Articles by Daniel Harris

  • Article

    Knight-sponsored events showcase many sides of San Jose

    May 1, 2015 by Daniel Harris

    San Jose's City Hall by Flickr user HarshLight.

    Knight Foundation supports a variety of events as part of our ongoing efforts to spark new ideas for cities and support civic innovators working to advance talent, opportunity and engagement in San Jose, Calif.

    In April, we welcomed the news that two Knight grantees received national recognition; Cinequest, a 13-day digital film festival, was named “Best Film Festival” by USA Today and The Tech Museum of Innovation won the National Medal for Museum and Library Science.

    Looking forward, join us for Knight-supported events and opportunities in May.

  • Article

    Taiko, theater and more: Kick off the new year with Knight in San Jose

    December 28, 2015 by Daniel Harris

    Photo above: San Jose's Exhibition District. Credit: Vignesh Ramachandran.

    We recently announced over $1 million in support for 15 new projects to help create a more vibrant San Jose. This funding focuses on three priorities: branding and identity, transforming public spaces and helping the next generation of emerging leaders. Learn about these projects and more in the San Jose Mercury News.

    I’m also excited to see our partners we’ve funded in the past continue to shine. Learn more about the closure of six miles of streets so that pedestrians and bikes could have the right of way at Viva CalleSJ; crowdsourcing ideas for a better neighborhood with Somos Mayfair; and revitalizing downtown San Jose through public art with the Exhibition District.

    As we look ahead, join our community partners and me for these Knight-supported events in January:

    Jan. 1: The School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza in partnership with Akoma Arts hosts the Third Annual New Year’s Day Imani and Day of Healing Drum.

    Jan. 1 - Feb 7: The San Jose Downtown Association in partnership with Hawaiian Airlines presents Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice.

    Jan. 3: San Jose Taiko offers an adult recreational class.

  • Article

    Dinnovate moves San Jose, Calif., forward one meal at a time

    March 31, 2015 by Daniel Harris

    Dinnovate moves San Jose, Calif., forward one meal at a time

    Guests gather at the School of Visual Philosophy over French cuisine and a discussion on reimagining San Jose’s public spaces.

    In San Jose, we are bringing the city’s leaders together around the dinner table. Every month, Knight Foundation and Moveable Feast invite 25 of the city’s cross-sector leaders to Dinnovate, a dinnertime salon focusedon the future of San Jose. From Japanese small plates paired with wayfinding, to French comfort food with a side of reimagining public spaces, each event celebrates the diversity of the city’s cultures,people and perspectives. The guest list changes monthly and may include a former mayor, a magazine editor, a public transportation advocate, a tech executive and a hip-hop artist. What unites the group is their shared love for, and commitment to, the well-being of San Jose. And, it’s not just a networking opportunity;an expert facilitator leads each group through a guided discussion and prototyping exercise. Topics are informed by Knight’s strategy to accelerate place through investments in talent, opportunity and engagement.

  • Article

    Exploring the arts, events and opportunities in San Jose

    April 7, 2015 by Daniel Harris

    Exploring the arts, events and opportunities in San Jose

    Photo of San Jose, Calif., by Flickr user Ben Loomis.

    Knight Foundation supports a variety of events as part of our ongoing efforts to spark new ideas for cities and support civic innovators working to advance talent, opportunity and engagement in San Jose, Calif.

    Here is the first installment of a new monthly series of local events and opportunities aimed at moving San Jose forward.   

  • Article

    What Detroit teaches Silicon Valley

    August 11, 2016 by Daniel Harris

    What Detroit teaches Silicon Valley
    Photos by Daniel Harris. “If ever a city stood as a symbol of the dynamic U.S. economy, it was Detroit … Prosperity seemed bound to go on forever—but it didn't, and Detroit is now in trouble.” “Decline of Detroit,” Time magazine, October 27, 1961 Living in Silicon Valley, one wonders if and when a similar article may be written about our region. At present, we serve as the nation’s hub of wealth and innovation, the largest generator of patents per capita and a magnet for high-skilled labor and immigrants. Yet, to believe that our region’s successful future is inevitable—that innovation and wealth are required to stay here—is, as the great German philosopher Hegel said, to “learn from history that we learn nothing from history.” Silicon Valley must embrace and learn from the painful and not-too-distant past of our Rust Belt cousins. As leaders from cities around the globe continue to descend on the valley, seeking to turn their corners of the world into the next Silicon (fill in the blank), Knight Foundation is bringing leaders from San Jose to Detroit to learn and seek inspiration from the Motor City, a fellow Knight community.
  • Article

