The Lenfest Institute provides grant funding, runs training programs, and synthesizes best practices to develop and disseminate sustainable solutions to the business challenges facing local news providers.
The Institute was founded in 2016 by the late 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.
The Lenfest Institute is an innovator and a change agent developing scalable solutions across Philadelphia’s news ecosystem that apply nationwide. The Institute is building viable, replicable models for sustainable local news enterprises through its four core focus areas:
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Lenfest Institute is the nonprofit, non-controlling owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, which is now the largest newspaper in America operated as a public-benefit corporation. The Institute’s ownership of The Inquirer—which covers one of the largest, most diverse metro regions in the country — is the cornerstone of its enthusiastic investment in local news.
The Philadelphia News Ecosystem
In the Philadelphia area, the Institute facilitates a collaborative news and information ecosystem that builds on valuable history while also fostering entrepreneurial vision and innovation. Diversity and representation are critical components of positive business outcomes. The Institute is working to define different pathways to sustainability for publishers while also ensuring a diversity of representative voices and leadership in both legacy and independent media reflective of the communities they’re serving.
Spotlight PA, the Harrisburg newsroom launched by The Lenfest Institute and The Philadelphia Inquirer, creates high-quality investigative and accountability reporting for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians. It provides its reporting free-of-charge to more than 80 other newspapers, public radio stations, and websites throughout the commonwealth. As the steward of both The Inquirer and Spotlight PA, the Institute is blazing a unique path by serving legacy publishers and digital start-ups as they aim to fill gaps and serve new and underrepresented audiences.
National Solutions for Local News
Nationally, the Institute leverages its institutional expertise and resources to facilitate capacity building for local news publishers through training programs and grantmaking to support the implementation of business model best practices.