College Hill Interim Learning and Research Report

Publication Date June 20, 2012

This interim evaluation report on the College Hill Alliance (CHA) and the Knight Neighborhood Challenge (KNC) in Macon, Ga. documents and presents the early progress of this initiative’s first two years of implementation. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Knight Foundation) for a total of $5 million, this university/community partnership seeks to revitalize the College Hill community to turn it into a thriving place to live, work, study and play.

In fall 2009, the Knight Foundation funded the College Hill Alliance and a professional staff, through Mercer University, to guide the implementation of a community-created master plan over a three year period. In parallel, the Knight Foundation funded the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to administer the Knight Neighborhood Challenge, which would fund individuals and organizations to carry out aspects of the master plan thereby getting people involved in the community change process, through a competitive grant program.

Similar to many other university/community partnerships throughout the U.S., the CHA/KNC approach focuses on new development and the redevelopment of the built and natural infrastructure. However, unlike others, the CHA/KNC approach is unique in its integration of place-based improvements with those that nurture people and new leadership at all civic levels. Although early on, evidence from our evaluation thus far suggests that a new “can-do” culture of community change in College Hill and Macon overall has begun to emerge. The early success of this approach makes the CHA/KNC work important for Macon’s future, and is a potential national model to watch in the world of university/community revitalization partnerships, and in the broader field of community development.

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Note: This report is also available in Microsoft Word docx format.

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