    Speak up for a people-first San José

    June 20, 2018 by Daniel Harris

    Speak up for a people-first San José

    Veggielution First Friday. Photo by Danny Harris on Twitter.

    In San José, Knight seeks to create one of the nation’s most engaged cities. We seek to place people at the center of the city’s present and future. From walkable and bikeable neighborhoods to more user-friendly design of city services to building vibrant public spaces for all, Knight’s work aims to help San Joseans fall in love with and work in support of their city every day.

    To advance these efforts, Knight is launching Speak Up San José, a yearlong initiative that invites all residents for conversation and action to advance our city’s future. Specifically, the foundation is committing $150,000 to sixteen community groups to host 28 events over the coming twelve months. From community dinners to street parties to salons, each event is conceived by local organizations, community groups and neighborhood know-it-alls to advance locally relevant issues. Most importantly, every event is free, open to the public and/or engages a diverse group of individuals, and built around a specific action point.

  • Article

    Placing people at the center of San Jose

    August 16, 2018 by Daniel Harris

    Placing people at the center of San Jose

    Photo by Danny Harris.

    As one travels across San Jose’s sprawling 180-square-mile landscape, it’s hard to believe this is America’s tenth most populous city. The low-rise suburban city hosts seemingly endless single-family homes, strip malls, freeways and suburban office parks, but too few vibrant and well-used public spaces that welcome and celebrate our one million residents. 

    In San Jose, Knight seeks to change that by creating one of the nation’s most engaged cities driven by a focus on public life — drawing people out of their cars and homes and into the community. In doing so, we aim to place people at the center of the city’s present and future. By helping to build a San Jose for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, we aim to create a vibrant and welcoming city that makes being out and in public irresistible and celebrates the collision of diverse people and ideas. 

  • Article

    Saying yes to civic innovation in San Jose, Calif.

    May 27, 2015 by Daniel Harris

     Saying yes to civic innovation in San Jose, Calif.

    While San Jose promotes itself as the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” the city is and can be so much more.

    Since arriving in November to assume the role of program director, I have been listening and learning – meeting thousands of residents, walking scores of neighborhoods and gaining proficiency in San Josean.

    While some conversations focus on the challenges – a widening income gap, lack of affordable housing and merciless traffic, most celebrate our shared opportunities. Multigenerational families from Japantown to Little Saigon boast San Jose as the “Capital of Diversity.” New immigrants in Mayfair celebrate San Jose as the “Capital of Opportunity.” Established art galleries in SoFa assert San Jose as the “Capital of Arts and Culture.” Urbanists see San Jose as the “Capital of Transportation.” And the list goes on …  

    In support of these vibrant and varied opportunities, Knight Foundation is expanding our work in San Jose with 13 new investments totaling $620,000. This funding seeks to collect, curate and grow these varied “capitals” within the core of the city, making Central San Jose a well-connected, transit-friendly hub for culture, diversity and innovation in the South Bay. 

  • Article

    The view from San Jose, Calif.: 10 tips for grant-seekers

    January 29, 2016 by Daniel Harris

    Photo above: San Jose's Exhibition District. Credit: Vignesh Ramachandran.

    As Knight Foundation’s program director in San Jose, I’m often asked for advice from those seeking grants or, more specifically, why we choose certain grants and grantees over others. While these decisions are based on a variety of reasons—experience, creativity, execution, partnerships, etc.—there are some fundamental elements of communication, candor and collaboration that I tend to find across successful grantees.

    In an effort to help share some best practices, here are my top 10 tips for grant-seekers:

    1. Be human. You are likely pursuing an idea because you’re passionate about it. Share your enthusiasm for the work and why you’re doing it; optimism is contagious. Remember that funders are investing in you, not just your idea. In meetings, let yourself and your personality shine.

