Non-Profit Online News Startup MinnPost Raises $1.1 Million In Contributions, a daily news site focused on the Twin Cities, is planning to launch later this year. But instead of going the usual routes of looking for venture financing or linking to an established print publication, the site is looking to the public broadcasting model and is seeking donations as a non-profit. Joel Kramer, the site’s founder and CEO, decided to start MinnPost as an online-only pub as way to avoid the current pressures from shareholders and declining ad revenue currently plaguing the mainline newspaper industry. The company has so far received $1.1 million in startup funds from four local families who have contributed a combined $850,000. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has recently tended to support community journalism initiatives recently (one recent example is here and another here), has donated $250K. Aside from donations, the site will also rely on advertising. (The release is available on the site’s homepage.)

The site will publish Monday through Friday and will feature traditional-style front page stories as well as blog posts based on original reporting by more than 20 professional journalists from around Minnesota.

E&P: Kramer is a former Minneapolis Star Tribune editor and publisher. He maintained the latter title until the Cowles family sold the paper to McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) for $1.4 billion in 1998. Kramer