Frequently Asked Questions
When was the Benton Foundation founded?
What is your mission?
What are the foundation's current priorities?
Do you accept grant applications?
What is the Sound Partners grant program?
Do you give scholarships?
Where does the Benton Foundation get its money?
Where can I get a copy of your annual report?
Who operates the Benton Foundation?
What are your current operating projects?
Does the Benton Foundation have legislative priorities?
The Foundation was officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) private foundation in 1948 under the name William Benton Foundation. In 1981, it was restructured and renamed as the Benton Foundation. back to top
Our mission is to articulate a public interest vision for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications for solving social problems. back to top
Current priorities include: promoting a vision and policy alternatives for the digital age in which the benefit to the public is paramount; raising awareness among funders and nonprofits on their stake in critical policy issues; enabling communities and nonprofits to produce diverse and locally responsive media content. back to top
No. We do not accept unsolicited grant applications and do not offer general grants. Our funds are earmarked for operational projects initiated by staff in support of our mission. back to top
Sound Partners for Community Health is a program of the Benton Foundation funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The regrant funds are distributed in response to a very specific call for proposals. Please refer to the Sound Partners website for specific information on the program and the next Call for Proposals. back to top
No. However, we do offer select internship opportunities to undergraduate and graduate-level students. back to top
The foundation was initially founded with an endowment from William Benton.
We draw upon this small endowment to operate the foundation’s programs and to stay in the forefront on issues key to our mission. In the past, we have fundraised up to 85% of our annual operating budget from external funding sources such as private foundations and corporate entities. back to top
The foundation is committed to the tenets of access, diversity and equity, and we often create and incubate innovative projects to further these goals. Current projects include the Sound Partners and One World US.
The Benton Foundation has often served as a laboratory for exploring the potential of new communications technologies and techniques to help solve social problems.
The intent has been to incubate these projects and build them to independence (or completion) as a Benton Foundation legacy. Many valuable lessons have been learned from these cutting-edge initiatives, lessons we share with the nonprofit community. The Connect for Kids project was launched as its own nonprofit organization in 2003, a testament to the viability and success of this incubation strategy. Most recently, Benton launched in February 2004 the Center for Media & Community at the Education Development Center to continue and expand our work around the digital divide and promoting 21st century literacy. back to top
Private foundations are prohibited by federal law from engaging in partisan lobbying, except in self-defense. What we are allowed to do is inform policymakers and give them a full spectrum of information that will lead to sound policy decisions. At the Benton Foundation, we feel it's our mission to educate the public and inform citizens and policymakers about what has worked and what hasn't. back to top