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Knight Foundation to benefit Manatee

MANATEE — Manatee County organizations will benefit from a $70 million pledge by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support charitable efforts in the 26 cities where the Knights once owned newspapers.

The Knight Foundation will contribute the funds over a seven-year period, according to a press release.

Marilyn Howard, the executive director of the Manatee Community Foundation, said the new funds will be added to a $1 million donor-advised fund her foundation uses for general grant-making purposes.

Howard said the Knight Foundation will release the amount each community will receive at a later date.

“It’s wonderful for the Knight Foundation to continue their investment in these communities,” Howard said. “That’s a real plus for Bradenton.”

The Manatee County Foundation has administered Knight Foundation grants since 2004. In the past, nonprofits in Manatee received up to $10,000 from the fund if their requests meet one of six Knight Foundation priorities.

The new funds will go toward fostering “informed and engaged communities,” Howard said.

“Information is an essential community need, and community foundations were established to meet core needs,” said Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibarguen. “They only exist and thrive because of community engagement and contributions.”

The Knight Foundation contributed $69 million to community foundations from 2000 to 2007, the release said.

The Bradenton Herald was a Knight-Ridder newspaper from 1974 until 2006, when the company sold its newspapers to the McClatchy Company. Knight Newspapers Inc. purchased the Herald in 1973 and merged with Ridder Publications the next year.

Other Florida communities benefiting from the pledge will be Miami, Tallahassee and Palm Beach.