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The Lenfest Institute for Journalism Announces Major Gifts from a Broad Base of New Funders; Launches Additional $40 Million Matching Gift Campaign to Support Metropolitan Journalism

PHILADELPHIA (May 3, 2017) – The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, created by philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest in 2016 to sustain and advance independent local journalism, today announced that it has secured new commitments of $26.5 million from a broad base of national and regional funders. The Institute also announced that, based upon this momentum, Mr. Lenfest has committed an additional $40 million, launching a matching gift campaign to further advance the development of sustainable business models for high-quality local journalism. Mr. Lenfest previously donated $20 million to establish the Institute in January 2016.

Today’s announcement includes the following gifts and matching gift commitments to The Lenfest Institute for Journalism:

  • A $15 million gift to its endowment from a new donor requesting anonymity.
  • A $3 million gift from David Haas, and a grant from the Wyncote Foundation of $2 million, directed largely to the Institute’s endowment.
  • Additional gifts and pledges in the amount of $6.5 million have been received from the following individuals, foundations, and corporations:
Ms. Betsy Anderson and Mr. David Sullivan
Anonymous
Ms. Sarah Bartlett
Mr. David Boardman
Brian Communications
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Mr. Stuart Comstock-Gay
Ms. Sheila Coronel
Mr. Gordon Crovitz
Mr. Michael X. Delli Carpini
Mr. and Mrs. Terrance C.Z. and Renuka Egger
Mr. Jim Friedlich and Ms. Melissa Stern
Mr. & Mrs. William A., IV and Frances Graham
The Graham Company
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen and Julia Harmelin
Mr. Burt Herman
Mr. Kenneth Herts
Ms. Feather Houstoun
Mr. Anthony Haile
Independence Blue Cross
Ms. Lisa Kabnick and Mr. John McFadden
The Kopelman Foundation
The Knight Foundation
Ms. Geraldine Laybourne
Dr. Keith Leaphart
LiquidHub
Ms. Sara Lomax-Reese
Mr. and Mrs. William K. and Diane Marimow
Mr. Martin Nisenholtz
Mr. Hong Qu
Mr. Pedro A. Ramos
Mr. Vijay Ravindran
Republic Bank
Dr. Rosalind Remer
Ms. Joy Tartar
Mr. & Mrs. Brian P. and Maud Tierney
Mr. Richard Worley and Ms. Leslie Anne Miller
Mr. & Mrs. Michael F. and Sue E. Young

 

All donations are subject to the Institute’s gift acceptance and conflict of interest policies.

“Great journalism is more vital to our democracy today than ever before and never has it faced such challenges,” said Lenfest. “It has been my sincerest hope that other funders – individuals, corporations, and foundations – would join me in this important effort. I am especially heartened by the depth and breadth of new commitments to the Institute. Based upon this groundswell of interest in our mission, I have decided to match some of the donations already received and to offer further matching gifts to support future giving.”

Since its launch, The Lenfest Institute has funded important new investigative news programs at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, provided hands-on digital product development expertise to news organizations around the country, and funded newsroom digital training for 200 reporters and editors at the Philadelphia Media Network. The Institute has also partnered with the Knight Foundation and Temple University on the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative, a three-year effort to transform newsrooms in a dozen major American cities, with Philadelphia serving as the flagship.

“The Institute is the only organization of its kind devoted to the challenges and opportunities of local and metropolitan journalism,” said Jim Friedlich, executive director and CEO of the Institute. “We are pleased that our work has resonated with national funders and local donors alike. We are deeply grateful to Gerry Lenfest and our growing group of new partners for their support. Our goal is to help reinvent the business of local news – in Philadelphia and around the country – in order to secure its permanent place in our democracy. Today’s announcements are a major step toward achieving that mission.”

At a time when high-quality, independent news faces both societal and business challenges, the matching gift campaign provides an opportunity for donors to invest in great journalism for generations to come. Donors can designate gifts in support of specific programs, initiatives and projects, and collaborate in shaping them. The matching gift campaign allows donors, whether local, regional or national in scope, to maximize their gifts in support of programs that best fit their individual passions.

“I take great pride in the fact that The Lenfest Institute is leveraging the Philadelphia Media Network as a laboratory for local news innovation and transformation,” said Josh ‎Kopelman, chairman of the Philadelphia Media Network (The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and philly.com) and partner in First Round Capital. “As an entrepreneur, I am deeply motivated by Gerry and Jim’s vision and pioneering spirit. It is this forward-looking approach that will help transform newsrooms across the United States, with Philadelphia and our news enterprises helping to lead that revolution.”

For more information regarding The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, please visit www.lenfestinstitute.org. To learn more about donating to The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, please visit the website of The Philadelphia Foundation: http://philafound.org/Lenfest_Institute_for_Journalism.

About The Lenfest Institute for Journalism
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 Institute’s goal is to transform the news industry in the digital age to ensure that high-quality local journalism remains a cornerstone of our democracy.