    2. Chase your vision, not the money. It can be tough to find funding, buttry to avoid funding or funders who don’t align with your core competencies. I meet a lot of people who try to stretch their mission and mandate to fit our work. You might receive a grant, but this can also pull you and your team away from your critical work, which may have long-term implications.

    3. Know what you need. Whether it is money, strategic advice, community connections or something else, be prepared to talk through the specifics of how a funder can support what you’re doing

    4. Don’t just talk; listen. Some potential grantees spend so much time passionately describing their project that they forget to allow time for the funder to ask questions, offer insights and share information about the priorities of the foundation.

  • Article

    Meet Knight and more in San Jose, Calif.

    August 31, 2015 by Daniel Harris

    Meet Knight and more in San Jose, Calif.

    Above: Naatak “Vrindavan photo by Amit Basu.

    At Knight Foundation, we support many events as part of our efforts to spark new ideas for cities, build community and support civic innovators working to advance talent, opportunity and engagement in San Jose and other Knight communities.

    Join our community partners and me for these Knight-supported events in September:

    Sept. 1: Join me for a “Meet Knight” breakfast and office hours from 9-10 a.m. Come hear about Knight’s strategy in San Jose, share your ideas and receive feedback. Limited seats are available. RSVP to Mark Haney at [email protected].

    Sept. 2: TransForm and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) present Downtown San Jose Envision Silicon Valley Community Meeting, a forum to discuss the possibility of placing a sales tax measure on the 2016 ballot to enhance transit, highways, expressways and active transportation, such as biking and walking.

    Sept. 2: Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) presents “Found in Translation.” Four artists transform everyday objects to illustrate the complexities of the human experience in a multilingual and multicultural world.

  • Article

    Art, urbanism, the future and more: February with Knight in San Jose

    February 3, 2016 by Daniel Harris

    Art, urbanism, the future and more: February with Knight in San Jose

    Photo: Downtown San Jose by Richard Masoner on Flickr.

    At Knight Foundation we support a variety of events as part of our efforts to spark new ideas for cities, build community and support civic innovators working to advance talent, opportunity and engagement in San Jose and other Knight communities.

    We’re off to a great start in San Jose this year. See my latest op-ed in the Mercury News, “San Jose needs to move from stuck to sticky,” and check out my recent post on Knight Blog if you’re interested in learning more about our funding, “10 tips for grant-seekers.”

    Now, here’s a look at some of the Knight-supported events happening around the South Bay:

    Feb  3-7: Groundswell Design and the city of San Jose welcome you to Winter in Plaza de Cesar Chavez.

    Feb 3-7: San Jose Made offers the Screenprint Showdown Pop-up Container.

    Feb 3: The San Jose Museum of Art hosts the latest in its lunchtime lecture series, “San Jose State College: Athletics and Activism.”

    Feb. 4: Veggielution and the Awesome Foundation present Rainy Day Food Film Series.

    Feb 5-6: South First Fridays presents Super First Friday Art Walk and Winter Market.

  • Article

    Do you know the way (to stay) in San Jose?

    February 24, 2015 by Daniel Harris

    Do you know the way (to stay) in San Jose?

    Photo by Mike Boening Photography on Flickr.

    Much of the world will forever know San Jose, Calif., not as the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” but as the longed-for destination in Dionne Warwick’s 1968 hit, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” The song, which flew to the top of the charts and sold more than a million copies worldwide, celebrates “a place where I can stay … and ... find some peace of mind.”

    In 2015, those goals are much more elusive. Start talking with anyone in this city of a million -- from the homeless to hometown executives -- and all conversational roads lead to housing. The conversations are usually less around the where, but the how: How many jobs do you work to afford your place? How far is your commute? How much over the asking price did you pay?

    On one end of the market, San Jose/Santa Clara County hosts the nation’s fifth-highest homeless population, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Until recently San Jose was home to “The Jungle,” one of the largest homeless encampments in the nation, until the city closed it -- this in the center of Silicon Valley, home of groundbreaking innovation that is changing our world.