Detroit Journalism
Engagement Fund


The purpose of the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund is to increase the quality, outcomes and reach of journalism in the region, with an emphasis on engagement, innovation and the equitable recovery of Detroit. The Fund, through its grantmaking program, will seek to advance quality journalism while reflecting the perspectives of diverse constituencies including people of color, women and low-income communities.

The Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund was launched in March 2017 as a partnership between the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

The Fund is part of a $2.3 million overall strategy by the Knight Foundation to expand local reporting in Detroit and Southeast Michigan and involve community residents in telling the story of Detroit’s future.

The Knight Foundation is currently supporting five nonprofit media organizations with a total of $1.475 million. These organizations made up a group called the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. They include: Detroit Public Television (DPTV), Detroit Public Radio (WDET), Michigan RadioNew Michigan Media the Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine, and Chalkbeat Detroit.

Since 2013, members of the Cooperative have combined their resources to produce multimedia projects and coverage about Detroit’s recovery. With the new investment, the Cooperative will begin a new effort, into 2018, to connect the voices of Detroit’s residents with watchdog reporting coverage to help residents better address their concerns.

The Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund seeks to build on this activity by strengthening local coverage, by expanding and leveraging beyond the Cooperative, with a mix of different projects and approaches designed to help journalists engage community residents in the reporting process. The Fund will also help support the digital transformation of local news organizations by supporting journalism innovation and new digital tools.

To this end, the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund launched a new grantmaking program to advance quality journalism and reflect the perspectives of diverse constituencies including people of color, women and low-income communities.

This grantmaking program is built upon learnings from an initial scan of the Detroit Journalism Landscape.

A summary of that scan can be found here.

The first round of grants was completed in December 2017. Six projects, involving collaborations between 13 southeast Michigan organizations, received $322,000 from the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund to increase quality journalism and help better inform communities. A press release outlining those investments can be found here.

It is anticipated that the second and final round of grants will open in late 2018. See below for more information or to be added to a mailing list to receive updates when the application portal opens.

In addition, thanks to the Ford Foundation investment, the Fund is further investing in New Michigan Media and its partner organizations, which include: the Arab American News, the Jewish NewsMichigan Chronicle, the Michigan Korean Weekly, and the Latino Press.

Stories and News

Applying for Grants

Grant Applications are closed at this time. Please sign up to be notified when new guidelines come out, as well as any other info updates about the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund.

Questions? Feel free to contact

Lenzi Abma

Program Officer

313.961.6675, ext. 134