Knight Blog

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

Knight Foundation and partners named as powerful leaders in the arts

Aug. 29, 2012, 9:56 a.m., Posted by Valerie Nahmad Schimel



Barry’s Blog, a leading arts blog published as a “service of the Western States Arts Federation,” has honored several Knight Arts leaders in its fifth annual listing of the 50 most powerful and influential people in the nonprofit arts. Each year, national leaders anonymously submit nominations for influential and powerful leaders in arts administration and organizational leadership. This year four Knight Arts leaders were named to the list: Knight Foundation VP/Arts Dennis Scholl and Knight Arts national advisory council members Aaron Dworkin, Scott Provancher and Gary Steuer.

Click here to read the entire list and read below for excerpts highlighting Knight Arts leaders…

Dennis Scholl, Vice President/Arts at Knight Foundation

Collector, Philanthropist, Emmy winning documentarian, Harvard fellow, Scholl is responsible for some of the funding world’s best known and loved out-of-the-box projects including Random Acts of Culture.  He is comfortable with risk taking to a degree most are not and he understands the importance of moving towards new ways of addressing old problems.   His eight city core funding community gives him local clout and national perspective, and his close working ties with Rocco at the Endowment have increased his visibility beyond the arts.

Scott Provancher, President, Arts & Science Council
“Scott Provancher is a path maker and front-runner.  In 2009 when Scott arrived in Charlotte, arts giving patterns had already started to shift away from united appeals.  Then came the economic downturn… Undaunted, Scott focused energy on creating innovative giving systems that would lure back previous donors and attract new ones.  He has challenged the cultural sector to think differently about sustainability while also ensuring offerings remain accessible to the community.  Power2Give (an online giving platform already adopted by other cities and states) and a new 100+million recapitalization fund are just two examples – among many – of Provancher/ASC  ingenuity that are making Charlotte one of the growing arts and culture cities in America.  Scott thrives on finding the innovative, long-term solution, AND he is a wonderful combination of brilliant, hard-driving, and kind.” 

Knight News Challenge on mobile now open for apps

Aug. 29, 2012, 8:08 a.m., Posted by John Bracken


Photo Credit: Flickr user girl_onthe_les

The Knight News Challenge on mobile is now open for your applications.  

We’re asking eight questions. We’re asking you to make the case for your idea on using mobile to improve news, information, democracy and communities, and your ability to execute on it. We also encourage you to link to anything that helps you to make that case.

We’re giving you just three weeks to submit your ideas-- the deadline to apply is noon EDT on Sept. 10. For just 10-12 sentences, you have a shot at a share of $5 million, and advice from Knight’s network of media entrepreneurs to help accelerate your idea. All applications are open and will be posted to our Tumblr site. If you don’t want yours to be public, you can send it to us by e-mail at

Two days after we announced the News Challenge on mobile, Time Magazine released its “Wireless Issue.” Time’s Richard Stengel argued that “the mobile phone has ­become a kind of super­extension of ourselves — faster, brainier, more reliable and always on.” “It is hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones,” wrote his colleague Nancy Gibbs. Earlier this week, the mobile analytics company Flurry announced a finding that the adoption of the smart phone “has surpassed that of any consumer technology in history...10X faster than that of the 80s PC revolution, 2X faster than that of 90s Internet Boom and 3X faster than that of recent social network adoption.”


Bringing millennial-led civic engagement to Charlotte

Aug. 28, 2012, 9:51 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation


Knight Foundation supports to help bring community-based, millennial-led engagement efforts to five communities. Over the weekend, participants gathered in Charlotte for's Millennial Civic Engagement Summit to discuss the challenges young people face in engaging in civic issues. As part of the summit's award competition, participants proposed solutions to those challenges. The following was written by staff.

There’s only one word to describe the energy in the room during the project presentations at the Millennial Civic Engagement Summit this weekend: Electric. Presenters made impassioned pitches for their ideas, eliciting enthusiastic applause, laughter, shouts of encouragement and, in some cases, tears, from the summit audience.

“Feel like I’m in a room full of super heroes!!!” tweeted participant @Tice1Mic.

The top five project ideas, proposed and voted on via by summit participants, won a share of $25,000 and a year of expert support from to implement the projects on campus, in communities, or online. Ideas were judged on potential social impact, creativity and innovation, sustainability, and the use of new and social media.

Project proposals ranged from a national initiative to have trains filled with civic-minded millennials travel across America, holding whistle-stop trainings in communities along the way, to a center in Raleigh that activates volunteers to help causes in the local community.

The project with the highest score at the summit was The Artist Spring, which aims to use the arts as a means of activating people in their communities. Hannah Hasan, one of the project co-creators, began her proposal with an impassioned spoken word poem.

“Moved to tears listening to my peers share their ideas at #MCESummit,” tweeted @Hmass12, another summit participant, during Hasan’s performance.

The five winning projects, in order of highest scores received, are:

·     The Artist Spring (North Carolina): This project will encourage all types of performance artists to utilize their medium to make a difference. First, we will a have website that would allow artists to upload videos, submit blogs and discuss the arts and civic engagement. This will be a social network that encourages peaceful, meaningful change. Locally, we will plan a fun stage show where various artists will perform for their family, friends, and neighbors about topics that encourage voting and civic engagement. We  also will have canvassers there to register voters, and  provide information about voting and future programs and opportunities to stay involved.