Knight Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Relief Grants

In response to COVID-19 and in support of our community, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Knight Foundation) will contribute $325,000 in grant funding to support short- and long-term recovery efforts. CFNF will lead the effort on behalf of the Knight Foundation to provide COVID-19 Recovery Relief grants closely aligned with the mission and work of the Knight Foundation.

At the request of the Knight Foundation, the grants will be awarded to nonprofits whose mission and work are most closely aligned with the mission and work of their foundation. However, the Knight Foundation will also consider awarding grants to other nonprofits having a critical need as a result of pivoting and providing frontline COVID-19 relief services.

The Knight Foundation is a national foundation that invests in journalism, the arts, and success of communities where John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers.

COVID-19 Relief Fund Grant Application Details


The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has committed $325,000 to support the COVID-19 outbreak in the Tallahassee area. The funds will provide short-term and long-term relief for local non-profits and will be led by the Community Foundation of North Florida.

CFNF has released a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the short-term grants which will be distributed within the next few months to help stabilize impacted nonprofits and/or help nonprofits that have pivoted to providing essential COVID-19 relief services.

Long-term grants are intended to help organizations understand their new operating model post COVID-19 and will be released at a later date.


Knight Foundation will split the fund 50/50 between short-term and long-term relief efforts.

For short-term relief, gaps in critical need come first and a preference for:

  • Organizations that help inform and connect during the crises;
  • Relief support of recent previous grantees that are critical to the Knight Foundation strategy;
  • Local technical support for small businesses and nonprofits to navigate State and Federal program relief aid

Note: Knight Foundation does not want to be duplicative of federal funds but understands there will be gaps in the funding. The interpretation of the laws is evolving. Below are some resources for nonprofits:

Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) public charity or tax-exempt government entity. Your organization may only submit one (1) application. Grant dollars may only be issued to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or government entities. We are unable to issue grants to individuals.

Please contact Laurie Hartsfield Burleson, Sr. Director of Donor Relations at the Community Foundation of North Florida, at or (850) 766-0672 with any questions you may have.

The Knight Foundation COVID-19 short-term grant relief application is no longer available.

Please check back for the Knight Foundation COVID-19 long-term grant application.

click here

Donors: To view the needs of our Agency fundholders click here

About the Knight Foundation Fund


The Community Foundation accepts grant applications through the Knight Foundation Fund, a component fund at the Community Foundation. Please read the information below to learn more about the Knight Foundation Fund′s goals and objectives and the application process.

The Knight Foundation Fund is able to invest approximately $200,000 in Tallahassee each year. There is no maximum or minimum limit on the amount for which you may apply, however grant amounts typically range between $5,000-$25,000.

For more information about the Knight Fund grant opportunity, please contact Laurie Hartsfield Burleson at or (850) 222-2899.


Knight supports Tallahassee′s work in revitalizing its downtown and bordering communities in order to attract and retain talented people (ages 24-35) and promote economic opportunity. Knight invests in Tallahassee′s core city vibrancy by supporting projects in smart design, the arts and entrepreneurship.


Applicants to the Knight Foundation Fund must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Good standing as a not-for-profit with the Florida Secretary of State’s office;
  • Currently exempt under IRS Section 501(c)(3) and classified as organizations to which contributions are deductible under Section 170(c)(2), normally a public charity under Section 509(a); and
  • Doing the work described in the application in Tallahassee’s downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods.

We are unable to make grants to individuals. Each applicant must be an organization meeting all of the eligibility requirements set forth above.


At this time, Knight Foundation is only accepting grant applications for COVID-19 funding, please see above.

To apply for funding, please submit a Letter of Inquiry which can be accessed from the link below. Letters of Inquiry will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout each calendar year.

All interested applicants must submit a complete Letter of Inquiry electronically via email to Once submitted, you will receive a return email acknowledging our receipt. If you have any questions, please contact Laurie Hartsfield Burleson, Sr. Director of Donor Relations at (850) 222-2899 or

Your organization will receive notification within 60 days as to whether you will be invited to submit a full proposal. Actual requirements will be provided after selection and notification.


Knight Foundation logo

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. The Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight Brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation′s goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which they believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit .


Please click below to see prior Knight Foundation Fund grant recipients and project descriptions:

Community Foundation of North Florida Announces 2019 Knight Foundation Grant Awards

Supporting six projects encouraging a vibrant community and promoting economic opportunity

  • Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency − Capital Cascades Trail Social Spaces is created to inform the development of social spaces as a critical component of the Capital Cascades Trail expansion. This project supports the revitalization of downtown, the attraction and retention of Tallahassee′s large population of neighboring young talent at FSU and FAMU, and the investment of private and nonprofit enterprises supporting the arts and entrepreneurship. This funding is for year two of a two-year project grant.
  • City of Tallahassee − City Farm Tallahassee is an innovative community project that will transform blighted properties in the heart of Tallahassee′s food desert into economically viable and accessible sources of locally grown food. This project will promote environmental and social health through underutilized, vacant site redevelopment and will provide entrepreneurship training and new economic opportunities through a certification program. This funding is for year one of a two-year project grant.
  • Goodwood Museum & Gardens builds on community visioning to revitalize underutilized space into a destination featuring fun and interesting programming that engages the mind and body. This project will pilot programming including activating a historic roller skating rink and expanded hours of operation which will enable Goodwood Museum & Gardens the opportunity to experiment with place and process to develop a sustainable model based upon community engagement, investment and partnerships.
  • KCCI − The Village Square′s Community Visioning Process will create a solid strategic plan to improve community connectivity and placemaking. The process will build a road map to guide Tallahassee/Leon County in utilizing the most innovative approaches and partnerships, thus enriching our local economy and residents. Engagement includes a stakeholder workshop, a speaker event and smaller community-energizing and engagement sessions hosted in homes, churches, book clubs, the Longest Table and other community spaces. This funding is for year one of a two-year project grant.
  • Leon County Government − Library Services is proposing a multi-city/state tour to examine best practices of public library systems and will explore how other communities have strategized to maintain and increase the relevancy of libraries.
  • South City Foundation will help shape the transformation of Tallahassee′s South Side by educating and building a coalition of neighborhood students and providing the opportunity for them to engage in conversations about the decades-long lack of investment in the neighborhood in addition to addressing the current sentiments of fear of gentrification and displacement as well as building trust. Key activities include creating a Neighborhood Leadership Council, hosting a series of focus group stakeholder meetings for the purpose of gathering information from local residents regarding their hopes and dreams for the community and hold public meetings to share the design vision. This funding is for year one of a two-year project grant.