INNovation Fund Expands to Provide More Support to Innovative Nonprofit News and Public Media Projects

Los Angeles, Calif., Jan. 5, 2016 — The Institute for Nonprofit News is pleased to announce new support from the Democracy Fund to expand the INNovation Fund, a micro-grant program established in 2014 with support from the John S. and James. L. Knight Foundation that aims to encourage innovation and experimentation in nonprofit news and public media organizations.

The Democracy Fund has contributed an additional $200,000 to fund the fourth round of the program, which will enable a broader field of grant recipients.

The INNovation Fund provides grants of up to $35,000 each for projects aimed at building new innovations and revenue sources, while developing audience engagement techniques and stronger business models. Recipients compete for the grants based on their proposals and progress shown toward reaching these goals.

Winners of the INNovation grants will be announced in late January.

“Iterating and learning from experiments that pursue innovation in revenue and audience engagement is critical for the news industry,” said Tom Glaisyer, program director with the Democracy Fund. “We’re excited to be able to support INN’s program that supports this kind of innovation and ensures the important knowledge developed is shared broadly across the country.”

INN received a robust field of entries for the fourth round.

“We are so pleased to be able to expand support of creative approaches to financing public service journalism and ensuring it reaches more people,” said Sue Cross, CEO and executive director of INN. “Each grant supports not only the winning publication, but produces results that are shared with nonprofit news sites across the country.”

Knight Foundation invested $1 million to launch the INNovation Fund in 2014, as part of its $5 million Knight Local Media Initiative that aims to help nonprofit news organizations establish long-term sustainability.

“The INNovation Fund is helping to advance journalism excellence by supporting the efforts of local and public media organizations that are innovating and adapting to the demands of the digital age,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “Its expansion will help more organizations explore new opportunities, while providing lessons for the field.”

Previous projects have helped nonprofit newsrooms develop events, radio programs, mobile apps and other ways to engage audiences and support public interest news.

The INNovation Fund homepage provides information about the 24 winning projects from the previous three rounds. Announcement of Round 4 winners, originally scheduled for Jan. 15, has been moved to Jan. 22 to finalize the additional grants.

About the Institute for Nonprofit News

The Institute for Nonprofit News (formerly the Investigative News Network) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization dedicated to advancing excellence and sustainability in the nonprofit investigative and public service sector. INN was founded in 2009 to help public service news organizations produce and distribute stories with impact, achieve cost efficiencies by pooling resources and develop sustainable businesses. For more, visit or follow us on Twitter @INN.

About the Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the public and able to meet the greatest challenges facing our nation. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter @democracyfund.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit