San Jose organizations advance community engagement, increase city vibrancy with $1 million boost from Knight Foundation

Press Release

August 16, 2018

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San Jose, Calif.—Aug. 16, 2018—The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced more than $1 million in new funding for 16 projects aimed at making San Jose one of the nation’s most engaged cities, driven by a focus on public life— drawing people out of their cars and homes and into the community. 

Led by a range of community development organizations and City Hall, many of the projects focus on leveraging public spaces to highlight local culture and talent, while creating more options for residents of all kinds to shape the city. From a technology application that better connects residents with local leadership to events that showcase the city’s rich creative community, the projects work to advance a better future for San Jose driven by and in partnership with residents. They also focus on expanding the capacity and impact of those working to create positive change in the city. 

“Civic engagement is rooted in attaching people to place. To do that, residents need avenues to contribute and connect, and opportunities to immerse themselves in local culture; they need to feel that their stories are reflected in the fabric of the community. These investments aim to help advance those bold goals,” said Danny Harris, Knight Foundation program director for San Jose. 

The organizations receiving support include:

City of San Jose ($220,000) – Improving the ways in which residents interact with City Hall by expanding the “My San Jose” technology application, which fields common service requests (i.e. potholes, street light outages). Funding will help increase responsiveness, and add a more user-friendly design, as well as customized digital experiences. 

San Jose Jazz ($175,000)– Increasing civic engagement by celebrating San Jose’s musical talent timed with the 50th anniversary of the iconic song, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose.” Funding will support experiences that spotlight San Jose’s musicians and connect them with residents, along with new musical work that reflects the spirit and diversity of San Jose. 

All Good Work Space Foundation ($75,000) – Supporting San Jose organizations working to bring positive change to the community by connecting local nonprofit organizations with donated office space in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. 

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County ($75,000) – Fostering safe and vibrant neighborhoods by convening community members to resolve problems related to properties affected by blight, crime or nuisance. 

City Parks Alliance ($63,400) – Supporting a network of community organizations focused on creating vibrant parks and public spaces; funding will help improve collaboration between organizations and help develop the capacity of leaders across sectors.

San Jose Parks Foundation ($60,000) – Invigorating  Cesar Chavez Park with music, food trucks, family-friendly programming and sports during Summer and Fall 2018. 

CURATUS ($60,000) – Increasing neighborhood vibrancy by supporting SubZero, a neighborhood arts and cultural festival in the San Jose SoFa arts district. 

San Jose Downtown Association ($50,000) – Increasing vibrancy in downtown San Jose's San Pedro Square district through support of the city's largest public parklet, a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street. Funding will also help establish a model for parklet construction in cities. 

Foundation Center ($35,000) – Supporting nonprofit organizations working to engage the community by providing networking opportunities, as well as fundraising and organizational support. 

Chopstick Alley Art ($33,000) – Helping to connect communities across San Jose by supporting Chopstick Alley Art, a nonprofit focused on San Jose’s Vietnamese American creative community. 

African American Community Service Agency ($30,000) –  Increasing civic engagement by supporting emerging community leaders through the African American Community Service Agency’s Black Leadership Matters 2018 program. 

School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza ($30,000) – Connecting residents and increasing city vibrancy through the Sonido Clash Music Festival, a music festival that explores traditional modern and emerging Latinx art and sound. 

The Tower Foundation at San Jose State University ($25,000) – Expanding the impact of Viva CalleSJ, a program that opens city streets to pedestrians, by supporting research on the social and economic impact of the project.

Centro Community Partners ($25,000) – Helping to expand opportunity in San Jose through a program that provides small business owners, specifically women and minority entrepreneurs, with access to resources including: education, leadership, financial literacy training and capital. 

Center for Media Change ($25,000) – Supporting emerging talent in San Jose by expanding Hack the Hood, a program that introduces young people of color to careers in tech.

Valley Verde  ($20,000) – Addressing food insecurity and promoting deeper community attachment among low-income families through environmentally sustainable organic gardening.

Funding for these projects forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to support the urbanization of a traditionally sprawling city with a specific focus on central San Jose and how the city’s core can attract and retain talent, expand opportunity and build a culture of civic engagement. Since 2008, Knight Foundation has invested more than $25 million in San Jose.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

CONTACT:

 Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]

Read about Knight's strategy in San Jose