San Jose organizations to advance new economic opportunities, build city success with more than $500,000 from Knight Foundation

San Jose, Calif. – Jan. 30, 2017 – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced $500,000 in new funding for five projects aimed at fueling economic development in the city by supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.

From no-interest, crowdfunded loans for small businesses to a community food hub driven by local entrepreneurs, the projects focus on building a more vibrant, inclusive San Jose, while leveraging the culture of innovation and local talent rooted in the city. Led by community development and public sector organizations, the projects work to break down barriers between people of different backgrounds and income levels and expand opportunity.

“San Jose’s diversity and culture of innovation are among its greatest assets. The projects receiving funding draw from these strengths—opening up new pathways to encourage entrepreneurs and individuals of all kinds to add to the success of their city and its economic growth,” said Danny Harris, Knight Foundation program director for San Jose.  

The organizations receiving support include:

City of San Jose, Office of Cultural Affairs ($30,000) – Making San Jose more vibrant by supporting the Creative Industries Incentive Fund, a place-based fund that fosters arts businesses in three San Jose cultural centers: Downtown, Japantown and East San Jose.

Grameen America ($245,000) – Creating new opportunities for diverse San Jose residents by supporting the expansion of Grameen America’s microlending programs to low-income women who want to start businesses.

Kiva ($100,000) – Advancing entrepreneurship by providing San Jose small businesses access to no-interest, crowdfunded loans.

Valley Verde ($25,000) – Addressing food insecurity and promoting deeper community attachment among low-income families through environmentally sustainable organic gardening.

Veggielution ($100,000) – Bringing together residents and celebrating East San Jose neighborhoods by supporting Veggielution’s Eastside Grange, a community food hub driven by local food entrepreneurs.

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 $22 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

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