The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION. Preserving the First Amendment and democracy.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation acquired wealth came from the Knight and later Ritter newspapers in 26 cities. The Foundation formed in 1940 began helping poor Akron college students pay for college. The mission expanded to supporting journalism and the 26 Knight-Ritter communities. The current assets of the Knight Foundation are $2.4 billion and it makes numerous grants now approaching $100 million a year.
Today the Foundation seeks advances in Journalism in the digital age, the success of cities, and conducts National Initiatives, in the Arts and Technological Innovation. In 2005, observing the precipitous decline of newspapers, the current Knight Foundation President, Alberto Ibargüen suspended the further creation of endowments of journalism programs at colleges and universities. Traditional journalism education does not meet the challenges of the digital age.
Knight has also focused upon improving public participation and voices in the democratic process local, state and national. Knight News Challenge is providing $50 million to find new ways of sharing information, to do nonpartisan fact-checking, to track money, provide campaign speech transcripts, expand voting rights, e.g. felons. The Foundation vigorously defends the First Amendment, funding regular surveys to measure high school students’ awareness. The Foundation created the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
Open Secrets shows Hodding Carter III, Jimmy Carter’s former strategist and later President of the Knight Foundation, not surprisingly, making 53 political contributions exclusively to Democrats. Current Knight President Alberto Ibarguen has made no known political contributions.