What’s your best idea to help your city succeed? The Knight Cities Challenge opened recently calling on innovators of all types in Gary to answer this question.
Now in its third year, the national challenge is an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The challenge seeks new ideas to make Gary and the 25 other communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. Winners will receive a share of up to $5 million and become part of a network of civic innovators; funding will be granted at all levels from small to large amounts. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 3 at knightcities.org. The challenge has two main guidelines:
- A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities.
- The idea should focus on one or more of three key drivers of city success:
- Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep talented people.
- Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects by breaking down divides and making new connections.
- Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.
The challenge is open to anyone from anywhere: neighbors, architects, activists, artists, city planners, entrepreneurs, students, educators, city officials, as well as governments and organizations. More information is available on knightcities.org.
The initial application will be easy to complete. You don’t have to be a professional grant writer, but you should be ready with a plan to make your idea a reality.
The Legacy Foundation hosted an event in Gary at the Indiana University Northwest on October 12 to answer questions about the challenge. For more information, contact the Knight Foundation during their virtual office hours or in-person events in many of the 26 Knight communities. The Communities Events Schedule, which is regularly updated, can be accessed on the Knight Cities website at www.knightcities.org.
Community members and entrepreneurs, as well as experts in urban planning, design, academia and government will help Knight review entries. Knight will announce finalists and winners in early 2017.
The 26 Knight communities include eight that have a resident program director: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Philadelphia; St. Paul, Minn.; and San Jose, Calif. In 18 cities community foundations guide Knight’s grant making: Aberdeen, S.D.; Biloxi, Miss.; Boulder, Colo.; Bradenton, Fla.; Columbia, S.C.; Columbus, Ga.; Duluth, Minn.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Gary, Ind.; Grand Forks, N.D.; Lexington, Ky.; Long Beach, Calif.; Milledgeville, Ga.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; State College, Penn.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Wichita, Kan.
In March 2016 Knight announced 37 winners of the second Knight Cities Challenge. Last year’s winner from Gary was Steel City Salvage by Delta Institute. It was submitted by Eve Pytel, who received $385,000 for her idea. It was for establishing a reuse facility that would reclaim building materials, such as lumber, from vacant homes in Gary to contribute to economic growth, create jobs and support businesses, and provide opportunities for community collaboration on development projects.
The challenge closes on Nov. 3, 2016, at noon ET.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.