Funding, then following up

Communities / Article

In 2000, Knight Foundation began investing $19 million towards revitalizing Overtown, a once-vibrant area in Miami that had been hit hard in recent decades. Seven years later, the Foundation took an unusual step. As well as conducting its own grant impact assessments, Knight hired a reporter to investigate how the Foundation’s investments performed and produce a public report, without pulling any punches.

The resulting report by Andre Oliver is a sobering picture of the challenges met in trying to transform the community. And the report itself is still making an impact. Most recently, a column in the Miami Herald this week about the continued setbacks in Overtown cited the report in its analysis:

In 2000, the Miami-based Knight Foundation made a major effort to transform Overtown with a $19 million commitment to 32 national and community organizations.

Two years ago, the foundation published an analysis of its effort, showing mixed results.

Among the main obstacles, according to the report: a lack of a common vision in the community and a void in community leadership and collaboration.

“The role of the city and the county in Overtown’s development remains critical, but has been challenging,” the report stated.

The Overtown report is part of a series of reporter’s analyses funded by Knight. Each of them encapsulates valuable lessons about how our grants play out in the communities they affect. And they offer a candid picture of both our setbacks and our successes. If you want to get a sense of what Knight considers when making a grant, this might be a good place to start.