Knight Blog

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

Code for America's recruits for civic startup accelerator

April 17, 2012, 10:43 a.m., Posted by Abhi Nemani

Knight Foundation currently supports Code for America as part of its Technology for Engagement Initiative, which funds projects that help communities use technology to take action. Here, Abhi Nemanidirector of strategy and communications at Code for America, blogs about the launch of the organization's new startup accelerator.

Code for America is now accepting applications for its new civic startup accelerator. The accelerator is designed to disrupt the massive $140 billion government IT market and provide new and better services to citizens.

This first-of-its-kind, four-month program will "turbo-charge" select civic startups by providing them a springboard to amplify market awareness of their product, additional funding, business mentoring specific to the “government 2.0” space, and introductions to a broad network of civic leaders and potential investors. Code for America has recruited experienced telecommunications and consumer software entrepreneur Ron Bouganim as program director. 

Applications will be accepted until June 1 at

The accelerator has an esteemed list of mentors and advisors including CTO of the United States Aneesh Chopra, Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Pinwheel, Peter Schwartz, author and founder of the Global Business Network, and Ron Conway, angel investor and partner at SV Angel. (Read the full list.)

How the accelerator works:

Helping Akron young professionals engage with nonprofits

April 17, 2012, 9:04 a.m., Posted by Jennifer Thomas

Today, Knight announced a $400,000 grant to Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU), which will launch a new program to connect our diverse young business professionals with service opportunities in our nonprofit community. We hope the program will more deeply engage young professionals and increase the probability that they will stay and build lives in Northeast Ohio as they take on leadership positions and become embedded in the community.

Now, young professionals can combine their hard work, passion and skills with BVU’s program to launch them as recognized young leaders in the community, and build on Akron’s focus to engage the next generation of talent.

In Akron, as in many communities, civic leadership matters. Just being CEO of a company does not equate to leadership. One must be actively, civically engaged to make a difference. And the next generation of talent is ready to participate. 

BVU will work with young professionals groups like Torchbearers, which recently received a grant from Knight to helps its members become Changemakers and take risks on innovation.

Read more in today’s release and in the Akron Beacon Journal.

By Jennifer Thomas, program director/Akron at Knight Foundation

Knight Chairs discuss opportunities and future of journalism

April 16, 2012, 2:57 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

From a new website that tests technology to see what works for journalists to looking at new ways of engaging young people in politics, Knight Chairs are involved in a variety of projects advancing the field of journalism.

The video above highlights what Knight Chairs, who are leading journalists now working as tenured professors at top universities, say about their teaching, their students and the state of their profession. 

Many chairs acknowledge that while it may be a challenging time for young people to go into journalism, there are also many opportunities for innovative and entrepreneurial students to make their mark.