Knight Cities Challenge offers $5 million for innovations that make cities more successful

Ideas should benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities

MIAMI — Sept. 16, 2014 — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the Knight Cities Challenge, seeking new ideas that make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. The challenge is offering $5 million for innovative projects that answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

It will launch on Oct. 1, with applications being accepted until Nov. 14. The challenge is open to innovators of all types: architects, activists, artists, city planners, entrepreneurs, students, educators, city officials, as well as governments and organizations. The initial application, which will be available starting Oct. 1 at knightcities.org consists of just two questions and is designed to be simple to encourage a diversity of applications.

The Knight Cities Challenge is a new initiative, complementing the Knight News Challenge and Knight Arts Challenge. There are only two rules for the challenge:

1) A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities.

2) The idea should focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success: attracting and retaining talent, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of civic engagement.

“We are looking for ideas from innovators who will take hold of the future of our cities,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “To succeed cities need talented people who can contribute to their growth, new opportunities that are open to all, and ways to engage people to spur connections and civic action.”

We are looking to discover new civic innovations and to be surprised by ideas not prescribe them, but we’re encouraging ideas that support key drivers of city success:

  • Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest
  • Opportunity: Ideas that create economic prospects and break down divides
  • Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement

As a way to encourage ideas, Knight Foundation will host Community Q&A sessions in each of the 26 Knight communities. The events, starting in October, will offer tips on preparing applications, information on the challenge, and a chance to talk to Knight staff on how to craft a great submission. Check our blog and follow us on Twitter @knightfdn #knightcities for scheduling updates.

Virtual office hours for those who want to learn more are also being held from 3 to 4 p.m. ET Oct. 1. Participants can access the meeting online (https://bluejeans.com/448711858/browser using ID 448 711 858), or participate via phone at 1-888-240-2560. More dates for virtual office hours will be announced soon.

The 26 Knight cities include eight communities that have a resident program director: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Philadelphia; St. Paul, Minn.; and San Jose, Calif. In 18 cities community foundations guide: Aberdeen, S.D.; Biloxi, Miss.; Boulder, Colo.; Bradenton, Fla.; Columbia, S.C.; Columbus, Ga.; Duluth, Minn.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Gary, Ind.; Grand Forks, N.D.; Lexington, Ky.; Long Beach, Calif.; Milledgeville, Ga.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; State College, Penn.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Wichita, Kan.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org

CONTACTS:

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.