Supporting Successful, Inclusive Cities


Who We Are

The Knight Foundation supports democracy in America by fostering informed, engaged, and equitable communities.  The foundation invests in journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of 26 cities and towns where John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers.  In 18 communities, the Foundation has endowments in the local community foundation and serves as the donor advisor, this includes Central Carolina Community Foundation.

We view local community foundations as both important partners in sourcing ideas for our strategic grantmaking, and leaders and conveners in each Knight community.  We seek to be a funder of opportunities for the future of each community and seek to build upon local momentum, assets, and resources – often focused geographically in the downtown core.  We are open to prototyping new ideas and investing risk capital to support local leaders and organizations.

Columbia Focus

A more vibrant, equitable and inclusive public life and riverfront.

What We Fund

Knight supports Columbia’s work in revitalizing its downtown and riverfront development to attract and retain talented people and accelerate economic opportunity.  We invest in Columbia’s core city vibrancy by supporting civic engagement, smart design, the arts and entrepreneurship.

Tactics Leveraged:

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

Eligibility Requirements

  • Organizations must be determined a charitable organization in good standing under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, public entities or other charitable, educational or faith-based organizations.
  • Organizations must provide services in the city of Columbia or Richland County.

What We Do Not Fund

  • Fundraising projects
  • Debt reduction
  • Endowment development or capital campaigns
  • Medical research
  • Sponsorships

Grant Amount

Grant amounts range, but are not typically more than $75,000.

Apply for a Grant

Applications are accepted by invitation-only throughout the year. Interested organizations should first contact the Community Foundation to discuss their project and determine eligibility. If invited to submit a proposal, the Community Foundation will work with potential grantees to submit an application to Knight Foundation.

If approved, grantees will be required to submit additional documentation to the Community Foundation throughout the year, including budgets, program plans, and interim and final reports.

Information for Grant Recipients


Think You Have a Good Idea?

If your organization has an innovative project in mind that fits Knight’s funding priorities, please contact Trimease Carter to discuss further.