Lenfest Institute for Journalism opens applications for $350,000 in local business model grants

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 13, 2018 — The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the Philadelphia-based non-profit organization focused solely on sustaining local news organizations across the country, today announced a new grant program for $350,000 to help support the development of local news business models.

The Local News Business Model Challenge will open for applications Sept. 13, with submissions due by Oct. 15. Online applications are at https://lenfestinstitute.submittable.com/submit, and both for-profit and non-profit organizations, along with projects and individuals, are welcome to apply.

The program offers 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.

Examples of previous projects we have funded that show the types of projects we support are: News Revenue Hub, which helps build membership programs for news organizations; Berkeleyside, which completed a direct public offering for community members to invest in the local news site; and Report for America, which aims to place 1,000 local journalists around the country through a combination of national and local philanthropy along with newsroom support. You can learn more about past grantees here.

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