Knight Cities Challenge Seeks Innovative Ideas

Duluth, Minnesota, is one of 26 Knight Cities.

Duluth, Minnesota, is one of 26 Knight Cities. welcomia / Shutterstock.com

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Ideas for the first-ever competition must be submitted by November 14.

Do you have a great innovative idea that can help cities attract and retain promising talent, create economic opportunity and foster civic engagement? You have until Nov. 14 to tell the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation why your idea should win the first-ever Knight Cities Challenge and a share of $5 million in prize money.

Although submissions can come from anywhere, they “must take place in or benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities,” the Knight Foundation said in its announcement, released Wednesday.

What are those 26 cities?

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 grantmaking: 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.

Put your thinking caps on. Here are the complete details on the Knight Cities Challenge from the foundation’s announcement:

Knight Cities Challenge opens for applications

Submissions are open from Oct. 1 to Nov. 14

MIAMI—Oct. 1, 2014— What’s your best idea to make cities more successful? The first-ever Knight Cities Challenge opens today calling on innovators of all types to answer this question.

The national challenge, which seeks new ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work, is an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  Winners will receive a share of $5 million and become part of a network of civic innovators working to make our cities more vibrant places to live and work. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 14 at KnightCities.org.

“No project is too small — so long as your idea is big,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “Our hope is to inspire people—even those who have not previously thought of themselves as civic innovators—to get involved in shaping the future of their cities.”

The challenge has just two rules:

1) A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities.

2) The idea should focus on one or more of three key drivers of city success:

  • Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest
  • Opportunity: Ideas that create economic prospects and break down divides
  • 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 are encouraged to apply. More information is available on KnightCities.org.

The brief application is designed to make the submission process easier, and asks for two primary pieces of information about your project:

1)    Describe your idea and how it will advance talent, opportunity or engagement.

2)    Describe what you intend to learn.

For those who want to learn more, virtual office hours are being held Oct. 1 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET online (using ID 448711858), or via phone at 1-888-240-2560; and Oct. 14 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET online (using ID 829368066), or via phone at 1-888-240-2560.

We are also hosting community Q&A sessions in many of the 26 Knight communities, to provide an overview of the challenge and answer any questions you may have, including tips on applying. Take a look at the current schedule of events and check back for updates.

The application period for the Knight Cities Challenge will close at 5 p.m. ET Nov. 14, 2014. 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 2015.

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 grantmaking: 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.

Have an idea? Visit KnightCities.org to apply. The challenge closes on Nov. 14, 2014, at 5 p.m. ET.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.KnightFoundation.org.

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