Articles by Matt Haggman

  • Article

    Transforming downtown Miami into a center of science, art and learning

    January 5, 2012 by Matt Haggman

    Transforming downtown Miami into a center of science, art and learning


    The ongoing effort to turn a large swath of downtown Miami’s bayfront into a center of science, art and learning has taken another important step.

    Knight Foundation announced a $10 million challenge grant to the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science. To be paid, the funds must be matched by an additional $20 million in funding. 

    The pledge comes as the science museum, currently located in Coconut Grove, is poised to break ground next month on its new home in downtown’s Museum Park along Biscayne Bay. The Frost will rise alongside the under-construction Jorge M. Perez Art Museum and sit a block from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, two institutions that each received $10 million in Knight support.

  • Article

    Join us for these upcoming July Miami events

    July 6, 2015 by Matt Haggman

    Join us for these upcoming July Miami events

    We have a terrific lineup of events set for this month in Miami that are supported by Knight Foundation. They include:

    • July 6, 13, 20, 27: Code for MIA hosts its weekly Civic Hack Night.

    • July 6, 13, 20, 27: Hacks/Hackers hosts OpenHack Miami at The LAB Miami.

    • July 8: Digital Grass presents an interactive conversation, The Big Business of Civic Innovation with special guests: Carla Mays, Dr. Pandwe Gibson, Armando Ibarra and me at The Lab Miami.

    • July 8, 15, 22, 29: Live Ninja holds #WaffleWednesday, its weekly tech and creatives morning meetup in Wynwood.

    • July 9: Join The Idea Center at Miami Dade College for student-led venture presentations at the CREATE Accelerator Showcase.

  • Article

    Thinkers and doers gather in Miami to address pressing social challenges

    November 12, 2012 by Matt Haggman

    Thinkers and doers gather in Miami to address pressing social challenges


    abc*Foundation 2012 from Abc* Foundation on Vimeo.

    Thinkers and doers from throughout the Americas will gather this week in Miami for the 2012 abc* Continuity Forum.

    Hosted by the Americas Business Council Foundation, the event begins today with an address by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    The three-day gathering brings leaders together to confront the most pressing social and environmental issues in the Americas. It’s becoming one of the important convenings of thought leaders in Miami – and another sign that Miami is increasingly a place where important conversations are taking place.


    "@chrishughes: entrepreneurship hits at the core of America's character" by Elizabeth Miller on Knight Blog 

    This year’s conference lineup includes Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes (who is also a Knight Foundation trustee), KIVA co-founder Jessica Jackley, The Humane Society’s, CEO and President Wayne Pacelle, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

    Knight Foundation, which is focused on building more informed and engaged communities, is a sponsor of the conference. For several years, Knight has worked to build Miami’s art and cultural life and, as it continues that work, is now also focused on making Miami more of a place where ideas are built. To do that, Knight funds important gatherings that connect and inspire, and invests in the tools that allow people to better take action.

    As part of its own effort to propel entrepreneurs and change makers, the 2012 abc* Continuity Forum is partnering with Ashoka, the world’s largest association of social entrepreneurs, and Innovadores de America, an organization that supports individuals pursuing important social, scientific, business and cultural achievements in Latin America.

  • Article

    StartUp Miami: Making the city more of a place where ideas are built

    February 13, 2013 by Matt Haggman

    StartUp Miami: Making the city more of a place where ideas are built

    See video from StartupCity Miami with Knight Foundation and The Atlantic here.

    A key component of Knight Foundation’s effort to help strengthen and propel Miami’s startup community is creating better opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect and learn together.

    Toward that end, today we’re having our biggest gathering yet.

    In partnership with The Atlantic and author Richard Florida, we’re launching Startup City: Miami. The free program will be a day-long series of talks and conversations asking how we can make Miami more of a place where ideas are built.

    Illustrating the appetite for the topic: more than 1,100 people have RSVP’d to attend the weekday event. Set in the New World Center on Miami Beach, the conference will run from 9 to 4 pm and be live streamed as well.

    At the heart of the convening is the belief that Miami is poised to make important gains as a community that’s buzzing with entrepreneurs, innovators and change-makers of all kinds, whether seeking social change or pure profit. And, in doing so, will foster increased resident engagement and deeper attachment to our young, rapidly evolving city.

    “My hope would be that some of those people figure out a way to incubate start-ups [in Miami],” said Richard Florida recently in the blog, Beached Miami. “Not just high-tech start-ups — social innovation, social enterprise, urban transformation, arts and cultural organizations.”

