Knight Blog

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

Why Change By Us is perfect for Philadelphia

Nov. 21, 2011, 2 p.m., Posted by Donna Frisby-Greenwood

Today, Knight Foundation and partners announced the launch of Change By Us Philadelphia, a site that provides residents a way to take an active role in improving their city.

Change By Us allows residents to share ideas for making their city better and helps to turn those ideas into projects that have real impact. The site provides a platform to share ideas, join or create projects, build teams and find resources to help projects succeed. The following is an adapted version of remarks Donna Frisby-Greenwood, program director/Philadelphia at Knight Foundation, made at today’s announcement.


Change By Us is perfect for Philadelphia in so many ways.  As Mayor Nutter said, Philadelphia is the original U.S. city of innovation and invention. We are also a city of many neighborhoods, with people eager to express their opinions and roll up their sleeves to build a better Philadelphia.  

I am reminded of the stories my husband and his friends tell when they get together.  One of the stories they tell is how when growing up, one of their neighbors, Ms. Rice, would ensure that everyone ordered the same lamp posts, cut their grass, keep the street clean of trash and debris, coordinate block parties and block watches and develop a community garden.  Change By Us is a tool that can help all of the Ms. Rices across the city connect to city government and leaders, secure resources and share with others the work they are doing to make their communities better.

At Knight Foundation, we focus on promoting informed and engaged communities, or places where people have access to the information that they need to make decisions and the ability and know how to act on the things that they care most about.  Paramount to that belief are the people who hold the solutions to their communities’ needs and problems.  Through Knight Foundation’s Technology for Engagement initiative, we seek new tools like Change By Us that tap into the power of people to make their neighborhoods, communities and cities better places to live.

Earlier this year, Knight helped bring Change by Us to New York City. For helping bring Change By Us site to Philadelphia, we thank our partners, Code for America, Local Projects and CEOs for Cities. Together, they have ensured that the software that runs the site is open sourced for anyone to use. The software is available for free download through a not-for-profit open source license.

I am also happy to announce that in addition to the tool, there will also be $25,000 available to help support some of the citizen led projects that come through Change By Us. We also congratulate Mayor Nutter and his entire team for their commitment to citizen participation and information access through initiatives like this one.  

Philadelphia is a city on the rise, more people are deciding to make it their home. The solutions to our challenges are inside each and every one of us.  Change By Us can be a great tool to help each of us, including the Ms. Rices in every neighborhood as we continue to make this city even stronger.

 

How To Start A Project from Change by Us on Vimeo.