Knight Blog

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

Endeavor Miami celebrates first anniversary

Sept. 29, 2014, 1:12 p.m., Posted by Laura I. Maydón

Laura I. Maydón is managing director of Endeavor Miami, the first U.S. affiliate of Endeavor, a global nonprofit that promotes high-impact entrepreneurship. Knight Foundation invested $2 million to launch Endeavor Miami. Photo: Miami at night (cc) by Ezio Armando on Flickr.

September has always been a special month for me. I have many reasons to celebrate: my two brothers’ birthdays, Mexico’s national festivities and my own birthday.  This year, September becomes even more relevant to me as I reflect and commemorate Endeavor Miami’s first anniversary.

Endeavor Miami’s mission to select, mentor and accelerate high-impact entrepreneurs represents such an essential component to our city.  Leading Endeavor Miami gives me a strong sense of purpose.  Endeavor’s track record around the world is a testament to the fact that high-impact entrepreneurs create a multiplier effect by inspiring, mentoring and investing in other entrepreneurs. And this is how cities develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Collectively, Endeavor Entrepreneurs around the world generated approximately $6.5 billion in revenue and 400,000 jobs in 2013.

Libraries: The physical + digital = new space for learning

Sept. 29, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Philipp Schmidt

Knight News Challenge: Libraries offers applicants a chance to share in $2.5 million by focusing on the question “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” Below, MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow Philipp Schmidt writes about the connection between physical library space and the virtual space of information and communication. Photo: The new Cambridge Public Library, by Eric Herot via Flickr.

Most evenings I ride my bike home from work past the public library here in Cambridge, Mass. Often I see parents with their children, enjoying themselves on the playground in front of the library. I also see people quietly reading inside the building, as the evening lights around them turn on. 

In the same way that playgrounds are public spaces for play, I think of libraries as public spaces for learning. I have been interested in another type of public space, the concept of a digital commons, for a long time. And today I am fascinated by the connection between these public spheres, between the physical space of the library, and the digital virtual space of information and communication. Leveraging their strengths, and tinkering with ways that they can complement each other, is one way to reimagine what the library of the future could look like. 

In the past, when access to information and experts was scarce and books were unaffordable, libraries acted as archives of shared human knowledge. Today content knowledge is accessible easily via the Internet. But content knowledge is only a small part of learning. We learn best when we work on projects that ignite our passion, in collaboration with peers, and in a playful environment that encourages risk taking. At the Media Lab we call those the four Ps of Creative Learning and we apply them everyday. 

Postcards help residents of Detroit communities connect

Sept. 29, 2014, 6 a.m., Posted by Hunter Franks

Hunter Franks, an artist and founder of the Neighborhood Postcard Project and League of Creative Interventionists, is in Detroit for three weeks using creativity to build community with Knight Foundation support.

Not many Detroiters have been to the Lindale Gardens neighborhood, located near 7 Mile and I-75. Like many Detroit neighborhoods, it faces challenges of blight and crime. But there are also a lot of positive stories in Lindale Gardens. Stories that people don’t hear.

Related Link 

"A creative change of conversation in Detroit" by Hunter Franks on Knight Blog (09/19/14) 

On the other side of the city is the Grosse Pointe community, an affluent suburb that has a history of race and class tensions with Detroit. These tensions between the two very different communities recently resurfaced when Grosse Pointe built a shed in the middle of the street at their farmers market complex on the border of Detroit and Grosse Pointe. Many said the shed was built to act as a wall to keep out the nearby poor Detroit residents.

To break down these barriers and connect strangers in the two very different neighborhoods, the Neighborhood Postcard Project partnered with Lindale Gardens neighborhood community activist and designer Bucky Willis to collect personal, positive stories from the residents of Lindale Gardens on postcards. These postcards were then sent to random addresses in Grosse Pointe.