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21 Communities to Share Knight Challenge’s $5 million

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is providing 21 communities with $5 million in total funding “to help community foundations support creative ways to use new media and technology to keep communities engaged.”

Here is the information from a Knight Press Release:

Twenty-one innovative ideas that will help residents lead informed lives have received $5 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The projects are the first winners of the Knight Community Information Challenge, a five-year, $24 million initiative to help community foundations support creative ways to use new media and technology to keep communities engaged.

“At Knight Foundation, we firmly believe that you cannot effectively manage the affairs of a community in a democracy without the free flow of information. That’s why we believe that information is a core community need, as critical as any to a healthy community,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation’s president and CEO. “Our goal at Knight is informed and engaged communities. Community foundations were established to meet core community needs, so they are logical partners.”

“The range and variety of projects naturally reflects the differences between communities and the consequent interests of community foundations.”

The winning projects include:

* A hyperlocal news site staffed by professional journalists and citizen contributors in the five ethnically diverse towns of Connecticut’s Lower Naugatuck Valley – which have lost their newspaper and local radio station over the last decade. The site will be modeled after an online news source in nearby New Haven.
* “Story-stations” in underserved communities throughout San Diego, including the region’s 18 Indian reservations. The reports will be produced and distributed through a newly created digital news network spearheaded by the local start-up
* A state-wide competition in Minnesota to come up with the best solutions to community problems. Priorities will be identified through community listening sessions in conjunction with Minnesota Public Radio. Winning ideas will become a reality, thanks to grants from the Minnesota Community Foundation and its partners.

See all the winners here.

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