The Lenfest Institute supports both the digital transformation of heritage news organizations and entrepreneurial news innovators. Its venture-inspired investment strategy is hands-on, kindling experimentation and entrepreneurship in news enterprises large and small.

The Institute does not currently have any open grant programs. Please sign up for the Institute’s email newsletter to receive updates on future grant calls.

Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange

The Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange is a community-grounded accelerator program supporting BIPOC media entrepreneurs through training, one-on-one coaching, and grantmaking.

The Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange focuses specifically on the urgent need and opportunity to support and advance more media entrepreneurs of color to ensure communities prosper and news businesses thrive and grow sustainably on their own terms.

The Philadelphia COVID-19 Community Information Fund

Tim Tai/Philadelphia Inquirer

The Philadelphia Covid-19 Community Information Fund was created to support Philadelphia-area media and other community organizations as they work tirelessly to meet the information needs of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable communities at this time of acute need. 

The $2.5million Fund was created by The Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF), The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and The Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund (Knight-Lenfest).

$1.75 million in initial funding has been committed to Resolve Philly, WHYY, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and WURD Radio. $750,000 is dedicated to near-term grants, which were awarded via an open application process. Learn more about the grants here.

Philadelphia Inquirer grants

Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Inquirer

H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest purchased The Philadelphia Inquirer and donated it to the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, placing Philadelphia at the epicenter of a national effort to protect and transform local news in the digital age. The Inquirer is now the largest newspapers in the United States operated as a public-benefit corporation, under the non-profit ownership of the Institute, dedicated solely to the mission of preserving local journalism nationwide. The Inquirer serves as a live lab for the Institute’s innovation investments.

The Institute supports the Inquirer through targeted grants that support high-impact journalism; news technology and innovation; and diverse, growing audiences.

For more on the Institute’s support of the Inquirer, click here.

Philadelphia Next Generation Fund

The NextGen Fund supports Philadelphia-area journalists and students of color by awarding stipends to attend the national professional development conference of their choice and receive related support from the Institute.

In order for local journalism to survive and thrive, newsrooms — and the coverage they produce — must be reflective and representative of the communities they serve. The Institute’s aspirational goal is that 50 percent or more of working journalists in Philadelphia will be people of color by 2025. The Next Generation Fund is one of the steps the Institute is taking to help make this goal a reality. ​ The Institute is also focused on improving communication and partnership within the Philadelphia news ecosystem; creating initiatives in digital training, talent development, and newsroom inclusion; supporting entrepreneurship and accelerating the digital transition of individual businesses and news organizations.

Meet the Next Generation Fund award winners.

Innovation Grants

Local News Business Model Challenge

 The Local News Business Challenge addressed the key issue facing local news: finding and nurturing new revenues and sustainable business models.

The projects directly focused on this focus either by optimizing reader-supported revenue such as subscriptions and memberships, or by creating new revenue streams through products that leverage the trust and expertise of journalism organizations.

Philadelphia News Ecosystem Collaboration Grants

The Philadelphia News Ecosystem Collaboration Grants were designed to encourage partnership on a broad array of journalism projects serving the public interest of the diverse communities of the greater Philadelphia region. This inaugural grant-making effort was launched in the belief that public-service journalism and civic information can and should be highly inclusive of multiple voices, disciplines, communities, institutions and individuals.

Community Network Grants

In partnership with the Facebook Journalism Project, the Community Network offers grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 as well as opportunities to connect with industry experts. Whether a person or publisher is trying to build a new business around memberships, report in an underserved community, or build a tool that helps local storytellers find and engage news audiences, we want to provide runway for them to serve their community. Project proposals do not require the use of Facebook tools or products.

Learn about the first three cohorts of Community Grant Network winners here.