Knight Cities Challenge receives over 7,000 ideas for making communities more successful

communities / Article

November 14, 2014 by George Abbott


The first Knight Cities Challenge is now closed. We received over 7,000 entries representing all 26 Knight communities, places where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers. Applications came from as far afield as Brazil and the Philippines. Now we’re entering the review period of the challenge where Knight program staff, augmented by a panel of readers, will review and discuss all of the entries.

In early January we’ll announce the ideas that show the most promise for accelerating talent, opportunity or engagement in one or more of the 26 Knight communities. We will ask those applicants to give us more detail on their proposals, including budgets.

Each applicant will need to answer seven questions:

  1. Describe your project.
  2. How will your project advance talent, opportunity or engagement?
  3. What do you intend to learn?
  4. How will your project inspire others to think or act differently?
  5. Who is leading the project?
  6. What resources do you have for the project and what resources do you need?
  7. What is your timeline of key activities?

Final applications will be due Feb. 9. A panel of reviewers will lend their expertise and guidance to Knight staff members, who will recommend winners to our board of trustees in March.

If you applied to the Knight Cities Challenge, thank you. I hope that you will stay engaged with Knight through the course of the Knight Cities Challenge and beyond. Knight has resident program directors in eight communities, and they will be reaching out to all applicants with details of how to stay involved with us. In the 18 communities without program directors, community foundations administer Knight’s grantmaking through donor-advised funds. They serve as our partners on the ground, and we all look forward to hearing about your ideas for making your community more successful.

One resource you can use as a continuing source of ideas, is the “KnightCities” podcast hosted by Vice President of Community and National Initiatives Carol Coletta. Each week she interviews a civic innovator who is doing special work for cities we think you should know about. A new one is available every Wednesday.   

We look forward to sharing results from the Knight Cities Challenge with you in the spring.

George Abbott is special assistant to the vice president for community and national initiatives.

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