    Over the past decade Miami has developed many of the elements needed to succeed as a startup hub: a strong and improving university system, an increasingly active and developed urban center, a thriving cultural and creative life, a uniquely diverse and highly entrepreneurial population, and a startup scene that continues to gain momentum.

  • Article

    Kaboom! builds community progress

    April 5, 2013 by Matt Haggman

    Kaboom! builds community progress

    Above: Photos from previous Kaboom! builds in South Florida

    For the third Saturday in a row an under-utilized patch of land in South Florida is set to be transformed.

    Kaboom! is building a new playground at the Church of the Open Door in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood this Saturday. The April 6 effort will be the third playground in the past three weeks that Kaboom!, a national nonprofit, will build in the Miami area with the support of the Knight Foundation.


    Report: Kaboom! Playgrounds that build communities

    The initiative seeks to empower and build a belief within a community that solutions to any public challenge can be designed and implemented. To do it, construction of a playground is used as a tool to focus community attention and inspire action. Residents are required to model and construct the playground with guidance and support from Kaboom! managers.

    Ultimately, the hope is that the experience will stir further action, and build residents’ confidence, to tackle other community issues. At the same time, a specific challenge is addressed: kids spending less time playing outside than any previous generation. Across the country, only 1-in-5 children live within walking distance of a park or playground.

    Two weeks ago, Kaboom! turned a square parcel at the center of Homestead’s Verde Gardens housing complex into a playground. The 145 unit development is home to formerly homeless residents. And last week a long-ignored green space next to the Annie Coleman public housing facility in Liberty City was revitalized with the addition of a playground.

    In both Verde Gardens and at Annie Coleman, hundreds of residents helped design the playground and came out to build it. Indeed, the playground builds in each case amounted to daylong community celebrations as residents picked up hammers and shovels to help erect the new play structure.

    Continuing the momentum, on Saturday, more than 200 volunteers are expected to congregate at 6001 NW 8th Avenue to build a playground at the Church of the Open Door. The design of the new playground is based on drawings by neighborhood children. 

  • Article

    eMerge Americas event highlights South Florida's community of entrepreneurs

    May 4, 2014 by Matt Haggman




    eMerge Americas: Join the Movement, via YouTube



    Knight Foundation is hosting a booth at eMerge Americas Techweek from May 5-6 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Join us for some Cuban coffee, meet Knight staff and learn more about some of the investments we've made in South Florida. You can also meet established South Florida business professionals for insights into the region's growing startup and entrepreneurial community.

    Here's the lineup of the people who will be hanging out at the Knight booth and the projects that will be featured. Be sure to check here for any schedule updates. We look forward to seeing you at eMerge.

  • Article

    Join us for these upcoming Miami events

    May 29, 2015 by Matt Haggman

    We have a terrific lineup of events set for this month in Miami that are supported by Knight Foundation. They include:

    June 1: The Idea Center @ Miami Dade College hosts “Exponential Organizations – A Transformative Single Day Course with Salim Ismail”.

    June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29: Every Monday, Hacks/Hackers hosts OpenHack Miami at The LAB.

    June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29: Join Code for MIA for their weekly Civic Hack Night.

    June 1: Website Building in HTML5 & CSS3 at The LAB Miami.

    June 3: “Post-Investment”, the fifth installment of AGP’s Angel Education Series, will be held at the Kellogg School of Management.

  • Article

    Hacks, chats and more for South Florida’s makers and entrepreneurs

    February 14, 2014 by Matt Haggman

    Hacks, chats and more for South Florida’s makers and entrepreneurs



    The latter half of February is a busy time for Miami’s entrepreneurs, makers and technologists. Here are some of the highlights from our community, a place where great ideas are being built every day. 

    •  Feb. 16: Refresh Miami will host a discussion with Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, who will talk about his book, “Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed.” Ohanian will also hold a fireside chat with local entrepreneurs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the University of Miami. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

    •  Feb. 19: Tech Cocktail, a media company that covers startups across the United States, will host its official Miami launch party at Venture Hive. The free event is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Click here for more information and to RSVP. 

    •  Feb. 20: As Miami’s arts community grows, more organizations are turning to crowdfunding websites as a fundraising tool. Knight has invited “crowd sorceress” Vann Alexandra Daly to discuss best practices and tips in crowdfunding. The free event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

  • Article

    Miami welcomes Startup City, other tech events in March

    March 10, 2014 by Matt Haggman

    Miami welcomes Startup City, other tech events in March


    Photo credit: Flickr user Jordan Sangerman.

