Knight Blog

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

41 ideas advance in News Challenge: Libraries

Oct. 21, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Chris Barr

Last week 11 advisers helped us select a group of semifinalists for the Knight News Challenge: Libraries. Today, we are excited to announce that 41 projects have moved to the next stage of consideration. These semifinalists will have a week to fine tune their entries before we begin work with another set of advisers to choose the finalists.

We received 680 submissions to the challenge, which is focused on the question: how might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?

Having the opportunity to look at a multitude of ideas from the library community is immensely valuable to our work. It gives us the chance to understand the shared energy among those working to innovate in the field and the shifting role of libraries in the digital age. Here are some of the themes that emerged as we reviewed the 680 entries:

Get fed, get funded at MIAMI SOUP

Oct. 21, 2014, 6 a.m., Posted by Jenna Buehler

The first MIAMI SOUP microgrant led to the creation of a free, interactive theatrical performance that took place at locations across the city last month. “History on Wheels” is bike tour and performance based on the life story of city founder Julia Tuttle and her inventive interactions with other Miami figures like Henry Flagler, George Merrick, and James Deering. Photo Credit: Pati Laylle.

Miami’s latest recipe for social innovation offers changemakers an opportunity for network support and funding. MIAMI SOUP has invited  three people with big ideas to dine with community members -- over  gourmet soup, salad and bread -- to decide “what’s next” for the community.

How it works: Each dinner guest is a donor; event registration includes $50 for a plate of fine food and the opportunity to vote for one of three people with a small-budget idea that they believe would have big impact. The third MIAMI SOUP will take place Nov. 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Macy’s Test Kitchen in the Dadeland Mall.

Walden: The Knight Neighborhood Challenge did this

Oct. 20, 2014, 8 p.m., Posted by Jessica Walden

This article is cross-posted with permission from The Telegraph.

This week a finale celebration was held atop Coleman Hill to recognize the impact of the Knight Neighborhood Challenge. Since 2009, this community-driven grant program invested $3 million in the College Hill Corridor by funding ideas that would make the area thrive.

What made the program so successful is how the people of Macon embraced it. We dreamed big. We embraced creativity. We applied innovation. We rolled up our sleeves and invested the time to not just talk the talk of, “You know what would be great?” but to walk the walk of, “Let’s do this.”

Our resulting projects ranged from the simple with a complex purpose to the downright funky, quirky and completely, uniquely Macon.

There were simple tasks such as requesting a few hundred dollars to distribute light bulbs with sensor cells so neighborhood homes would automatically have a friendly front-porch light turn on as day turned to dusk. Not only did this enhance the sense of safety, but it encouraged neighbors to be neighborly. If you received a light bulb, you also received an extra to pass along to someone else on your block who could use it.