Knight's revamped strategy calls for reinvestment in 'promising projects' - Generocity Philly

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Dec. 20, 2016 12:39 pm

Knight’s revamped strategy calls for reinvestment in ‘promising projects’

Expect the foundation to "double down" on projects that work, said Philly Program Director Patrick Morgan.

The Knight Foundation will "double down" on what works.

(Photo by Flickr user John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, used under a Creative Commons license)

“It’s an exciting, frustrating and pivotal moment in history,” writes Knight Foundation CEO Alberto Ibargüen in a recent self-published essay. These are “turbulent times” fueled by fake news, economic disparity and the Internet of Everything.

Who knows what may go down in the coming years?

Actually, Knight might. The foundation spent the past year charting out three possible scenarios for what “changes and disruptions” may or may not rock the world over the next decade, then developed a strategic plan to prepare for them.

Read the plan

Really, said Philadelphia program director Patrick Morgan, the plan is a “reaffirmation” of the foundation’s three core values: engaged citizens, equitable communities and freedom of expression.

The plan does, however, outline a tweak in the Knight’s funding strategy. While Knight’s signature challenges will continue to fund projects in 26 cities and communities, Ibargüen writes that the there will be a shift from the foundation’s “years of startup investing” to reinvesting in the “most promising projects.”

Those will be projects like Knight and William Penn Foundation‘s 2014 Civic Commons initiative, originally an $11 million pilot aimed at improving Philadelphia’s public spaces. It’s now a multi-city network, having been scaled to four cities. In Philadelphia, the project inspired William Penn to invest $100,000,000 in the city’s $500,000,000 public space initiative Rebuild last month.

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That’s what “promising” looks like.

“We’re going to double down on things that we know work,” said Morgan. “We’re looking for new ideas and leaders attracting and retaining talent, enhancing equal opportunity fostering civic engagement.”

In Philadelphia, Knight will look to accomplish those things by leveraging the city’s robust network of public spaces and other civic assets like libraries and rec centers.

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