The 21st century is an age of radical transformation for all forms of journalism, especially those dedicated to high-quality cultural coverage and professional criticism of the arts. Yet an active arts life is a primary component of community vitality. The Knight Foundation is partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts to seek new ideas for sustainable local arts journalism through an action-plan competition open to individuals, nonprofits, educational institutions and businesses.

This challenge focuses on arts journalism projects within the communities of Akron, Charlotte, Detroit, Macon, Miami, Philadelphia, San Jose and St. Paul. We are looking for particularly innovative ideas for sustaining local arts journalism.

This is a two-stage competition. First-round winners will be awarded up to $20,000 to develop a detailed “Idea to Action” plan. Upon completion of these plans, a separate evaluation will be conducted to determine if additional implementation funds, of up to $80,000 over a two year period, may be awarded. Idea to Action plans will be judged on their ability to provide a clear description of your project and how it will impact arts journalism in your community including new ideas for collaboration and sustainability.

Please indicate whether you are applying as an individual, a nonprofit or a for-profit organization.

Application Number 33465
Please check:
Organization's legal name:
Other or previous operating name (aka/dba):
Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN):
State and ZIP:
Phone:           Fax:
Web site:
Name and title of primary contact: First:   Last:   Title:
Primary contact’s e-mail:
Primary contact’s phone:

Partner / Supporting Organizations:

If your project involves partnerships, please enter the following information for all partners:

Organization’s legal name:
Primary contact’s name / Title:
Primary contact’s telephone:
Primary contact’s email:


1. Description of project in one short sentence.
2. Estimated cost of "Idea to Action" plan development
3. Estimated implementation cost to establish the project from all sources
4. Estimated annual cost of operating the project from all sources, once launched
5. If applicable, please list your group’s operating revenues and expenses for the current year
6. What is the end date of your fiscal year?


Please write no more than a few paragraphs for each section. Please read all the questions before beginning.

1A. What’s your project? Please sum it up, then list key activities and the timetable. What problems are you solving? Tell us why this content is needed and how it is different from other arts journalism already in the community. Explain both short-term and long-term community impact you want to achieve.
1B. What’s your economic model and growth strategy? Tell us how you would achieve the development of the plan and by when. Please explain the fundamental revenue (if any) and cost assumptions and growth expectations. Would there be full-time business staff?
2. Who are you? What makes your group the right one to do this work? Describe your background: history, mission, leadership, partners and projects.
3. What makes this a fit for this challenge? Tell us why this is the right project to do at this particular moment. Please tell us, for example, how this leverages social networks or other emerging digital and/or mobile platforms; re-purposes or revitalizes legacy delivery systems; or invents other effective ways to share quality cultural content and criticism across the targeted community.
4A. How will you know you’ve succeeded? Please explain how you’ll measure and communicate the results of your work. Explain how you will measure 1.) the audience size, 2. community engagement and 3. community impact, ie., how life is improved.
4B. What sources of support and/or revenue will help to establish and sustain the project beyond support from Knight/NEA?
Important: Please include the following supporting documents, if applicable.
Your organization's current annual operating budget, including revenues and expenses.
A budget for completion of the "Idea to Action" business plan, listing other funders, if applicable, with a narrative explaining who you would work with to prepare the plan. Required.
List of organization's governing body and its officers, showing business, professional and community affiliations.
Organization's most recent audited financial statement or IRS Form 990 if audits are not completed by the organization.

As a potential grantee of Knight/NEA, please be aware of the following:  

Submission of this proposal indicates your organization’s permission for Knight Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) to ask people who are not members of either organization’s staff to review the proposal and to give advice and information to the Foundation and NEA about your organization, board, staff and others with whom you are affiliated. Materials submitted to Knight Foundation and/or NEA as part of the proposal process will be used as the foundation deems appropriate. They are not subject to any right of confidentiality unless specifically agreed to in writing by Knight Foundation and NEA.

Knight Foundation and/or NEA is under no obligation to fund the applicant. If it does choose to have a future relationship, the foundation may suggest the type, including contracts, grants, loans, program-related investments or others.