New Knight News Challenge to Focus on Civic Participation

New Knight News Challenge to Focus on Civic Participation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a new Knight News Challenge competition focused on informing voters and increasing civic participation before, during, and after elections.

A collaboration between the Democracy Fund and the Knight, William and Flora Hewlett, and Rita Allen foundations, the challenge will award grants totaling $3 million for ideas designed to bring more transparency to money and politics; make voting easier, fairer, and more efficient; and convert election participation into longer-term civic engagement at the local, state, and national level. In addition to putting up funds for the challenge, all four organizations will work to stimulate ideas, conduct outreach, and review entries.

In the wake of the 2014 mid-term elections, which saw the lowest voter turnout since World War II, the challenge aims to address voter apathy by identifying new ways to provide access to reliable information about issues, make the election process more pleasant and empowering, and enable voters to make connections and become more engaged in their communities after they cast their ballots.

While the competition is open to journalists, civic technologists, state and local election officials, academics, students, startups, nonprofits, governments, and individuals, it will not fund projects involving voter registration or lobbying or advocacy on behalf of specific parties, initiatives, or candidates. Submissions will be accepted from February 25 through March 19, with the winners to be announced in late June.

"Knight News Challenge to Focus on Elections." John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Blog Post 02/12/2015.