The Lenfest Institute for Journalism will award up to $1 million in grants to drive innovation in news and information products and to sponsor a residency program for entrepreneurs.
Applications are being accepted for two types of grants — "Experimentation," up to $35,000 to help new projects get off the ground, and "Amplification," up to $100,000 to help existing endeavors expand.
Those named as entrepreneurs in residence are expected to be experts in news technology, data science, marketing, or business development who need space and time to explore new projects that align with the institute's mission.
Residencies will last three to six months and include a monthly stipend of up to $10,000. Along with their own projects, the entrepreneurs will act as mentors for other work affiliated with the institute.
The goal is to develop new approaches to sustaining local journalism in Philadelphia and similar metro areas.
"We are laser-focused on ideas with the potential to advance journalism in Philadelphia and metro regions with similar challenges," said the institute's executive director, Jim Friedlich. "We are most interested in applications that address the core business issues of building greater reader engagement, reaching diverse new audiences, and creating new sources of revenue to pay for great journalism."
The nonprofit, Philadelphia-based Lenfest Institute seeks to preserve and advance local journalism in Philadelphia and elsewhere. It was founded in 2016 by philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, who donated Philadelphia Media Network — owner of the Inquirer, the Daily News, and Philly.com — to the institute. The institute does not have editorial control over the papers and website.
Burt Herman, the institute director of innovation projects, will oversee the grant and residency programs.