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Community Foundation receives national grant!

We’ve got some extraordinary news.

The Lancaster County Community Foundation has been selected by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as one of four organizations in the nation to join the Knight Community Information Lab designed to help community foundations engage their local community more effectively and ensure that people are informed about issues that are important to them.

The four community foundations will be part of a unique, interactive 18-month human-centered design learning process that will help them get to the heart of the information gaps in their community, prototype ideas and develop long-term solutions with the input of local residents.

A brief overview of the Community Information Lab program process.

Through initiatives like At the Table, we have already been working to connect more deeply with individuals across our community; we’ve engaged with thousands of members of our extraordinary County and heard your hopes, dreams, and ideas for Lancaster. The innovative Knight Foundation approach gleaned through this grant opportunity will allow us to hone our skills in bringing people together, creating space for civic dialogue, and learning from each other to find solutions to local challenges.

Starting this fall, the four foundations will attend workshops together that follow the four steps of human-centered design: inspiration, which involves in-depth community research and testing assumptions; interpreting that research; working with the audience to design solutions; and testing the idea with peers. Knight funding of $65,000 will cover travel and staff time to devote to the lab, in addition to prototyping ideas.

As Lilly Weinberg, director of Knight Foundation’s community foundations program explains, “Since the very beginning of the digital disruption, communities have been inundated with news and information. But these days, it’s actually harder to find the accurate, contextual, local news and information that is essential to everyday democracy. Funders have a role to play in finding these gaps and working with residents to discover ways to fill them.”

Knight tested the lab’s concept two years ago with four foundations including the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Following great success, Knight recently invested more funds in their work, and we are honored to be part of the next cohort of organizations to expand these ideas!

The four foundations announced today come from a range of communities and locations – rural, suburban and urban, large and small. Instead of funding a designated project, Knight is helping the foundations take a few steps back to discover and design an approach that is right for their community. Other participants include the Baltimore Community Foundation, Cleveland Foundation, and Community Foundation Serving Boulder County.



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