The Knight Foundation

“Thus we seek to bestir the people into an awareness of their own condition, provide inspiration for their thoughts and rouse them to pursue their true interests.” John S. Knight, April 1969


Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.


We support people and organizations committed to advancing excellence in journalism and informing people in communities of all sizes through experimentation, innovation and leadership

We fund projects of all sizes that advance Knight Foundation’s goal of promoting informed and engaged communities to support a healthy democracy.

Media Innovation

We fund projects that seek to improve how we create, share and use information essential to communities by providing early-stage funding for experimentation and growth. Our efforts support the ideas of people who are curious, adaptable and willing to share what they learn—whether it be from a success or a failure.

Engaged Communities

We invest in civic innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement. We believe that the design of places plays an outsize role in achieving these goals.

We work in 26 communities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight owned newspapers. Resident program directors oversee our grant-making in eight: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Philadelphia; San Jose, Calif.; and St. Paul, Minn. We partner with community foundations in the remaining 18.

Our foundation has invested more than $841 million in community initiatives since its creation in 1950. We want our national network of learning to inspire the actions of residents in each of our communities and help us build a better democracy and a successful future.

Fostering the Arts

Our goal is to weave the arts into the fabric of Knight resident communities to engage and inspire the people living in them. The foundation believes that the arts are a catalyst for public dialogue and that shared cultural experiences contribute to a sense of place and communal identity.

We seek innovative ways to reach, engage and increase audiences for the arts, including through the use of technology.

Over a three-year period, Knight funded 1,000 “Random Acts of Culture” to bring artists out of the performance halls and into people’s everyday lives.

As a way to solicit fresh and innovative ideas, we launched the Knight Arts Challenge, an open call for ideas that is now in Detroit, Miami and St. Paul, Minn. (and starting in late summer in Akron, Ohio). The challenge seeks to find and fund the best ideas for the arts. Winners range from individual artists to anchor cultural institutions.

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