Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Trip to Detroit inspires Akron innovators

Dec. 18, 2014, 12:33 p.m., Posted by Susan Ruiz Patton

Akron, Ohio (left) and Detroit. Photos by Flickr users Ian Freimuth and Paul Bica.

The musician, business owner, student and lawyer had more in common than they thought. Not only were they leaders in their own circles, but also they shared a passion for their city: Akron, Ohio.

And after spending 30 hours together in Detroit on a recent Akron2Detroit trip, the young leaders have stepped up to advance the city they love, each other and themselves.

One man was inspired to organize a tour of his Akron neighborhood with the hope of attracting new businesses there. A business owner was inspired to create a map of downtown businesses. Another was inspired to help other entrepreneurs get started.

IgKnight Philadelphia connects and inspires grantees

Dec. 18, 2014, 11:46 a.m., Posted by Gregory Walker

2014 Philadelphia Grantee Gathering at The Free Library of Philadelphia.

Gregory Walker is managing and creative director of The Brothers Network, a 2012 Knight Arts Challenge winner.

In the vein of storytelling that springs from the tradition of the newspapers operated by the Knight brothers, David Clayton of Ignite Philly introduced amazing IgKnight talks that spanned the history and culture of jazz, high-tech mapping and the importance of engaging broad and diverse communities at their doorsteps. These stories, carefully crafted and curated, kept the flames ignited by Jamie’s opening talk burning brightly. Last month Siobhan Reardon, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia, welcomed Knight grantees to her institution for IgKnight Philadelphia. The second annual gathering opened with one of the most compelling yet harrowing stories most of us had ever heard. The executive director of First Person Arts, Jamie Brunson, shared a personal story of loss, fear, shame, reconciliation and affirmation. At 10 in the morning, each of us sat erect in our seats, hanging on her every word. Words turned into sentences, sentences turned into stories, and stories turned into the human experience. Jamie’s first-person account of humility and humanity got our morning off to a great start and placed First Person Arts front and center. Jamie presented herself as a brilliant model for exactly what First Person Arts does so well as a Knight grantee.

A foundation eager to act learns to listen first

Dec. 17, 2014, 4:35 p.m., Posted by Steve Outing

The nine fellows who will deploy the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's "Silicon Valley Stories" program. From left to right: Celina Rodriguez, David Wang, Giang Phan, Harvey Barkin, Henrietta Burroughs, Lisa Tsering, Melissa Hernandez, Rian Dundon and Veronica Taylor Avendano.

This post is one in a series on what four community and place-based foundations are learning by funding media projects that help to meet their local information needs. All are funded through the Knight Community Information Challenge.

For a growing number of community and place-based foundations, recent years have moved them from understanding that the communities they serve have a news and information gap, to beginning to act as information providers themselves to help meet that need. It’s no simple task to take a community foundation into what used to be the purview of others — most notably local news media, which have suffered nearly universally in recent years.