Knight Foundation works to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. Our communities program supports the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers.


What we look for

In Philadelphia, Knight Foundation focuses on the power of public spaces to unite and strengthen the city. 

In partnership with the city and other funders, we piloted Reimagining the Civic Commons, an initiative to connect and reinvigorate public spaces such as parks, trails, recreation centers and libraries. Our goal is to bring together people from all backgrounds, develop new local leaders and foster a more vibrant, engaged community.

Since 2015, the initiative has spread to four other cities and helped create five new civic assets in Philadelphia, including a riverfront park and trail, a renovated public library and park space, an elevated park, an outdoor education and nature center, and recreational amenities for one of the city’s signature public spaces West Fairmount Park. All were developed with input from the surrounding communities.

Our Philadelphia program continues to focus on: 

  • Exploring efforts that transform civic and public spaces into places that bring together a range of people, while offering an outlet to learn and share ideas;
  • Supporting new programming that demonstrates how these spaces can help to counter social fragmentation, increase civic attachment and create economic opportunities for people, particularly through technology and the arts; 
  • Empowering local leaders, new and established, so that they can help improve neighborhood life and bring diverse people together to shape the city’s future. 
  • Demonstrating the many ways in which Philadelphia is a leader in creating vibrant public spaces.

If you’re interested in our Arts program, read more about our arts strategy.

Knight Philadelphia Office:
30 S. 15th St., 15th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Philadelphia Community Advisory Committee members:

Marsha Perelman, Chair; Elizabeth Dow, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia; Jordan Harris, PA State Representative for the 186th Legislative District; Anthony Ibarguen, Quench; Greg Osberg, Revlyst; Judge Anthony Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Program Director

Photo of Ellen Hwang

Ellen Hwang