Knight Foundation: Grants for Arts

OVERVIEW: The Knight Foundation invests in journalism, the arts, informed communities, learning, and technology. 

IP TAKE: Grantseekers who demonstrate how their programs or projects are innovative and related to community engagement are more likely to secure funding. While the Knight Foundation supports organizations across the United States, it prioritizes those in any one of its 

PROFILE: The Knight Foundation was established by brothers John S. and James L. Knight. The brothers, both news publishers, believed that a "well-informed community could best determine its own true interests and was essential to a well-functioning representative democracy." The foundation seeks to "foster informed and engaged communities, which [it] believe[s] are essential for a healthy democracy." It invests in technology, journalismcommunities, and the arts

The foundation's arts program seeks to partner with those who create or present art that "engages, educates and delights residents in ways that reflect the rich diversity and identity of each community." The foundation's investments in the arts aim to fund anchor institutions seeking wider audiences" and by supporting grassroots initiatives of individual artists and organizations. According to its Statement of Strategy, the foundation has not necessarily changed the way in which it conducts its arts program, but now includes an explicit emphasis on "artistic excellence, authenticity and inclusion, and the integration of technology in all aspects of the creative process" 

While the foundation conducts grantmaking nationally, it prioritizes giving to organizations that are part of its Knight Communities, located across 26 cities where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers.

The foundation also conducts several initiatives through its arts program, such as the Knight Arts Challenge. It only requires that applicants communicate an idea about the arts; that the project occurs in or benefits one of the four communities: Akron, Ohio, Detroit, South Florida or St. Paul; and that grantseekers "find other funding to match the Knight Foundation grant." With an application of only 150 words, grants are competitive and due between March 29 and April 28. 

Further, the foundation offers Community Arts Grantmaking, which "invest[a] in the arts ecosystem in Knight cities so that arts can continue to strengthen communities." The initiative emphasizes technology, inclusion and diversity, and excellence. Applications are generally due between May 1 and June 1; however, it only prioritizes people and organizations from Charlotte, Macon, Georgia, Philadelphia, and San Jose, California.

Grants range from $5,000 to $75,000; prior grantees are listed here. Grantseekers may also apply to Knight directly by first sending a letter of inquiry here. Since Knight develops new projects on an ongoing basis, grantseekers are advised to sign up for the foundation's newsletter. 


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