INNovation Success Stories

The Institute for Nonprofit News distributed more than $1 million in INNovation Fund grants of up to $35,000 to nearly 40 nonprofit news organizations from 2014 to 2017. Funded by Knight Foundation, with Democracy Fund joining in the latest round, the grants were designed to cover initial costs for a news organization trying an innovative project to build revenue, audience or both.

The stories below illustrate what can happen when public service newsrooms have access to seed funding to try new things. Not all succeeded, to be sure. These were experiments and some failed. But the overall finding is clear: giving seed funding to public service newsrooms to try new things can bring reliable news coverage to more citizens, deepen community ties, give more people a public voice, and generate money to support strong reporting.

Story Map geolocated news

The Austin Monitor
Award Amount: $10,000

Scaling the Listening Post

The Listening Post
Award Amount: $35,000

Leveraging community relationships

San Francisco Public Press
Award Amount: $35,000

Facebook Instant Articles for nonprofits

Mother Jones
Award Amount: $35,000

Direct community contact

New Mexico In-Depth
Award Amount: $30,000

Citizen journalism around data

New England Center for Investigative Reporting
Award Amount: $35,000

Data app with freemium model

Midwest Center for Investigative Journalism
Award Amount: $35,000

Crowdfunding for student-based media

Arizona State University/Cronkite News
Award Amount: $10,000

Testing audience engagement tools

Bitch Media
Award Amount: $15,000

How a health fair raised revenue and grew audience

Connecticut Health Investigative Team
Award Amount: $20,000

Symposium for NJ Cities

New Jersey Spotlight
Award Amount: $35,000

Event series journalism

Carolina Public Press
Award Amount: $25,000

Training writers to cover their community

Seattle Globalist
Award Amount: $17,210

Speakers Bureau events

The Lens
Award Amount: $7,500

Investigative film festival

Award Amount: $35,000

FERN Talks & Eats

Food & Environment Reporting Network
Award Amount: $35,000