WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (February 9, 2009) –The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties announced today that it will use a civic initiatives leadership grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to launch an ambitious project with the potential to connect Palm Beach County through extraordinary civic engagement and the power of web 2.0 tools.
Called the Community Foundation’s “digital public square,” the project is an Internet-based civic engagement experiment that will allow nonprofit organizations and community members to easily share information and discuss issues critical to quality of life in Palm Beach County.
“Palm Beach County is one of the largest and most diverse counties east of the Mississippi— and it is also one of the most disconnected,” said Leslie Lilly, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. "We are proud to partner with the Knight Foundation to use the power of new technologies to deliver critical community information and connect those in our community who want to make Palm Beach County a better place for all.”
“News and information is a core community need; you cannot effectively run a democracy without it,” said Trabian Shorters, vice president for communities program at Knight Foundation. “In developing the ‘digital public square,’ the Community Foundation is showing leadership to not only help ensure an informed citizenry but also help Palm Beach County citizens engage in determining their own, priority interests.”
“We’re excited about the new opportunities for community dialogue and problem solving that this initiative dedicated to driving civic opportunity will provide,” William M. Matthews, Community Foundation Board Chairman said.
Funds from the grant of nearly $1 million dollars are being used to develop the project, including grants to key nonprofit community information partners and providers. "By partnering with local and national nonprofits in this virtual forum, we’re developing wide ranging community resources, discussion and best practices on a variety of topics, from affordable housing to youth related issues." Lilly added.
The Knight Foundation is encouraging community foundations nationwide to pursue leadership initiatives in this area. The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties will participate with other foundations in the Knight Foundation’s Media Learning Seminar February 16 and 17 in Miami.
For more information please visit www.yourcommunityfoundation.org or call 561-659-6800.
About the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties
Since 1972, The Community Foundation has granted over $4.5 million in scholarships to over 1,200 students and $74 million to nonprofit organizations in the community. The Foundation accepts contributions in support of community initiatives, special projects and permanent endowment. Income from endowment is used to make grants and award scholarships primarily in Palm Beach and Martin counties. To learn more, please visit www.yourcommunityfoundation.org.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
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.