K880 Emerging City Champions Fellowship opens for applications offering young civic innovators funding, learning and mentorship opportunities

8-80 Cities, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming cities, is currently accepting fellowship applications from civic innovators with ideas to strengthen mobility, improve public spaces, and enhance civic engagement in their cities. Supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the K880 Emerging City Champions Fellowship is open to young innovators based in the eight resident communities where Knight invests: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Philadelphia; San Jose, Calif; St. Paul, Minn.

The K880 Emerging City Champions is open to anyone from these eight communities with ideas to make their city more livable. Innovators and creative problem solvers between the ages of 19-35 are encouraged to apply by May 8, 2015.

The fellowship will equip 24 young leaders with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to make immediate and lasting impact in their communities. Successful applicants will be invited to attend the K880 Emerging City Champions Studio in June 2015 in Toronto, Canada, which was recently named the best city in the world to live in by the Economist. The studio will include a workshop that will help Champions develop ideas to build more livable communities. They will also receive $5,000 to be used towards the implementation of an inclusive community-building project.

The fellowship has three key objectives: 1) To identify new leaders who will become lifelong champions of their community and work to create people-friendly, livable cities that foster public life and promote civic engagement; 2) To support the creation of 24 “Doable Projects” that will work to advance change in the Champion’s given city; 3) To build a network of K880 Emerging City Champions who will work together, learn from and support each other. The Champions will also create a larger network of supporters who are interested in contributing to the progress of their city.

“At 8-80 Cities, we’ve seen how simple, low-cost projects and big ideas can lead to powerful community change,” said Emily Munroe, executive director of 8-80 Cities. “The K880 Emerging City Champions Fellowship program will empower young people who are eager to transform their communities into places where everyone can walk, bike, and visit vibrant parks and public spaces. By establishing and supporting a network of young, diverse, and talented community leaders, the impacts of this program will be felt for many years to come.”

“Creating opportunities for young leaders to connect and learn how to translate their ideas to impact is essential to building more successful cities,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “Through the fellowship we hope to surface new and diverse voices, and provide emerging civic innovators with a strong network of peers and mentors, as well as the knowledge they need to execute fast, positive changes in their communities.”    

During the 5-day K880 Emerging City Champions Studio in Toronto the Champions will participate in guided tours and interactive workshops, where they will work together to refine their project plans. Guest presenters and expert workshop leaders will expose the Champions to inspiring stories of community change, and guide them through each step of developing their projects. The Studio will provide opportunities for the Champions to collaborate and work with peers from their home city in order to establish a local network of support.

Successful applicants must be based in Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Philadelphia; San Jose, Calif.; or St. Paul, Minn. The K880 Emerging City Champions is open to anyone in these cities with an innovative idea and the drive to implement it. We are seeking applicants from diverse backgrounds with fresh perspectives.

Visit www.emergingcitychampions.com to apply. The deadline for applications is May 8, 2015.

About 8-80 Cities

8-80 Cities is a non-profit organization based in Toronto, Canada. We are dedicated to contributing to the transformation of cities into places where people can walk, bike, access public transit and visit vibrant parks and public places. Our approach is to engage people and communities across multiple sectors to inspire the creation of cities that are easily accessible, safe and enjoyable for all. We achieve our mission through grant projects, advocacy work and our innovative services.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. KnightFoundation.org


Emily Munroe, Executive Director, 8-80 Cities, 416-591-7404 or [email protected]

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]