Knight Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Knight Foundation gives funding priority to regions of the country in which the newspapers had a presence, including the Bay Area. The foundation gives not only to journalism causes but also to supporting inclusive communities and connecting people through art.

FUNDING AREAS: Journalism, communities, art

INSIDE: While the foundation generously funds organizations located in the Bay Area, it is not based there, so organizations are competing with 25 other regions across the United States. The foundation does not have a grantmaking program specific to the Bay Area.

PROFILE: Established in 1940, the Knight Foundation is named after Charles Landon Knight, who was the publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal from 1907 to 1933. He often helped financially strapped college students pay for tuition. Based on a commitment to education, Charles's sons started the foundation after his death and expanded it to support social services, culture, and journalism causes. After the foundation was established, most of the contributions came from Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal and Florida's Miami Herald. However, after the Knights' mother, Clara, passed away and left her inheritance, worth $5.2 million in 1965, to the foundation, no further newspaper support was necessary. Current grantmaking areas of interest include journalism, communities, and art.

If a nonprofit wants to pitch a journalism program, it should work to further internet access, journalism education, freedom of expression, or international distribution to achieve journalistic excellence in the digital age. Community development proposals may be for programs that engage individuals in change and focus on young social entrepreneurial leaders in the Bay Area. The funder also intends to make cities more inclusive, as well as fund arts organizations. Arts grant proposals should suggest ideas that bring art into people's everyday lives by utilizing technology.

Foundation grants are often between $50,000 and $1 million each. Learn more about recent grants by browsing the funder’s grants page. The California cities in focus are San Jose and Long Beach. In the early 1990s, the Knight Foundation designated 26 communities that were eligible for grant funding because the Knight brothers owned newspapers in those places. These 26 communities also include Southeastern and Midwestern cities. The foundation is headquartered in Miami.

The foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofits. This process is conducted online, and there are also funding opportunities through open challenges. Direct general question to the foundation staff at 305-908-2600 or


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