2016 Knight Cities Challenge Winners Summit celebrates the energy and ideas of Knight communities

communities / Article

Photo by Peter Miller on Flickr.

This post has been updated. 

This week Knight staff and partners are gathering in Philadelphia to celebrate the work of the 2016 Knight Cities Challenge winners. This annual challenge seeks the best ideas to help make the 26 Knight communities more successful, using what we believe are the three essential drivers: attracting and retaining talented people, expanding economic opportunity and promoting a culture of civic engagement.

Anticipation for this week has been building since earlier this spring when we announced the 37 winning projects, which will share in $5 million. We are looking forward to this gathering, billed as the Knight Cities Challenge Winners Summit, which is the first time the winners have assembled.

We’ll also be joined by several of the winners from the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge, the first year of this initiative. People such as Lansie Sylvia, of Philadelphia's Next Stop: Democracy, and Nathalie Manzano-Smith, representing the Miami Science Barge, will share their insights from the past year, as they have built out their ideas, developed partnerships and launched successful projects.

We’ll also hear from Alberto Ibargüen, the president of Knight Foundation, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, community foundation leaders and other experts in helping make communities thrive.

It is a special group of civic innovators. In the two years of the challenge, we’ve received almost 12,000 entries, but less than 70 projects have won. However, we’ve seen thousands of good ideas, and our program directors are taking the lead in continuing the conversation in our communities.

But this week, beginning with an opening reception tonight and continuing with keynotes and breakout sessions through Friday afternoon, is about Philadelphia, one of our core Knight communities, with its storied history. It is an honor to assemble with this group in the city where our Founding Fathers gave birth to our nation, where leaders such as Benjamin Franklin devised and developed ideas that still resonate with us today.

We look forward to immersing ourselves in the culture and energy of Philadelphia. Our gathering is part celebration, part workshop, part study tour.

So, follow Knight Foundation on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the rest of the week, as we and our partners from Knight communities share insights and ideas. Participate in the conversation using #knightcities, and this fall join us as we open the Knight Cities Challenge once again to capture the best ideas for making the 26 Knight communities even more successful.

Michael D. Bolden is editorial director of Knight Foundation. Email him via [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @michaelbolden.

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