Oct. 1, 2018 11:52 am

This new Lenfest fund is supporting collaboration in journalism, nonprofits and beyond

The Philadelphia Ecosystem Collaboration Fund will give planning or prototype grants of up to $25,000 to collaborative projects related to information sharing in the region.

The old Inky building.

(Photo by Flickr user Lori Semprevio, used under a Creative Commons license)

Full disclosure: The Lenfest Institute for Journalism supplied Generocity parent company Technically Media with a grant in 2017 to pilot its membership program. That funding is unrelated to this article.
The Lenfest Institute for Journalism announced a new grant today to fund collaboration efforts by local organizations — and, despite its name, that includes more than just newsrooms.

The Philadelphia Ecosystem Collaboration Fund will give $150,000 in “planning or prototype grants” of up to $25,000 each to collaborative projects related to information sharing in the region.

Apps are open to nonprofits, for-profits and individuals, as long as their projects have something to do with local news and the information ecosystem — “things that help people know what’s going on in their communities and live their lives as active, engaged citizens in a democracy,” said Burt Herman, director of innovation programs for the nonprofit institute, which was created in 2016 by the late philanthropist Gerry Lenfest and is the owner of Philadelphia Media Network.

Past locally based, collaboration-focused Lenfest grantees include Resolve Philadelphia, the citywide solutions journalism collaborative overseeing the Broke in Philly project on economic inequality (of which Generocity is a part) and the Technically Media-run Philadelphia Independent Media Coalition.

Collaboration can “help people have more impact in an exponential way than they might on their own,” Herman said, “and we want to see if there are more creative ways we can encourage that” beyond funding media organizations exclusively.

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While this fund is not a part of the $10 million Lenfest recently committed to the building of an accelerator for digital journalism innovation, its grantees will have the opportunity to earn other Lenfest funding to expand their efforts in the future.

Apps are open for the entire month of October. Lenfest is hosting an informational online webinar on Oct. 9 and an in-person, speed-dating-inspired event for potential collaborators to meet on Oct. 23.

Apply here -30-

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