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

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    Give Miami Day raises record $7.1 million for nonprofits

    Nov. 20, 2015, 4:06 p.m., Posted by Rosemary D'Amour

    Give Miami Day participants and volunteers document hitting $6 million fundraising milestone on Nov. 19.

    The Miami Foundation raised more than $7.1 million for South Florida nonprofits in its fourth online giving campaign, which ran from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

    Give Miami Day started four years ago as a platform for “democratized” giving. For 24 hours, the Greater Miami area experiences a fundraising blitz, with local organizations seeking support for causes around the community. The Miami Foundation, which connects donors to the community, coordinates the fundraising, collects the donations and, along with the individual organizations, heavily promotes the event on social media, also awarding incentive prizes to nonprofits for meeting goals and milestones.

    And each year, the annual giving event supported by Knight Foundation gets bigger. In 2014, nearly 20,000 donors raised a record $5.2 million for 520 local nonprofit organizations. This year, more than 24,000 contributed over $7.1 million for more than 600 organizations, making it the largest annual giving event in the Southeast U.S.


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    'All-New 2015 Rightsized Limo' makes the cut at the Museum of Contemporary Arts Detroit

    Nov. 20, 2015, 10:17 a.m., Posted by Rosie Sharp

    Photo: The crew contemplates rejoining the two ends of the limousine.

    While the Detroit Lions unexpectedly triumphed over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (a Knight grantee) hosted an art world take on the tailgate party in its parking lot: a carefully choreographed bisection of a town car. The “All-New 2015 Rightsized Limo” is a time-based performance piece by Canadian artist Jon Sasaki, and part of the Canadian Residency program funded through a Knight Arts Challenge grant.

    The program gives Canadian artists the opportunity to do residencies and create site-specific projects in Detroit, and Sasaki’s project employed local talent in the form of a crew of student volunteers from Cranbrook Academy of Art, as well as “celebrity welders” Ben Wolf and ‘Zeph.’

    Ben Wolf goes to work on the roof of the limo.

    The welders had the run of the show, bringing a lot of expertise to the tricky task of dismantling and resizing a vehicle that is, of course, characterized by its oversize nature. The irony of the project was not lost on anyone, and the event was punctuated with comical touches, including a separate limousine that escorted Wolf and Zeph to and from the site (inexplicably piloted by a mixed-gender entourage dressed as grannies), and an edition of 250 souvenir “Rightsized Limo” air fresheners (in New Car scent, of course)—the latter being the signature of Canadian Residency, which produces a unique “North American Souvenir” for each project it sponsors.

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    City of Boston seeks partners for open-data initiative

    Nov. 20, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Howard C. Lim

    Howard C. Lim is the project manager for the city of Boston’s Open Data to Open Knowledge initiative, a winner of the Knight News Challenge on Libraries. Boston photo by Eric Gendron on Flickr.

    Imagine it’s a cold winter day, and three Boston residents don their thick winter coats to brave the blustery weather conditions. For longtime resident Sally and her daughter Anastasia, their local library is an oasis from the cold and one of the few places Sally can go to enjoy a few hours of quiet reading. For John, his morning trip to the local library is the road to a new life and a new career. He hopes to redirect his life and believes the library will help him gain new skills and better understand the competitive job market that he is about to re-enter. Thankfully Diana, the branch librarian, is there when John arrives and directs him to key resources and to the catalog of employers available on the city’s open-data portal.

    Although the characters are fictitious, the inspiration for this story is very real. It represents the lives of everyday Boston residents who rely upon their neighborhood library to undertake a multitude of endeavors from exploring the Internet to learning how to build a resume. Even in today’s age of smartphones, Google and Big Data, libraries play a vital role in our society as a cornerstone of our communities.  Libraries are the convener and physical hub of knowledge, while librarians democratize access to data and information through their interactions with members of the community.  In recognition of this key public institution, the city of Boston launched the Open Data to Open Knowledge project, its newest open-data initiative, in collaboration with the Boston Public Library. 

    Through this initiative, the city of Boston seeks to broaden the use of data by partnering with the Boston Public Library to reimagine the city’s data as a valuable resource for public knowledge. To achieve this aim, the city seeks to inventory its existing data sources to build its first data catalog, enhance the user experience of the open-data Web portal, and partner with area librarians to drive greater access and engagement with data for Boston residents. Ultimately, in just over a year, the city of Boston hopes to produce a user-centered product that provides librarians open access to city data that will serve as a model that could be replicated from one city to the next. 

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