Informed and Engaged Urban Communities

The Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund was established at the Legacy Foundation in 2002 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Through its Communities Program, Knight Foundation uses Donor Advised Funds at local community foundations to make investments in the 26 communities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once owned newspapers. Gary, Indiana is one of the 26 communities, with Legacy Foundation as the designated community foundation partner.

Knight Foundation intentionally seeks to build upon the natural momentum of the community, focus in geographically (often in the downtown), while also leveraging existing assets and resources. Knight Foundation works to inform and engage communities through three major types of work:

  1. Building on Assets: Better connecting the community to key assets like universities, corporations, or nature.
  2. Public Spaces: Enhancing the public realm to be more connected and vibrant.
  3. Civic Engagement: Breaking down barriers between residents and decision makers; engaging underrepresented communities in civic life and leadership roles.

Projects should be innovative and intentionally seek to build upon the natural momentum of the community while leveraging existing assets and resources.

 Key Focus Areas:

  • Talent attraction and retention and economic opportunity
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Creative solutions for blight reduction and places that bridge economic divides
  • Downtown revitalization as demonstrated by a reduction in blight and a more vibrant, livable downtown


Eligibility and Criteria
Applicants to the Knight Foundation Fund must be:

  • Exempt under IRS Section 501(c)(3) or a government entity or education institution with an innovative project within the scope of Knight Foundation Fund’s grantmaking framework that benefits the community
  • In good standing as a not-for-profit with the Secretary of State’s office
  • Grants may range from $2,000 to $100,000
  • Multiple grant years might be considered if a proposal is compelling. However, multiple grant years are not guaranteed
  • Grants will only be made to organizations for projects that are geographically focused on Gary, Indiana. Organizations may apply if their project is a bi-city or Lake County wide effort, as long as the focus is on Gary and there are other funders helping to support the initiative.
  • Grant requests for the Knight Foundation Fund for Gary may only be made through this application process. Requests will no longer be accepted through letters of inquiry or on a rolling deadline.

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