chairman and Trustee Trustee Vice President/Strategic Initiatives
Alberto Ibargüen Rolfe Neill Marc Fest
President and CEO Trustee Vice President of Communications
Robert W. Briggs Mariam C. Noland Belinda Turner Lawrence
Vice Chairman Trustee Vice President/
Chief Administrative Officer
Cesar L. Alvarez Beverly Knight Olson
Juan J. Martinez
Vice President/CFO and Treasurer
Mary Sue Coleman Earl W. Powell
Senior Communications Officer/Secretary
Marjorie Knight Crane John W. Rogers Jr.
Vice President/Journalism Program
James N. Crutchfield E. Roe Stamps IV
Vice President/Communities Program
Media Innovation Initiatives
Communities in a democracy need news and information. Knight Foundation addresses this
core community need through four initiatives:
Knight News Knight Community Knight Commission Knight Center of
Challenge Information Challenge on Information Needs Digital Excellence
The Knight News Challenge The Knight Community The Knight Commission on The Knight Center of
funds ideas that use digital Information Challenge the Information Needs of Digital Excellence is a
media to deliver news and offers matching grants Communities in a Democracy, nonprofit consultancy to
information to geographically to foundations across in partnership with the Aspen help communities across the
defined communities. America in a grassroots Institute, will propose public United States ensure digital
initiative to strengthen policy to meet those needs. access for every citizen.
www.newschallenge.org the communication of
information in communities.
Join the Media Acknowledgements
Innovation Conversation Editor:
Robertson Adams, Julie Brooks,
Meet Kristen Taylor, our new online community manager. Caroline Wingate and Dianne Lynch
She wants to know what you think about these media innovation Video Production/Photography:
efforts. Contact Kristen at email@example.com. Brett O’Bourke and Richard
Patterson, Common Machine
Productions, Miami, Fla.
Leave a comment at www.kflinks.com/initiatives.
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