Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Lend local, lead local: Kiva Detroit empowers Detroiters as champions of local businesses

June 30, 2011, 10 a.m., Posted by Rishi Jaitly

Delphia Simmons of Detroit is a Kiva donor

Above: Delphia Simmons, who has received a microloan.

What if you could make a loan to your favorite new art gallery in town?  What if you could connect with others lending to the art gallery and, together, discover other small businesses in need that your community might rally around?

Now, you can: today, we’re happy to announce the launch of Kiva Detroit, an innovative effort to empower Detroiters by enabling them to lend to and champion the success of local businesses through

Knight Foundation is contributing $250,000 to Kiva Detroit: our grant will match citizen lending dollar-for-dollar on, while also helping the program scale.  Kiva Detroit is the organization’s first locally-organized effort in the United States.

Other partners are helping, too. Michigan Corps, a network of local and global Michiganders committed to social change across the state, leads a volunteer community of Detroiters who source businesses for Kiva Detroit and builds enduring, productive relationships among lenders, borrowers, and the community at large. ACCION USA, a U.S. microfinance institution, approves and administers loans.

Paula Ellis on kick off of first Clinton Global Initiative focused on America

June 29, 2011, 1:28 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Watch live streaming video from cgi_plenary at

President Clinton kicks off the first Clinton Global Initiative focused exclusively on America.  This conference is focused on revitalizing the economy. I was invited to represent Knight and join in the working groups on service corps.  We had a preliminary work call last week and will meet over the next two days to discuss transformnig "economic dislocation into community engagement."  Other groups are focused on STEM education, Veterans, workforce development, startups, manufacturing, healthcare workforce, infrastructure and the rural economy.

By Paula Ellis, VP/Strategic Initiatives

A rock in one hand, cell phone in the other: Crowdsourcing crisis info in the Middle East

June 29, 2011, 11:11 a.m., Posted by Annie Shreffler

If you take a look around these days at any event, you can be sure to spot mobile phones taking pics and video – allowing anyone to share news in real time. So how does our society adjust to gather and disseminate accurate information?

That was a session topic at last week’s MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, featuring Mohamed Nanabhay, head of New Media at Al Jazeera and Joi Ito, director of MIT’s Media Lab and co-founder of the crowdsourcing project Safecast, which aggregates radiation levels in post-quake Japan.