Talent. Opportunity. Engagement. They are “key drivers of city success” in the view of Carol Coletta, vice president for community and national initiatives of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The Knight Foundation has launched Knight Cities Challenge, which seeks ideas for innovative projects from anyone with an idea to make the 26 Knight communities, specifically including Myrtle Beach, “more vibrant places to live and work.”
The Knight Cities Challenge is offering grants from a pool of $5 million “for innovative projects that answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?” The Cities Challenge is “a new initiative, complementing the Knight News Challenge Knight Arts Challenge.” The only rules are that “the project must take place in or benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities [and] the idea should focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success: attracting and retaining talent, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of civic engagement.”
“We are looking for ideas from innovators who will take hold of the future of our cities,” says Coletta. “To succeed cities need talented people who can contribute to their growth, new opportunities that are open to all, and ways to engage people to spur connections and civic action.”
The Knight Foundation hope is to be surprised by ideas and to discover new civic innovations. Ideas for talent will “help cities attract and keep the best and brightest;” opportunity ideas will “create economic prospects and break down divides” and engagement ideas will “spur connection and civic involvement.”
The 26 Knight cities are places where Knight-Ridder once published newspapers, including The Sun News. Eight of the cities, such as Charlotte, N.C., have a resident Knight Foundation program director. Myrtle Beach is among the 18 smaller cities including also Boulder, Colo., Lexington, Ky., and State College, Pa.
The Knight Foundation “supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.”
The initial application process is intentionally simple – “no requirement for a detailed budget or a list of bona fides – to encourage applications from people who aren’t professional grant writers and haven’t worked with Knight before,” according to the foundation.
“The challenge is open to innovators of all types: architects, activists, artists, city planners, entrepreneurs, students, educators, city officials, as well as governments and organizations,” the foundation said in its announcement.
For Myrtle Beach, the Cities Challenge offers an opportunity for residents of all interests and backgrounds to contribute ideas for making Myrtle Beach a better place.
As they say: “For the Knight Cities Challenge, no project is too small, as long as the idea is big.”
We know there are many in our community who have great ideas that would make life better here, now and in the future, who are just waiting for the funds to make those dreams happen.
This is your chance. Don’t let it pass you by.