Knight Blog

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

32 civic innovators receive $5 million in funding in first Knight Cities Challenge

March 31, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

Civic innovators from across the country, including the Knight communities, helped review more than 7,000 applications for the first Knight Cities Challenge.

Just six months ago, we launched the first Knight Cities Challenge. It attracted more than 7,000 applications, and we were, at once, thrilled and overwhelmed – thrilled because there are so many people who want to test their ideas for making their cities more successful, but overwhelmed by the number of good ideas submitted. 

Urban tech startups and the cities of the future

March 31, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Shaun Abrahamson


Courtesy Smart City Startups.

Shaun Abrahamson is CEO and co-founder of Urban.Us, an investment fund investing in startups that make cities better. He also produces Smart City Startups, an annual event that focuses on people and organizations transforming our cities in the next decade that will next take place April 23-24, 2015 in Miami. Knight Foundation supports the event.

People are moving to cities at unprecedented rates. The chart below forecasts the growth of our urban population and the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change (targets set by the European Union). Since cities currently account for about 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, if we cannot change how we build and operate them we have little hope of achieving our climate goals. Cities must be smart if they are to serve the needs of more people while shrinking emissions. Smart City Startups is a showcase for technology and ideas that get us closer to that goal.

PAMM Fund for African American Art helps museum collection reflect South Florida’s diverse cultures

March 30, 2015, 2:56 p.m., Posted by Fernando González


Al Loving’s “Untitled No. 32,” circa 1975. Museum purchase with funds provided by Jorge M. Pérez, Knight Foundation and PAMM Ambassadors for African American Art.

From its inception, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) set out to be both a window into the visual art world for Miami, and a mirror, reflecting the diversity of the local community.

The PAMM Fund for African American Art, focusing on the purchase of contemporary art by African-American artists for the museum’s permanent collection, was one of the early key initiatives towards that goal. The museum started it in September 2013 with a $1 million seed fund, sponsored in equal amounts by developer and art collector Jorge M. Pérez, a trustee and major donor whose name is on the museum, and Knight Foundation.

“Miami is a very diverse community, and one of the wonderful things about PAMM is that it seeks to make the museum a home for every sector of the community,” says Marilyn Holifield, a partner with the law firm of Holland & Knight in Miami who is a museum trustee and co-chair of PAMM Ambassadors for African American Art, a group of donors who support the fund. “That diversity is what makes Miami unique and for our museum to emphasize the importance of African-American art, not only for the African-American community but for the community at large to gain a greater appreciation and awareness of this work is a wonderful thing.”