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

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    Idea Center at Miami Dade College incubates entrepreneurs of all ages

    Aug. 19, 2016, 8:37 a.m., Posted by Glissette Santana

    Photo courtesy of Miami Dade College. Video by Glissette Santana: The Idea Center at Miami Dade College incubates entrepreneurs of all ages from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

    Marlise Urscheler, 23, considered herself a typical Miami Dade College student before she set foot in The Idea Center at Miami Dade College: She was working while studying for her associate’s degree in graphic design, and had not thought about becoming an entrepreneur or pursuing a tech-oriented career. The Idea Center helped her realize that she was interested in coding.

    At the same time, a class that taught those basic computer science skills, CS50x, was being developed by LaunchCode, a nonprofit supported by Knight Foundation that specializes in helping create opportunities for developers through job training and placement.

    Urscheler joined CS50x’s first cohort in South Florida, and now helps teach the class, while also doing freelance web development.

    “It really gave me those skills that I needed to succeed in something that I enjoyed doing,” Urscheler said.

    LaunchCode’s South Florida headquarters is housed within The Idea Center, an entrepreneurial hub sponsored by Knight Foundation, along with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), which focuses on teaching kids with low-income backgrounds how to start a business.

    While NFTE hosts workshops and camps for high school and college-age students, LaunchCode is helping adults – aspiring technologists, information technology workers and developers – cultivate the skills needed in a real-world technology job market. Both organizations focus on improving the community around them by expanding access to opportunity, making The Idea Center an incubator for entrepreneurial and technology talent of all ages. 

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    The pulse of place: How a Knight internship inspired a college thesis on go-go music

    Aug. 18, 2016, 3:26 p.m., Posted by Darien Carr

    Chuck Brown, the godfather of Go-Go, Random Acts at NPR. Photo by Keith Jenkins on Flickr.

    When I applied to work as an intern with Knight Foundation this summer, I wanted to learn how people in the real world were applying the knowledge that I’m learning in college. I hoped my major, urban space and culture, could complement Knight Foundation’s mission of supporting informed and engaged communities. But, as a rising senior at Harvard, I also hoped this internship would magically cure my anxiety for life after graduation.

    My major incorrectly suggests that I aspire to be an urban planner. I do find urban theory and design fascinating, but it is not my passion. My passion is music. I wanted my internship with Knight to connect this passion back to my education. Many Knight-funded projects have used art, and particularly music, to foster civic engagement and build community. As a result, I believed this internship would be a great fit for me.

    As I reflect, I realize that my summer has been everything I hoped. I was privileged with the ability to explore the dynamic relationship between music and urban space in a natural, hands-on manner. Working with George Abbott on the Knight Cities Challenge, I grew to understand music’s innovative potential to program spaces and build community.

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    Protecting the importance of place in creative placemaking

    Aug. 18, 2016, 8:39 a.m., Posted by Darien Carr

    The Pop Up Pool project, a Knight Cities Challenge winner.

    I heard the words creative placemaking for the first time when I began my summer internship at Knight Foundation. I was immediately interested. The concept suggests that developers can use art, creativity and culture to increase the quality of life in their towns and neighborhoods. By doing so, placemakers inspire social and economic growth within the communities where they work.

    In this way, creative placemaking has the potential to transform the way we relate to each other in public spaces. It changes the way people connect to fellow community members. It alters the physical environment of the neighborhood itself. However, these changes aren’t always positive.  

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