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

Oct 08, 2012

Our Miami: fostering a stronger sense of community

Posted by Javier Alberto Soto

Just over two years ago, Knight Foundation released the findings from its third consecutive Soul of the Community study. Readers of this blog are likely familiar with this groundbreaking work. For those newer, the Soul Poll explored what people like about where they live, and how that impacts local economic growth.  

As The Miami Foundation is the permanent endowment holder for our community, we are naturally very interested in this research. We also asked how people’s perceptions about Miami align with how we are actually performing as a community.

It is from this vantage that The Miami Foundation embarked on Our Miami: Soul of the City.

As part of Our Miami, we collected and analyzed data that provided insight on Soul of the Community. Our society is increasingly mobile and our community increasingly global, often giving people the opportunity to live anywhere. More than 2.5 million people from more than 70 countries choose to call Miami home. Yes, we have world-class sports teams, renowned beaches and nightlife, lush farmlands and a vibrant urban core. Beyond these instantly recognizable assets, however, we wanted to understand the bonds between Miami and our residents.

Through the research, we discovered that we have a lot in common. Whether you are a second generation Cuban-American college student at the University of Miami, or a retired Jewish woman living in North Miami Beach, we all appreciate the Miami aesthetic, how welcome we feel, what there is to do and what we can learn while doing it.

Our Miami highlights the assets that abound around us and sheds light on areas in which we still have work to do.

Some of these will be easier to address than others. This is where The Miami Foundation will begin. From the basis of the data, we will support community initiatives, advance policies and nurture solutions that promote college degree attainment, attract the best and brightest young talent to Miami, develop a stronger sense of community and raise the quality of life for all area residents.

We believe intuitively – and our research confirms – that younger Miamians hold the key to our future success. The leaders of tomorrow are today’s recent graduates, young professionals and emerging creative class. But the question is: What can Miami do to develop, attract and retain the best and the brightest people? How do we ensure that these leaders of tomorrow make their homes and their livelihoods here today?

It is important to note Our Miami is made possible because over our 45-year history more than 700 Miamians have chosen to start their private foundations with us. We are fortunate to work with such a generous and thoughtful group.

We thank Knight Foundation for its leadership and investment in our work. We invite you to learn more about our spectacular city through the Our Miami website and watch in the coming weeks as we’ll be announcing a number of ways that people can get involved, including public art displays, grant contests and an exciting challenge to give back to Miami. We hope that Our Miami will foster a stronger sense of community, advance quality of life initiatives and lead to a more vibrant economic and social environment.

Let us know what you think and stay in touch.

By Javier Alberto Soto, President and CEO of The Miami Foundation

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