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

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    A nonpartisan guide to how Philadelphia is engaging the community during the Democratic National Convention

    July 15, 2016, 9 a.m., Posted by Patrick J. Morgan

    Above:  Artists paint the "14 Movements: A Symphony in Color and Words" mural for Broad Street on vinyl in a Philadelphia warehouse. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

    From July 25 - 28, Philadelphia will host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Philadelphia has hosted political conventions before, most recently the Republican National Convention in 2000. We have a proud legacy of hosting significant events, starting with the First Continental Congress establishing the city as the birthplace of American democracy. Just last year, Philadelphia hosted the World Meeting of Families featuring a two-day visit from Pope Francis. 

    Hosting events such as the Democratic National Convention provides an opportunity to create a stronger culture of civic engagement and showcase Philadelphia as a thriving global city. We are proud to partner with local groups and nonprofits to leverage the convention to showcase local talent, improve public spaces, promote local art and culture, and encourage civic engagement by supporting the following events and activities:

    • National Constitution Center’s Headed to the White House Exhibit: The National Constitution Center has updated and enhanced its “Headed to the White House” exhibit to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. The family-friendly exhibits explain how the electoral process works, and the museum will also host political trivia contests, panel discussions and more. This exhibit runs January through Election Day in November, but during the convention the center and the exhibit will be a featured attraction of PoliticalFest, a nonpartisan citywide festival. 

    • Committee of Seventy’s Voices of Voting Performance will educate the public and local students on the importance of voting and civic engagement through the production of an interactive nonpartisan civic engagement performance, “Voices of Voting.” “Voices of Voting” is a short play which will use the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as its starting point and source material. Following each performance, the Committee of Seventy, a local nonpartisan good government nonprofit, will lead a “talkback” session that engages the audience to renew people’s commitment to civic engagement and participation. “Voices of Voting” will run during the convention in partnership with the Urban League of Philadelphia, Urban Affairs Coalition, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and the Philadelphia Youth Network. 

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    Microgrants help make San Jose more awesome $1,000 at a time

    July 13, 2016, 2:33 p.m., Posted by Vignesh Ramachandran

    Photo by Michael Bolden on Flickr.

    A collection of small $1,000 ideas can go a long way toward improving community in San Jose, California.

    At least that’s the motivation behind the Awesome Foundation’s San Jose chapter, which launched in June 2015 thanks to Knight support and plans to mark the occasion with an anniversary party this fall. The Awesome Foundation is a global community with more than 80 active chapters around the world that support community projects through $1,000 microgrants. Knight Foundation has provided $6,000 in startup funding for the San Jose chapter and has also supported the Miami chapter.

    Since its launch last summer, the San Jose chapter has funded projects that span from helping create a community room inside a library, to supporting a free robotics program for underprivileged children, to helping put lights on the bikes of San Jose riders.

    “I see the potential for [microgrants] making really big change,” said Jonathan Schuppert, dean of the Awesome Foundation San Jose chapter. “I think a lot of people … they have great ideas but they just lack the resources to be able to actually implement them.”

    Awesome Foundation chapters generally have at least 10 local people get together and contribute $100 each so that the chapter can award a $1,000 grant. The chapter trustees review microgrant applications and decide which projects to fund. (San Jose chapter trustees include Knight Foundation San Program Associate Mark Haney.)

    Often the $1,000 funding is the final catalyst someone needs to make a project happen, Schuppert said. “Hopefully with that success comes other successful projects and other ideas, and inspires other people to then do things,” he added.

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    'LoveUAkron' wants you to share your love for The University of Akron

    July 13, 2016, 6 a.m., Posted by Stephanie Weber

    Photo by Jim Reynolds on Flickr.


    If you live within the Akron area, you are more than aware that our beloved university is going through a difficult stretch for various reasons. Despite the controversy, my faith in our university has never wavered. As of the spring of 2015, the University of Akron has awarded more than 31,000 associates degrees, 119,00 bachelor’s degrees and 36,000 master’s degrees to talented graduates. I am proud to say that I attend the university, and I know that I am not alone in saying that. This university has many great assets and holds a special place in the hearts of so many. I feel it is time we remind each other and everyone else of this.

    #LoveUAkron is an invitation for current students, alumni, faculty and community members to share the many reasons why they love The University of Akron. All it takes is three easy steps:

    1. Use a bold marker to write a note about what you love about the University of Akron;
    2.  Take a picture with your phone and crop it so it is easy to read;
    3. Post it to social media using the hashtag #LoveUAkron.

    Here is an example from David Giffels, an English Professor at The University of Akron:

    From the first day of new freshman orientation to now being half way done with my undergraduate career, the University of Akron has had my heart from the very beginning. Whether it is cheering on the football team every Saturday in the fall or participating in a philanthropy event surrounded by my sorority sisters, I have had the most incredible Akron experience. Not only has it provided me with a phenomenal education, it is where I have met wonderful people. I am so passionate about #LoveUAkron because I am grateful for the university and all that it has given me.

    Whether you are writing your message on a notecard or posting about it on social media, we are asking for your help in bringing all of the things that we love about our university back into the spotlight.

    Join our mission! We will be on campus, in front of the Student Union, at 10 a.m. today Wednesday July 13 to spread the word. Also, be sure to follow the hashtag #LoveUAkron to see when will be have informational events in the future.

    Share the love!

    Stephanie Weber is a student entering her junior year at The University of Akron. She is studying sales management and interning this summer for Knight Foundation in Akron, Ohio.

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