Knight Blog

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

Study tour gets street-level view of how Copenhagen reinvented itself

Aug. 25, 2014, 12:39 p.m., Posted by Andrew Sherry

A cyclist rides through downtown Copenhagen. Photographer: Torbjörn Larsson/Knight Foundation.

Riding bikes through an unfamiliar city may be the easy part. Taking home lessons learned will take skill.

Related Link

"Does placemaking help democracy?" by Andrew Sherry, Aug. 29 on Knight Blog

Thirty-four city officials and community leaders from nine U.S. cities have embarked on a five-day study tour of Copenhagen, Denmark, considered one of the world’s most livable cities for its pedestrian-friendly downtown, network of bike trails, ubiquitous urban green spaces and abundant public transportation.

The tour, organized by 8-80 Cities and supported by Knight Foundation, will also cross the Oresund Bridge to Malmö, Sweden, a port city that reinvented itself as a hi-tech hub after losing its shipbuilding industry in the 1990s, winning back double the 50,000 jobs it lost.

The participants include mayors, city council members, urban planners, engineers, leaders of community organizations and more from Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C., Columbus, Ga.; Detroit; Lexington, Ky.; Macon, Ga.; Miami; San Jose, Calif., and St. Paul, Minn. They are viewed as civic innovators for leading potentially high-impact work in their communities, all cities where John S. and James L. Knight once owned newspapers. Knight Foundation and 8-80 Cities staff are also on the tour. 8-80 is dedicated to helping make cities livable for people from 8 to 80 by promoting walking, biking and public transit.

How asking for just $1 can accelerate funding for local nonprofit news

Aug. 22, 2014, 12:47 p.m., Posted by Michael Stoll and Lila LaHood

Was it the novelty? Passion for investigative reporting? Unbridled bicycle mania?

It took all three to inspire more than 1,000 people to back the San Francisco Public Press’ Kickstarter campaign for Pedal-Powered News — a quirky but popular initiative to use bicycle delivery to expand distribution of our local nonprofit newspaper to reach more subscribers, retail outlets and community centers throughout San Francisco.

The Public Press has published independent public policy reporting at since 2009 and produces a quarterly ad-free print edition. We always knew we needed to do something inspirational to expand our audience, so we highlighted a key operational need and built an engaging crowdfunding campaign around it.

We raised  $21,328 outright — more than double our goal. But it would not have happened without the support of Knight Foundation, which worked in collaboration with the Investigative News Network to offer up to $10,000 in matching funds, based on our ability to recruit 1,000 donors. It was an experiment to see how nonprofit newsrooms could use crowdfunding to bring in new readers and expand their local donations.

Detroit Drumline Academy: Impacting Detroit with education and entertainment

Aug. 22, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Robert Gordon

This month, five Detroit arts groups are vying for the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award, a $20,000 prize the winner can use for a project of their choice. The award is one of the ways Knight aims to bring attention to small arts organizations and their impact on the city. Here, has a quick word with Robert Gordon of nominee the Detroit Drumline Academy, a group that wants to prepare the next generation of percussionists by teaching and mentoring middle and high school students.To vote for them, text Detroit5 to 22333 and learn about the other nominees at

Q. What do you love most about your arts group?
A. What I love about my organization is our ability to affect our community using education and entertainment that gives our youth life skills and experiences they'll never forget.

Q. What would you do with the $20,000 People’s Choice Award?
A. If I win the $20,000 I am going to do three things: pay a portion of it to a few other music mentorship programs, develop an alternative music instructors group to provide instruction throughout Detroit, and throw the first Music Education Production & Business seminar at COBO Hall sponsored by my company Artisthead.