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

Apr 15, 2011 will develop networks of young leaders in five cities

Posted by Damian Thorman, J.D.

Today, Knight Foundation is announcing a $1 million grant to, to help build a network of young leaders in five communities.

We’re making the announcement this afternoon in San Jose, where 100 students are gathered for a three-day summit to develop ways to help students overcome obstacles to obtaining their degree. Participants will pick the best ideas, and and partners will fund them – liked they’ve  funded 26 Millenial-led projects around the nation. The support is part of Knight’s efforts to involve youth in promoting informed and engaged communities.

Damian Thorman

Similar summits will be coming soon to Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia and Charlotte, and a team will be in place in each city to make sure projects are successful.

Here’s Founder Maya Enista in her own words about the work is trying to accomplish: was founded nine years ago, on the campus of UC Berkeley by a visionary student, David B. Smith, who believed that young people had an important role to play in building campuses, communities, and a democracy that they would be proud to lead. Nine years later, has touched tens of thousands of Millennials across the country, investing over $130,000 in Millennial-led solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time; from the task of increasing financial literacy for our generation, to addressing the challenges that Millennials veterans face when returning from combat. The solutions lie within this collaborative, diverse, technologically-savvy and entrepreneurial generation and I know I speak on behalf of the amazing team when I say it’s a true honor to go to work for and with our generation every day.

Five projects that emerge from this weekend will be among the 26 that has already invested in, including Team Rubicon, which deploys teams during natural disasters, and the One Percent Foundation.

Recently, we invited a group of leaders – including Maya – to talk about the best ways to engage youth in helping their communities. You can read about, or listen to that conversation here.

Maya Enista Discusses Youth Engagement from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, is asking:

Do you know an inspiring young people who may be a great addition to the team? Do you know organizations in the cities above that are doing truly empowering, Millennial-led work? Do you have a solution for your community that needs support to get off the ground?

If you do, email the team at

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