    This month Knight Foundation will partner with The Atlantic for the second annual Startup City Miami event being held at the New World Center on March 31.

    The daylong event explores South Florida’s growing innovation ecosystem, gathering leading entrepreneurs, government officials and tech experts for panels, interviews and case studies on the integral components of Miami’s startup scene. Register here.  

    It’s just one of several Knight-supported events happening in Miami over the next few weeks. Here’s a look at what’s ahead:

    ·      Through March 16: Miami International Film Festival brings the best of world cinema to South Florida.

    ·      March 15: MIAMade  presents a workshop on 3-D printing technologies, part of a yearlong series of workshops led by local makers and educators. The event is free.

    ·      March 15-29: Refresh Miami, a networking group for entrepreneurs and techies, holds several events throughout the month.

    ·      March 20-23: The “Power of Design: Complaints Festival” is a four-day event that uses art and design to highlight community challenges and spark collaborative problem-solving. And nonprofits can enter the Solve This Miami! $25,000 grant competition, a part of the festival.

    ·      March 21: Creative Mornings, a monthly breakfast talk series that brings Miami’s creative community together; this month’s theme is “Hidden,” with many interpretations of how things that are hidden manifest themselves in our lives.

    ·      March 21: Leave a Legacy Miami hosts Philanthropy Miami to explore trends impacting the philanthropic sector.

    ·      March 22-23: MIA Music Summit Hackday is open to technologists, engineers and programmers looking to share their digital music innovations.

    ·      March 24: MIA Music Summit is a full-day event that will bring together musicians, techies and entrepreneurs to share and build new ideas in the digital music space.

    ·      April 3: Tech Cocktail, a media company and networking group for startups, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts hosts its Miami sessions.

  • Article

    Miami events build network of ideas

    April 15, 2014 by Matt Haggman

    eMerge Americas: Join the Movement, via YouTube.

    This month we’re gearing up for eMerge Americas from May 1-6 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The event will bring together global industry leaders, investors and Latin America’s top business executives, technologists and entrepreneurs.

    Visit the Knight Foundation booth during the eMerge Americas Techweek expo from May 5-6 for demos from rising startups and insights from established local entrepreneurs. Register here.

    However, there’s also a lot happening in April. Here’s a look at some Knight-supported Miami events happening this month:

    • April 15-May 1: The O, Miami 2014 poetry festival continues with films, music, readings and more. Visit for a full list of events.

    • April 15: Brainfood at The LAB presents Albert Santolo, as part of its entrepreneur speaker series.

    • April 17: The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research will hold its first “Doing Well by Doing Good” event, inviting participants to attend angel investor learning seminars. For more information contact: [email protected] (space is limited).

    • April 17-20: Chicas Poderosas Miami, an immersive hands-on digital storytelling workshop, takes place at Univision and the University of Miami School of Communication. The event is organized by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) with the support of Knight Foundation. ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow Mariana Santos created Chicas Poderosas during her fellowship year.

    • April 21: Don Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA, will speak on “The High Cost of Free Parking” at a Townhouse Center event.

    • April 22: Join me at a Meet KF Miami Breakfast to discuss Knight’s work in the community. The event is free.

    • April 24-25: Smart City Startups will bring together startups, investors, foundations and civic leaders to explore how we can help startups solve urban challenges.

    • May 1: MIAMI SOUP, which helps make great community ideas a reality, will hold its first Miami event.

    • May 1: Tech Cocktail, the entrepreneur networking and media company, will hold its Miami Sessions with Open English founder & CEO Andrés Moreno.

    • May 1-6: eMerge Americas brings together global industry leaders, investors and Latin America’s top business executives, technologists and entrepreneurs. Register here.

  • Article

    Meetups and more connect, develop Miami’s startup community

    May 29, 2014 by Matt Haggman

    Meetups and more connect, develop Miami’s startup community

    Refresh Miami 100th meetup event (cc) by Alex de Carvalho

    RefreshMiami event shared by Alex de Carvalho on Flickr.

    It’s been an eventful year in Miami. We’ve had many successful events, from Startup City Miami to the MIA Music Summit and eMerge Americas Techweek, but there’s a lot more ahead. Over the next few weeks, check out these events Knight Foundation is supporting. 

