Knight Blog

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

Online news site broadens efforts to engage the public

May 22, 2012, 9:58 a.m., Posted by Donna Jolly


The Connecticut Mirror is a Knight Community Information Challenge Winner for its website which provides news, information and analysis about Connecticut state government and public policy. Donna Jolly, vice president for communications and marketing at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, writes about its progress. Above: the Connecticut State Capitol, photo credit: Flickr user J. Stephen Conn.

I don’t have any children graduating this year. But, I do feel a little like a proud parent. Let’s start at the birth:  On Jan. 25, 2010, Connecticut Mirror, an online news site was launched to provide professional, unbiased news and analysis about state government and politics for residents of the state. The Hartford Foundation was a proud funder, along with Knight Foundation and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

This spring, at the ripe old age of three, the Mirror broadened its efforts from informing the public to also engaging the public. And, we were right there with them. In March, the Mirror, with funding from the Hartford Foundation, hosted a forum on early childhood education. 

Nearly 200 people attended the event, which featured experts who discussed how high-quality early childhood education can have a profound impact on a child’s academic success and on society as a whole. In partnership with the Mirror, the foundation also hosted a pre-forum event with the speakers and key community leaders from the Capital Region.

Inside the Barnes Foundation’s grand opening

May 21, 2012, 1:55 p.m., Posted by Dennis Scholl


Photograph © 2012 The Barnes Foundation

Knight Foundation supported the building of a new Philadelphia facility to house the Barnes Foundation collection, and a mobile app to provide more access to the world-renowned  works. Knight's Vice President/Arts Dennis Scholl writes about the opening.

It was a star-studded night as the Barnes Foundation opened the doors to it new 93,000-square-foot facility on museum mile in Philadelphia. The building, designed by Tod Williams and Billy Tsien, glowed in the setting sun as 875 patrons descended.  Luminaries included Ellsworth Kelly, caught posing in front of his 40-foot-tall sculpture in the garden entryway. I also saw most of the Sotheby’s contemporary art contingent, including North and South American chair Lisa Dennison and executive vice president Anthony Grant.

Master of ceremonies Brian Williams of NBC News kept the evening moving, even when technical issues got in the way. The crowd was also entertained by a short five-song set from Norah Jones and a rousing gospel moment by a local choir.  But it was more of a see-and-be-seen crowd, as all of Philadelphia and beyond showed up to celebrate the Barnes’ new home. And what a home it is.

I had the good fortune of visiting the Barnes in Merion before it closed and when I entered the identically replicated rooms in the new space, it was an odd feeling of deja vu. The main difference is the new space’s exquisite lighting, designed by Paul Marantz. The use of diffused light bouncing off of silver leaf ceilings gives the work a luminous feel. For the first time, you can see the postimpressionist works in all their glory.

Seeking innovation at home by learning from abroad

May 19, 2012, 9:02 a.m., Posted by Susan Amat



Miamians Susan Amat, Brian Breslin and Davide Di Cillo are spending 10 days traveling in Latin America as part of “Geeks on a Plane,” a tour for start-ups and entrepreneurs to learn about global technology markets. Knight Foundation funded the trio’s trip, as part of an effort to foster a greater culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Miami. Here Amat, co-founder of the University of Miami’s center for entrepeneurship The Launch Pad, writes about the experience.

For the past week, Brian Breslin, Davide Di Cillo and I have been traveling with 30+ other tech entrepreneurs and investors to Mexico City, Sao Paolo, and Buenos Aires to learn about the local start-up scenes and companies. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to deep dive into markets with strong similarities and shocking differences from our own in Miami. The experience is enhanced with insights from our fellow passengers, most of them Silicon Valley veterans who represent 15 other countries. To share this with Brian and Davide has had an even greater impact, as we reflect on each discussion through the lens as leaders in our South Florida community.