The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation plans to roll out the 2016 Knight Cities Challenge, which focuses on community development, higher education, arts, culture and civic engagement.
Eligibility: Unrestricted; Funding (Estimate): TBD (in the 2015 competition, $5 million was available for multiple awards); Deadline (Tentative): Mid-November, with the competition getting underway in September or early October.
The program seeks new ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. 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 the 26 Knight communities; (2) the idea should focus on one or more of three key drivers of city, including talent, opportunity and engagement.
An Akron, OH, effort received a $155,000 grant in the 2015 competition. The project, Better Block International Hostel on AirBnB, used the funds to turn a vacant property into an AirBnB hostel and cultural hub in Akron’s North Hill to tap the entrepreneurial potential of the neighborhood’s growing Bhutanese population. The list of winners (http://knightcities.org/winners2015/) offers other insights on competitive applications.
Keep in Mind: Community information sessions likely will be held to provide an overview of the challenge and answer any questions, including application tips. The foundation reminds potential applicants that they don’t have to be a professional grant writers to apply: The initial application will ask for two primary pieces of information about a project in 150 words or less. Applicants will not even have to give a budget or amount in the submission.
Contact: Questions, 305/908-2600.