Lenfest Institute for Journalism opens applications for $150K in Philadelphia news ecosystem collaboration grants

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 1, 2018 — The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the Philadelphia-based non-profit organization focused on sustaining local news organizations across the country, today announced a new grant program supporting collaboration in its home region.

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.

Applications open today, Oct. 1, with submissions due by Oct. 31 at https://lenfestinstitute.submittable.com/submit. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations, along with projects and individuals, are welcome to apply.

Collaboration and partnerships are key for the long-term sustainability of local news in Philadelphia and elsewhere. By working together, organizations can learn from one another, make limited resources go farther and reach new audiences. Under the grant program, we are open to any form of partnerships designed to assist in the strengthening of the Philadelphia-region news ecosystem  including and beyond content sharing between media organizations. Examples could include organizations together building digital infrastructure and products, collaboration on the marketing or referrals of news or civic information content, revenue sharing and more.

Note that these collaborations don’t need to only include news organizations. We are open to funding projects that leverage other community organizations — public or private, civic or business — to better inform local residents and activate engaged citizens.

Because the key to successful collaboration is often in the strength of the planning, applications can be for planning grants to lay the groundwork for organizations to work together. Applicants can also use the funds for a prototype collaboration experiment as a proof of concept.

Examples of previous projects that Lenfest has funded demonstrate the types of collaboration grants we seek to support:

  • Resolve Philly, a Solutions Journalism project that brings together 20 area newsrooms and two local universities for focused reporting on a single topic, most recently on economic inequality.
  • WHYY, which launched audio reporting training for journalists and citizens across the city to find and train new and diverse voices within the news ecosystem.
  • Technically Philly, which tested a joint marketing campaign for local news sites.

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.


About the Lenfest Institute for Journalism

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is a 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, which has since been supplemented by other donors, for investment in innovative news initiatives, new technology and new models for sustainable journalism. The Institute’s goal is to help transform the news industry in the digital age to ensure that high-quality local journalism remains a cornerstone of our democracy.

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