Local Journalism, Innovation, Democracy
The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is the first-of-its-kind non-profit organization whose sole mission is to develop and support sustainable business models for great local journalism. The Institute was founded in 2016 by cable television entrepreneur H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest. Lenfest gifted to the Institute an initial endowment of $20 million, which has since been supplemented by other donors, for investment in innovative news initiatives, new technology, and new models for sustainable journalism. Lenfest also gifted his ownership of the Philadelphia Media Network (The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and philly.com, the Philadelphia region’s largest local news website) and these news properties now serve as a live lab for the Institute’s innovation efforts. The Institute is overseen by a Board of Managers including news executives, media entrepreneurs, software and technology executives, philanthropists, community leaders and leading academics.
The Philadelphia news properties are now the largest newspapers in America operated as a public-benefit corporation, under the non-profit ownership of the Institute, dedicated solely to the mission of preserving local journalism nationwide. These news properties will also serve as a live lab for the Institute’s innovation investments.
With this organizational structure in place, the endowment for the Institute is able to receive additional donations from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities for the mission of continuing journalism, all of which are tax-deductible through The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF). A publicly supported foundation, TPF manages assets of over $392 million and more than 900 charitable funds established by its fund holders.
In September 2016, the Board of the Managers for The Lenfest Institute for Journalism named Jim Friedlich, a veteran Wall Street Journal executive and media investor, as its CEO and Executive Director. David Boardman, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative news editor (The Seattle Times) and Dean of the Temple University School of Media & Communications, was appointed Vice Chairman and head of the Programs Committee of the Institute Board of Managers.
The Institute’s Board of Managers includes leading digital news leaders, accomplished media software entrepreneurs, leading journalism academics, community leaders and philanthropists.
The Institute’s Board of Managers includes digital news leaders, accomplished media software entrepreneurs, leading journalism academics, community leaders and philanthropists.