Reinventing Public Space: $11 Million Invested by Knight and William Penn Foundations - Generocity Philly

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Mar. 17, 2015 11:39 am

Reinventing Public Space: $11 Million Invested by Knight and William Penn Foundations

The new $11 million investment is to reinvent Philadelphia’s public places in the "Reimagining the Civic Commons" initiative.

Yesterday, March 16, Fairmount Park Conservancy announced that the The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and William Penn Foundation are investing $11 million into its “Reimagining the Civic Commons” initiative.

The initiative will fund a series of large-scale projects in public spaces across the city and track whether they help attract and keep talented workers, advance economic opportunity, encourage residents to become more engaged in shaping their communities, and begin to level the playing field between more affluent communities and those in need.

“Emboldened by Knight Foundation and the William Penn Foundation, Philadelphia will spend the next few years ‘Reimagining Our Civic Commons’—and learning if parks, open space, libraries and recreation centers can reverse this trend towards economic and social segregation,” wrote Kathryn Ott Lovell, executive director of the Fairmount Conservancy, on the Knight Foundation’s Blog.

“Can urban parks once again become democratizing agents that create not just equity, but connection, to each other and to our natural habitat?”

Knight Foundation is committing $5.4 million to the project. William Penn Foundation is investing $5.5 million, adding to its previous support of $7 million.

Fairmount Park Conservancy will use the funding to convene five Philadelphia organizations and advance their projects (descriptions via press release):

In addition, Fairmount Park Conservancy will serve as lead for the “Civic Commons Collective,” a new effort to bring together the project partners for collaboration on research, programming and advocacy. According to Lovell, the collaborative will test whether revitalized and connected civic assets can foster engagement, retain productive citizens and ensure the long-term prosperity of our city.

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