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Knight Foundation enlists community funders

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The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is launching a $24 million effort to encourage community foundations to use technology and the media to transform their communities.

The five-year “Knight Community Information Challenge” is the fourth in the funder’s series of Media Innovation Initiatives, and aims to keep local communities better informed while boosting citizen engagement.

The effort is based on Knight’s belief that information is necessary for the successful operation of a democracy, and that community foundations’ focus on local needs make them logical partners.

The new effort will include $20 million over five years in matching funds that will be made available to community foundations proposing ways to meet their local areas’ information needs.

For the funders receiving grants, experts will be dispatched by the foundation to help grantees develop and carry out their plans.

As part of the program, community foundations are invited to a Media Learning Seminar in February 2009 that will focus on the information needs of communities in a democracy.

Interested organizations should visit http://www.informationneeds.org/ from June 30 through Sept. 15 to propose a project in 200 words or less.

Those chosen to submit full proposals, which should include matching funds, must do so by Oct. 15.

While the program is open to all community foundations, Knight also will consider other foundations that serve geographically-defined areas.

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