Knight Foundation announced the finalists for its third annual Knight Cities Challenge, and once again, Philly came in strong.
One hundred forty-four finalists were selected from over 4,500 applicants to win a chunk of the $5 million pool, which funds projects focused on civic innovation. Twenty of these selected projects represent Philadelphia.
To be considered for the Knight Cities Challenge, projects must encourage either talent, engagement or opportunity.
There are some familiar names on the list. To name a few:
- Urban Creators is proposing a project called “Collective Power Concerts,” aimed at “Increasing civic engagement in North Philadelphia by leveraging corporate festival resources to invest in community-driven festivals and redirecting a portion of these resources to local community organizations, stakeholders and artists.”
- University City District is proposing “Just Space Audit,” aimed at “Creating and deploying an audit tool to assess the accessibility and equity of a public space network.”
- Entrepreneur Tayyib Smith’s Little Giant Creative is proposing “Philadelphia Before, During and After Redlining,” aimed at “Highlighting inequality and the negative effects of denying services to specific residents through the practice of redlining with an interactive data map and exhibition.”
- Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture is proposing “Tabadul: Cross-Cultural Exchange Across Philadelphia,” aimed at “Creating forums for cultural exchange that connect communities and activate public spaces through photographic displays of youths’ expressions of identity.”
- New Kensington Community Development Corporation is proposing “Mobile Civic Toolbox,” aimed at “Developing a mobile resource kit to support neighborhood organizations and individual residents in creating diverse civic projects.”
Other project finalists include Bartram’s Garden, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, the Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation, Tiny WPA, The Food Trust, Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc., Yolanda Wisher and Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition.
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Knight Cities Challenge project proposals come from around the country but must serve one of the 26 communities that the Miami-based Knight Foundation serves — communities of various sizes that represent places the newspaper chain that funded the launch of the foundation once covered. Philadelphia is the foundation’s largest community, joined by cities such as Detroit, Akron, Ohio and Miami.
Last year, the four winning projects from Philly together earned the largest amount — $873,364 — of all Knight cities, and in 2015, nine winning projects came from Philly, including voting signage project Next Stop: Democracy! and Mt. Airy USA’s Philadelphia Immigrant Innovation Hub.
Of last year’s winners, we’ve heard the most noise from Smith’s Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship, which formally launched in November.
Winners will be announced this spring. We look forward to watching those projects bloom.-30-
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