  • Article

    Join us for these upcoming October events in Miami

    October 13, 2015 by Matt Haggman

    We have a terrific lineup of events set for this month in Miami that are supported by Knight Foundation. I want to especially highlight the Knight Cities Challenge information session happening this Wednesday Oct. 14 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College. The challenge is offering a share of $5 million for ideas to make Miami, and the 25 other cities where Knight invests more successful. Join us for food, drinks and to share your ideas and get tips on your application.

    October events include:

    •  Oct. 13: Join me as I moderate a lunchtime panel on Miami’s New Urban Mobility as part of Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s ongoing Transforming Miami discussion series.

    • Oct. 13: Startup Grind Miami hosts a talk by Jose Rasco, managing director of STRAAT and founder of and Juan Diego Calle, serial entrepreneur and chairman of STRAAT at

    • Oct. 13: The New Tropic hosts its Leadership Series with Howard Herring, president and CEO of New World Symphony.

    • Oct. 14, 21, 28: Live Ninja hosts #WaffleWednesday, its weekly tech and creatives morning meetup in Wynwood.

    • Oct. 14: Knight hosts an information session on the Knight Cities Challenge at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College to share ideas and answer your questions.

  • Article

    New guide helps everyone navigate South Florida’s growing startup scene

    December 1, 2015 by Matt Haggman

    New guide helps everyone navigate South Florida’s growing startup scene

    Miami skyline photo by Matthew Paulson on Flickr.

    Three years ago at Knight Foundation we made a new bet on Miami. We launched an effort focused on supporting and propelling Miami’s emerging community of entrepreneurs.

    The aim is to help create an entrepreneurial ecosystem with the resources that best enable entrepreneurs to pursue the ideas of their choosing. We’ve made more than 160 investments to build this network. Examples range from conferences such as Sime MIA, which is underway today, to The Idea Center at Miami Dade College, Endeavor Miami and, most recently, Startupbootcamp Miami. Miami now consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most active startup communities

    But, as this network has grown, we’ve consistently heard people ask for a guide to help them navigate this rapidly expanding ecosystem of resources that range from co-working spaces and weekly events, to angel investor groups and platforms to find talented workers.

    So, in partnership with The New Tropic, today we’re launching, an online guide aimed at helping to better understand the resources available to entrepreneurs, investors, the solely curious—everyone—in Miami’s startup community.

    The guide is set up to help you find the answer to a specific question. For instance, where can you find funding and mentorship? Or, how can you connect with the startup community? Or, where can you find co-working and office space? Where can you find training and new skills? In each case, provides a list of potential solutions.

  • Article

    Miami events connect hackers, makers, artists and entrepreneurs

    September 12, 2014 by Matt Haggman

    Photo: #JusticeHack at The LAB Miami (Aug. 2014). Photo: Carolina Wilson for Knight.

    Over the past two years, Knight Foundation has made more than 80 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.These initiatives form one part of Knight’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and opportunity.

    There are a variety of Knight-supported initiatives and events happening in our Miami community over the next month:

    Sept. 19: Meet Knight Miami. Join our bimonthly free breakfast event to learn about our Miami work and provide feedback. You can RSVP here for the Sept. 19 event. 

    Sept. 12: Venture for America launches in Miami. Meet the inaugural class of Venture for America Miami Fellows, along with founder and CEO Andrew Yang. 

  • Article

    Black Tech Week, Women in Tech, Bitcoin hacking and more events coming up in Miami

    January 22, 2016 by Matt Haggman

    Black Tech Week, Women in Tech, Bitcoin hacking and more events coming up in Miami

    Photo above: Black Tech Week Miami 2015, via

    As we start the year there are some great Miami startup and Knight Foundation events in January and February. Black Tech Week runs from Feb. 14-20, the Miami Mini Maker Faire takes over the National YoungArts Campus Feb. 20-21, and our Meet KF Miami Breakfast series returns Jan. 26.

    Also, be sure to take a look at, a new guide to navigating Miami's growing startup community, which was published in December in partnership with The New Tropic. We welcome all feedback as we seek to make the guide a great resource for you and those interested in our startup scene.

    Check out these upcoming events:

    • Jan. 20: Citi presents Women in Tech featuring talks by Mary Biggins, co-founder of ClassPass and Brodi Jackson, co-founder and managing principal of Caerus Ventures.

    • Jan. 22: Join me for a Beacon Council Breakfast panel discussion on new ways to nurture talent to fuel Miami's innovation ecosystem.

    • Jan. 22-24: The LAB Miami hosts the second Annual Miami Bitcoin Hackathon.