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Collaborative Working Space wins Knight Foundation $25,000 award

By Crystal Lynn, Gary Crusader

The Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund granted two awards this year at the Civic Innovators Convening.

First place winner Ken Patrick Barry was awarded $25,000 for his Innovators Suite pitch, which bridges coffee, community and collaboration for businesses and entrepreneurs. A second award of $10,000 was granted to the Anderson’s Family Friday’s project with the Decay Devils organization.

The Knight Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting “transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts.”

With its third year running, the Knight Foundation has pushed $15 million dollars into 26 cities across the United States. Gary is one of its focal points.

The projects are geared towards ideas that will increase engagement and opportunities to the community. The Civic Innovators Convening component is only in its second cycle in this Shark Tank style format.

Attendees received a non-transferrable $1,000 (fake) bill to vote on their favorite presentation.

While the two winners were part of six presentations given on May 17, they were selected from a pool of hundreds submitted to the foundation. One of those submitted is competing on the national level with other Knight Cities for a share of up to $5 million. Winners on the national level will be announced in June.

The Innovators Suite will be located in the Gary Public Transportation Center. “It will be a place where people and businesses can come and collaborate on ideas and problem solve,” Barry says.

A number of co-working spaces are popping up in the region but what will make this site unique is its focus on the coffee. Barry sees the coffee component as the revenue-generating source that will keep the Innovators Suite self-sustaining.

Barry is looking to have the project open within the next year. He is working with the Gary Public Transportation Center; they are remodeling to make sure that the project goal is fulfilled.

For more information on the projects by the Knight Cities you can visit:

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