Knight Cities Challenge closes with more than 4,500 ideas

After more than 25 community events, countless brainstorming sessions, three online office hours and one Facebook Live event the Knight Cities Challenge is now closed. We received more than 4,500 applications responding to Knight Foundation’s call for the best ideas to make cities more successful with a focus on talent, opportunity and engagement.

I’ve been reading through some of the applications, and I am surprised and delighted with the breadth and depth of the proposals. We have received a huge range of powerful ideas from a diverse group of civic innovators from the 26 Knight communities and beyond.

Now it’s time for our team of reviewers to get to work. Every application will be read by at least four people from the nearly 50 strong review board. The reviewers are drawn from grantees, city leaders and national urban experts. They offer a range of diverse and unique perspectives. More than 85 percent of the reviewers come from a Knight city, and this year we hope to have at least two local reviewers read each application. Reviewers will use their expertise to make recommendations to Knight staff on potential finalists.

If your project is selected as a finalist, you’ll have about a month to put together your final application. The more detailed final application requires a budget, a timeline and specific deliverables. You’ll get access to the form as soon as you find out that your project is a finalist.

If you applied to the Knight Cities Challenge, thank you. I also want to thank each of you who participated in our information sessions and helped promote the challenge through social media and word of mouth. We appreciate your dedication to making the city you care about more successful. For our cities to succeed we need civic innovators of all stripes to continue working every day on the projects that they’re passionate about. At Knight we’re lucky to meet extraordinary people every day, and sometimes we can even provide funding to support transformational work.

I encourage all of you to stay connected with Knight Foundation. We seek to make resources and learning available to the broader community so that you’re able to help your city in many ways. If you see something you’re interested in feel free to reach out and ask a staff member about it. We’ll add all applicants to our local email lists so you can stay in touch with Knight’s work in your city. You can also follow @knightfdn and #knightcities on Twitter.

We look forward to sharing our list of finalists in January 2017. If you’d like any more information, please get in touch with me.

George Abbott is special assistant to the vice president for community and national initiatives. He can be reached via email at [email protected]Follow him on Twitter @garthurabbott.

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