Knight Cities Looking for New Ideas to Make Long Beach Even Greater • Long Beach Post

What’s your best idea to help your city succeed? The Knight Cities Challenge opens today calling on innovators of all types in Long Beach to answer this question.


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Now in its third year, the national challenge is an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The challenge seeks new ideas to make Long Beach and the 25 other communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.  Winners will receive a share of up to $5 million and become part of a network of civic innovators; funding will be granted at all levels from small to large amounts. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 3 at knightcities.org. The challenge has two main guidelines:

  1. A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities.
  2. The idea should focus on one or more of three key drivers of city success:
  • Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep talented people.
  • Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects by breaking down divides and making new connections.
  • Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.

The challenge is open to anyone from anywhere: neighbors, architects, activists, artists, city planners, entrepreneurs, students, educators, city officials, as well as governments and organizations. More information is available on knightcities.org.

The initial application will be easy to complete. You don’t have to be a professional grant writer, but you should be ready with a plan to make your idea a reality.

If you have questions about the challenge, you can join us for virtual office hours or in-person events in many of the 26 Knight communities to learn more. The schedule, which is regularly updated, can be accessed here. Currently, the following events are scheduled for Long Beach:

  • Friday, October 21, 12:00-2:00 PM, Long Beach Museum of Art 22300 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90803

Knight Foundation’s program director Michelle Huttenoff will be hosting a community information session about the Cities Challenge, free and open to the public.

Community members and entrepreneurs, as well as experts in urban planning, design, academia and government will help Knight review entries. Knight will announce finalists and winners in early 2016.

The 26 Knight communities include eight that have a resident program director: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Philadelphia; St. Paul, Minn.; and San Jose, Calif. In 18 cities community foundations guide Knight’s grantmaking: Aberdeen, S.D.; Biloxi, Miss.; Boulder, Colo.; Bradenton, Fla.; Columbia, S.C.; Columbus, Ga.; Duluth, Minn.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Gary, Ind.; Grand Forks, N.D.; Lexington, Ky.; Long Beach, Calif.; Milledgeville, Ga.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; State College, Penn.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Wichita, Kan.

In March 2016 Knight announced 37 winners of the second Knight Cities Challenge. Last year’s winners from Long Beach were:

  • Place-make the Vote – Developing a kit for creating temporary pop-up social spaces at voting polls in historically low voter turnout areas to encourage people to vote and provide venues to celebrate democracy afterwards.
  • The Outdoor Office – Transforming a portion of a public park into a space that encourages creativity, collaboration and productivity, and encourages residents to take work to the park.

Have an idea? Visit knightcities.org to apply. The challenge closes on Nov. 3, 2016, at noon ET.

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