Knight Blog

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

Remembering Bill Friday

Oct. 12, 2012, 1:09 p.m., Posted by Alberto Ibarg├╝en

Bill Friday, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina and co-founder of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, died on Oct. 12. To honor his legacy, Knight Foundation is giving $25,000 to a scholarship fund in his name

Here, Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen shares his remembrances.

Bill Friday has died.  As we commend his soul to the tender mercies of his Creator, let us resolve to remember him and honor that memory by resolving to never forget the lessons of an amazing life of service and commitment to principle.

Making local history digital, searchable and accessible

Oct. 12, 2012, 11:12 a.m., Posted by Jorge A. Martinez


Photo Credit: Flickr user exostratics

Today, Knight Foundation is excited to announce $1 million in support for the Digital Public Library of America, a groundbreaking project that will make our country’s local archives digital, searchable and freely accessible.

This project is working towards the day that users will be able to search any topic – be it the Civil War or the New Deal – and immediately pull up information including pictures, videos, oral histories, manuscripts and more from collections across the country.

They're starting with seven pilot sites – with libraries and digital collaborative in Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah participating as “service” hubs.

What most excites me though is that the project is going to involve communities in creating content for their archives, whether through giving context to or tagging content, or actually bringing in items to scan and record. It’s a great way to help accelerate libraries’ evolution from information warehouses to true digital community centers and content creators, a key focus of Knight Foundation’s Library Initiative.

Organizers launched this project because they began to see a paradox emerge: In this era when people expect information at their fingertips, our local collections that are so rich in history and cultural heritage are increasingly inaccessible because of budget cuts and staff reductions.

Strengthening Detroit a bowl of soup at a time

Oct. 11, 2012, 9:32 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


On Sundays in Detroit, a group of residents gathers to share a bowl of soup, and an experiment in democratizing philanthropy.

For just $5, Detroit SOUP offers people a meal and a vote for which grassroots project should get a microgrant. First, participants hear pitches from some of the city’s most creative projects in the arts, urban agriculture and social justice. Following the presentations, they vote on which project they think will benefit the city the most.

With newly announced support from Knight, Detroit SOUP will expand its model to multiple neighborhoods, including a new chapter in Highland Park founded by former fund recipients.

We recently talked with the project’s coordinator Amy Kaherl, to learn more about some of the projects the group has supported, why people love attending the events and how the city’s social entrepreneurs are shaping the community’s future.

Detroit SOUP clearly resonates with people. What do you think makes it unique and appealing?

A.K.: I think we have helped to create a safe space for people to meet and gather and find out how people are problem solving regarding issues in Detroit.

What are some of your favorite projects you've been involved with and how have they benefited the community?

A.K.: Detroit SOUP has helped fund the Empowerment Plan, a designer that has built a coat that turns into a sleeping bag for homeless and disaster relief victims. I also love the people who urban farm and garden in neighborhoods like Food Field, Occupy Yourself Farm, Rhiza Farms and the Detroit Youth Food Brigade. These farms are finding new ways to engage the food system and land use.

Detroit is a city flush with social entrepreneurs. How do you see this movement growing?