The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is proud to fund individuals and organizations building news and information products that engage and inform local communities.

We are building a new type of organization based on a “venture philanthropy” model: pairing a non-profit structure with an entrepreneurial mindset. We encourage bold risk-taking on projects with the potential for major payoffs, recognizing many attempts aimed at transformation will deliver important new insights even if missing the mark on desired outcomes. The Institute’s grantees and entrepreneurs in residence work as a cohort, sharing findings with each other and the public.

We are now accepting applications for two new grant programs: The Local News Business Model Challenge and The Philadelphia Ecosystem Collaboration Fund.

The Local Business Model Challenge will offer a total $350,000 in grants of up to $50,000 each for projects that explore new business models for sustainable local news and information organizations. These could be new products that generate revenue, or new business models that add or replace existing revenue streams. We are interested in ways to improve on existing models like subscriptions or membership, advertising or events — and also to explore totally new ways of sustaining a local news business. This can be a digital product that could be scaled beyond one locality and used by others. It can also be a project that serves as an demonstration of a new revenue model, and provide a toolkit for applying it elsewhere.

For more information, we will be holding two online webinars about this grant: Sept. 18 at 2p ET, and Oct. 2 at 1p ET. Please sign up at the links to the dates.

Click here to apply. The application deadline is October 15, 2018.

The Philadelphia Ecosystem Collaboration Fund will offer a total of $150,000 for planning or prototype grants of up to $25,000 each for projects that bring together organizations in the Philadelphia area for closer collaboration. Organizations based outside Philadelphia are welcome to apply if they are working with at least two other partners in the region. More details are available here.

Submissions are due by October 31, 2018. Click here to apply . Both for-profit and non-profit organizations, along with projects and individuals, are welcome to apply. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations, along with projects and individuals, are welcome to apply.

For more information about the grant program, we will be holding an online webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 3pm. Please RSVP for the call at this link.

We will also be hosting an in-person event the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 23 in Philadelphia about the program, where potential applicants will have a chance to match up with partners in an interactive, speed-dating like format. Please RSVP for that event here.