Knight Foundation, INN partner on $1M innovation fund

By Andrew Lapin

The Knight Foundation and the Investigative News Network (INN) are teaming up to award $1 million in microgrants for innovation at public media and nonprofit news operations.

The INNovate Fund is one of several initiatives totaling $5 million that Knight has planned in response to its 2013 in-depth study of nonprofit news sustainability. Knight will provide the funding, while INN will manage the two-year grant program and select recipients. Online applications will open March 1 and are open to all nonprofit and public media news organizations.

Successful applications should meet three criteria, according to INN CEO Kevin Davis. Organizations should deliver fully formed proposals with detailed line-item budgets. “We want to see that there’s some forethought before they submit the grant,” Davis said. In addition, applicants should propose quantifiable metrics for success and be prepared for INN to follow and report on the work being funded, including implementation and results.

INN and Knight are defining “innovation” in both a micro and macro sense, Davis said, and they expect applicants to submit proposals that would benefit primarily their individual organizations, not necessarily the industry as a whole.

Public media and nonprofit outlets can partner on proposals, said Michael Maness, Knight v.p. of journalism and media innovation. The grants will not distinguish between types of organizations. Knight and INN will host a Google Hangout Feb. 13 to discuss the fund.

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