Knight Blog

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

South Florida entrepreneur wins prize from Silicon Valley accelerator

Nov. 16, 2012, 11:21 a.m., Posted by Jenna Buehler


Sabrina Scandar (c) is announced as the NewME Miami PopUp Accelerator winner. She co-founded Sew Love with her sister Silvia (l). The sisters were ideal candidates to join the 2013 NewME accelerator in Silicon Valley, said CEO of NewME, Angela Benton (r).


"Startups rock at NewME PopUp. And the winners are..." in The Miami Herald

South Florida’s Sabrina Scandar got a boost for her new tech startup this week by taking first place in the NewMe Miami pop-up accelerator demo competition.

Scandar partnered with her sister, Silvia, to develop Sew Love, a site that allows amateur designers to turn design concepts into real garments. As part of her prize worth $45,000, Scandar will participate in the 2013 NewME accelerator in Silicon Valley.

“The experience with NewME was really helpful in helping us think through our business and put together a great pitch,” Scandar said. “It was exciting to get exposure to startup companies and see this community really growing.”

Prior to NewME, Scandar was part of the LAB Miami workspace collaboration and had received 265 backers who collectively donated $20,955 on Kickstarter. Scandar said her and her co-founder and sisters’ goal is to develop a clothing line that is “designed by the people, for the people.”

Scandar, 25, has this advice to offer young, female entrepreneurs in South Florida:

“Just do it, go for it. Take risks and ask for help and criticism. There is never going to be the perfect time. The nice thing about being young is that it’s ok to pick up and go and change your plans.”

The event, funded by Knight Foundation, was facilitated by the NewME Accelerator, based in Silicon Valley. This week’s event was NewME’s first outside of the Bay Area and took place at LAB Miami.

In second place, Charleston Malkemus won for an app that aims to “save the world of homebuying.” Gozump provides potential home buyers with an offer engine that allows users to eliminate the need for a broker and name their own price. Carrie Ann Mantha received third place for Indira, a still in prototype bride-to-be website that allows users to buy and customize their dress with gemstone jewelry, gifts and accessories.

Knight disaster aid focuses on community information needs

Nov. 16, 2012, 8:53 a.m., Posted by Eric Newton


Photo Credit: Flickr user The National Guard

It's a key piece of the puzzle that usually gets overlooked in disaster relief – community information. That's why when the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation called to ask Knight to join the New Jersey Recovery Fund, we readily said yes, and pledged up to $250,000 to match those who agree that long-term recovery coverage by local non-profit media will be needed to have the best possible recovery.

Clearly, water, food, clothing, shelter and medical care are the most immediate needs when disaster strikes. But information is essential to get help to where its needed most. Moreover, communities can engage around information to help themselves, and stay engaged in the long term as government and other institutions examine decisions that can affect a community's future.

The New Jersey Recovery Fund, based at the Community Foundation of New Jersey, will target grants and low- or no-interest loans to provide flexible support to nonprofits, which are responding to, and have been severely impacted by, the hurricane. In addition it will provide support to forward-thinking communities which need resources to implement smart rebuilding solutions.

Communities connect across the Carolina Thread Trail

Nov. 15, 2012, 5:39 p.m., Posted by Susan Patterson


Above, from l to r: Richard Rogers, Executive Director of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Frank Bragg, Clean Water Trustee and former Catawba Lands Conservancy board member, John Woods, Mayor of Davidson, Jim Garges, Mecklenburg Park and Recreation Director, Mike Mabry, Carolina Thread Trail board member, Ruth G. Shaw, Carolina Thread Trail board member and founding Chair

The Carolina Thread Trail celebrates two milestones this Saturday, Nov. 17 – its fifth anniversary and 100th mile of trail. As locals call it, "The Thread" is a planned 15-county, two-state network of trails and natural areas.

Knight Foundation was an early supporter. While the trail provides physical places for people and communities to connect, the planning process has brought together residents, elected officials and others to collaborate in new ways. Their work together has helped develop greenway master plans in 14 of the 15 counties touched by the trail with more than 1,400 miles of potential trails identified.

The trail was launched on Nov. 9, 2007. Its goal is to link 15 counties: Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties in North Carolina, and Cherokee, Chester, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina. Organizers say the trails would connect the area’s 2 million people to regional destinations, parks, towns, neighborhoods and conservation corridors.

“There are 100 miles of trail that people are out and using now. We think that’s a great start, although it’s only the beginning,” said Ann Browning, Carolina Thread Trail project director at Catawba Lands Conservancy.